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J Phys Chem B. 2006 May 4;110(17):8559-65.

New preparation method of gold nanoparticles on SiO2.

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Centro de Ciencias Aplicadas y Desarrollo Tecnológico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Circuito Exterior S/N, A. P. 70-186, C. P. 04510, Ciudad Universitaria, México D. F., Mexico. zanella@


It is shown that adsorption of the [Au(en)(2)](3+) cationic complex can be successfully employed for the deposition of gold nanoparticles (1.5 to 3 nm) onto SiO(2) with high metal loading, good dispersion, and small Au particle size. When the solution pH increases (from 3.8 to 10.5), the Au loading in the Au/SiO(2) samples increases proportionally (from 0.2 to 5.5 wt %), and the average gold particle size also increases (from 1.5 to 2.4 nm). These effects are explained by the increase in the amount of negatively charged sites present on the SiO(2) surface, namely, when the solution pH increases, a higher number of [Au(en)(2)](3+) species can be adsorbed. Extending the adsorption time from 2 to 16 h gives rise to an increase in the gold loading from 3.3 to 4.0 wt % and in the average particle size from 1.8 to 2.9 nm. Different morphologies of gold nanoparticles are present as a function of the particle size. Particles with a size of 3-5 nm show defective structure, some of them having a multiple twinning particle (MTP) structure. At the same time, nanoparticles with an average size of ca. 2 nm exhibit defect-free structure with well-distinguishable {111} family planes. TEM and HAADF observations revealed that Au particles do not agglomerate on the SiO(2) support: gold is present on the surface of SiO(2) only as small particles. Density functional theory calculations were employed to study the mechanisms of [Au(en)(2)](3+) adsorption, where neutral and negatively charged silica surfaces were simulated by neutral cluster Si(4)O(10)H(4) and negatively charged cluster Si(4)O(10)H(3), respectively. The calculation results are totally consistent with the suggestion that the deposition of gold takes place according to a cationic adsorption mechanism.

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