Single Nanocrystals of Platinum Prepared by Partial Dissolution of Au-Pt Nanoalloys

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Science  30 Jan 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5914, pp. 617-620
DOI: 10.1126/science.1166703

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Small metal nanoparticles that are also highly crystalline have the potential for showing enhanced catalytic activity. We describe the preparation of single nanocrystals of platinum that are 2 to 3 nanometers in diameter. These particles were generated and immobilized on spherical polyelectrolyte brushes consisting of a polystyrene core (diameter of ∼100 nanometers) onto which long chains of a cationic polyelectrolyte were affixed. In a first step, a nanoalloy of gold and platinum (a solid solution) was generated within the layer of cationic polyelectrolyte chains. In a second step, the gold was slowly and selectively dissolved by cyanide ions in the presence of oxygen. Cryogenic transmission electron microscopy, wide-angle x-ray scattering, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy showed that the resulting platinum nanoparticles are faceted single crystals that remain embedded in the polyelectrolyte-chain layer. The composite systems of the core particles and the platinum single nanocrystals exhibit an excellent colloidal stability, as well as high catalytic activity in hydrogenation reactions in the aqueous phase.

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