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Adv Funct Mater. 2011 May 10;21(9):1673-1680.

Silver-Polymer Composite Stars: Synthesis and Applications.

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Biomedical Engineering Department, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, C0800 Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


Colloidal "silver stars" were synthesized upon poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid nanosphere templates via a facile two-step silver reduction method. Myriad dendrimer-like Ag star morphologies were synthesized by varying the amount of poly(vinyl alcohol) and trisodium citrate used during silver reduction. Scanning electron microscopy studies revealed that star-shaped silver-polymer composites possessing nanoscopic, fractal morphologies with diameters ranging from 500 nm to 7 μm were produced. These composites have broad applications from antibacterial agents to catalysis; two such applications were tested here. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) studies showed multiple hot spots of SERS activity within a single star. Electrochemical catalysis experiments demonstrated the feasibility of using the silver stars instead of platinum for the oxygen reduction reaction in alkaline fuel cells.

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