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Precursor Ion-Ion Aggregation in the Brust-Schiffrin Synthesis of Alkanethiol Nanoparticles.


Tetraoctylammonium bromide is used in the Brust-Schiffrin nanoparticle synthesis to phase-transfer chloroaurate ions from the aqueous phase to the organic phase. While it is established that the quaternary ammonium complex self-associates in the organic phase, the actual self-assembled structure is debated. We have confirmed the presence of ion-ion aggregates through quantitative 1H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy (NMR), pulsed field gradient, diffusion-ordered NMR (DOSY-NMR) and density functional theory (DFT) based NMR shift calculations. Tetraoctylammonium complexes (TOA-X, where X = Br, Cl, AuCl4-xBrx, AuBr4/Br and AuCl4-xBrx/Br) were investigated to measure the extraction of water into the organic phase. 1H NMR and DFT based NMR shielding calculations indicated that deshielding of water is due to hydration of the anion and not the formation of the aqueous core of a reverse micelle. DOSYNMR results were consistent with the formation of small aggregates at typical Brust-Schiffrin synthesis concentrations. The extent of aggregation correlated with the size and electronegativity of the anion and was analyzed with a modified, isodesmic, indefinite aggregation model. The substitution of bromoauric acid for chlororoauric acid at conditions emulating the Brust-Schiffrin synthesis increased the aggregation of the quaternary ammonium complex. The increase in aggregation corresponded with an increase in the size of the produced nanoparticles from 4.3 to 4.6 nm. Understanding the selfassembly and supramolecular structure of precursors in the Brust-Schiffrin synthesis will enable further refinement of models that predict the growth of noble metal nanoparticles.

Graham T, RS Renslow, N Govind, and SR Saunders.2016."Precursor Ion-Ion Aggregation in the Brust-Schiffrin Synthesis of Alkanethiol Nanoparticles."Journal of Physical Chemistry C 120(35):19837-19847. doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.6b06155
Govind Niranjan
Graham T
RS Renslow
N Govind
SR Saunders