Wayland, Bradford B.; Levis, Robert J.; Strongin, Daniel R.; Fryd, Michael (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      The central objective of this work is developing convenient general procedures for controlling the formation and stabilization of nanoscale transition metal particles. Contemporary interest in developing alternative synthetic approaches for producing nanoparticles arises in large part from expanding applications of the nanomaterials in areas such as catalysis, electronics and medicine. This research focuses on advancing the existing nanoparticle synthetic routes by using a new class of polymer colloid materials as a chemical approach, and the laser irradiation of metal salt solution as a photo-chemical method to attain size and shape selectivity. Controlled synthesis of small metal nanoparticles with sizes ranging from 1 to 5nm is still a continuing challenge in nanomaterial synthesis. This research utilizes a new class of polymer colloid materials as nano-reactors and protective agents for controlling the formation of small transition metal nanoparticles. The polymer colloid particles were formed from cross-linking of dinegatively charged metal precursors with partially protonated poly dimethylaminoethylmethacrylate (PDMAEMA). Incorporation of [PtCl6]2- species into the colloidal particles prior to the chemical reduction was effectively employed as a new strategy for synthesis of unusually small platinum nanoparticles with narrow size distributions (1.12 ± 0.25nm). To explore the generality of this approach, in a series of proof-of-concept studies, this method was successfully employed for the synthesis of small palladium (1.4 ±0.2nm) and copper nanoparticles (1.5 ±0.6nm). The polymer colloid materials developed in this research are pH responsive, and are designed to self-assemble and/or disassemble by varying the levels of protonation of the polymer chains. This unique feature was used to tune the size of palladium nanoparticles in a small range from 1nm to 5nm. The procedure presented in this work is a new convenient room temperature route for synthesis of small nanoparticles, and its application can be extended to the formation of other transition metals and alloy nanoparticles. This research also focuses on developing new photo-chemical routes for controlling the size and shape of the nanoparticles through high-intensity ultra-fast laser irradiation of metal salt solution. One of the core objectives of this work is to explore the special capabilities of shaped laser pulses in formation of metal nanoparticles through irradiation of the solutions by using simultaneous spatial and temporal focusing (SSTF). Femtosecond laser irradiation has not yet been widely applied for nanoparticle synthesis, and offers new regimes of energy deposition for synthesis of nanomaterials. Photo-reduction of aqueous [AuCl4]- solution to the gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) has been applied as a model process for optimizing the experimental procedures, and evaluating the potential of shaped laser pulses in the synthesis of AuNPs. Systematic manipulation of the laser parameters and experimental conditions provided effective strategies to control the size of Au nanoparticles in strong laser fields. Varying the concentration of polyethylene glycol (PEG45) as a surfactant effectively tuned the size of AuNPs from 3.9 ±0.7nm to 11.0 ±2.4nm, and significantly increased the rate of Au(III) reduction during irradiation. Comparative studies revealed the capability of shaped laser pulses in the generation of smaller and more uniform AuNPs (5.8 ±1.1nm) relative to the other conventional laser irradiation methods (7.2 ±2.9nm). Furthermore, a new laser-assisted approach has been developed for selective formation of triangular Au nanoplates in the absence of any surfactant molecule. This method relies on rapid energy deposition by using shaped, ultra-intense laser pulses to generate Au seeds in aqueous [AuCl4]- solution, and the slow post-irradiation reduction of un-reacted [AuCl4]- species by using H2O2 as a mild reducing agent. Variation of the laser irradiation-time was found as an effective strategy to tune the morphology of Au nanomaterials from nanospheres to triangular nanoplates. The surfactant-free Au nanoplates produced in this research can be readily functionalized with a variety of target molecules or surfactants for desirable applications such as biomedicine. The concept of rapid laser processing followed by in situ chemical reduction can be expanded as a general methodology for high-yield production of nanomaterials, and provides a series of new laser dependent parameters for controlling the nanoparticle formation.