Greener Synthesis of Functionalized Inorganic Nanoparticles
Jim Hutchison, Chemistry
During the synthesis of functionalized nanoparticles, hundreds to thousands of atoms assemble into the desired structure in, typically, a rapid series of reaction steps. Little is known about the mechanisms of these reactions and, as a consequence, syntheses are inefficient and often involve the use of highly reactive hazardous reagents. As nanotechnology moves away from demonstration to application, greener approaches to producing these materials will be essential to protecting the environment and providing benefit to society. Given the projected broad application of nanotechnology, greening the production of nanoparticles is an important challenge for green chemistry.
We have been exploring the mechanisms of formation of ligand-functionalized gold nanoparticles and using this knowledge to guide the development of new, greener syntheses of this class of nanomaterial. By participating in this research, the REU student will learn about this new class of materials, functionalized inorganic nanoparticles, and the strategies and approaches to implementing green chemistry in the field of nanoscience. In the lab, s/he will learn synthetic approaches to these materials, including the use of microreactor and nanofiltration methods that we have recently shown are greener methods for synthesis and purification. They will also learn state-of-the-art spectroscopic and microscopic techniques, including TEM, SEM, XPS, UV-vis, and NMR.