Neus G. Bastús, Florind Merkoçi, Jordi Piella, and Victor Puntes
Chem. Mater., 2014, 26 (9), pp 2836–2846
Highly monodisperse sodium citrate-coated spherical silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) with controlled sizes ranging from 10 to 200 nm have been synthesized by following a kinetically controlled seeded-growth approach via the reduction of silver nitrate by the combination of two chemical reducing agents: sodium citrate and tannic acid. The use of traces of tannic acid is fundamental in the synthesis of silver seeds, with an unprecedented (nanometric resolution) narrow size distribution that becomes even narrower, by size focusing, during the growth process. The homogeneous growth of Ag seeds is kinetically controlled by adjusting reaction parameters: concentrations of reducing agents, temperature, silver precursor to seed ratio, and pH. This method produces long-term stable aqueous colloidal dispersions of Ag NPs with narrow size distributions, relatively high concentrations (up to 6 × 1012 NPs/mL), and, more important, readily accessible surfaces. This was proved by studying the catalytic properties of as-synthesized Ag NPs using the reduction of Rhodamine B (RhB) by sodium borohydride as a model reaction system. As a result, we show the ability of citrate-stabilized Ag NPs to act as very efficient catalysts for the degradation of RhB while the coating with a polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) layer dramatically decreased the reaction rate.