American Chemical Society
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A Droplet-Reactor System Capable of Automation for the Continuous and Scalable Production of Noble-Metal Nanocrystals

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posted on 2018-05-07, 00:00 authored by Guangda Niu, Lei Zhang, Aleksey Ruditskiy, Liduo Wang, Younan Xia
Noble-metal nanocrystals with well-controlled shapes or morphologies are of great interest for a variety of applications. To utilize these nanomaterials in consumer products, one has to produce the colloidal nanocrystals in large quantities while maintaining good control over their physical parameters and properties. Droplet reactors have shown great potential for the continuous and scalable production of colloidal nanocrystals with controlled shapes. However, the efficiencies of most previously reported systems are still limited because of the complex post-treatment procedures. For example, the mixture of silicone oil and an aqueous suspension of solid products has to be separated by leveraging their miscibility and difference in density, while the solid products often need to be purified and concentrated by centrifugation. Herein, we report the design and construction of a droplet-reactor system that include new features such as a homemade unit for the automatic separation of silicone oil from the aqueous phase as well as a cross-flow filtration unit for the effective purification and concentration of the nanocrystals. Using various types of Pd nanocrystals as examples, we have demonstrated the feasibility of using this system to automatically produce and collect samples with uniform sizes and well-controlled shapes.