Nanometer precise adjustment of the silver shell thickness during automated Au–Ag core–shell nanoparticle synthesis in micro fluid segment sequences†
In this work, a wet-chemical synthesis method for gold–silver core–shell particles with nanometer precise adjustable silver shell thicknesses is presented. Typically wet-chemical syntheses lead to relatively large diameter size distributions and losses in the yield of the desired particle structure due to thermodynamical effects. With the here explained synthesis method in micro fluidic segment sequences, a combinatorial in situ parameter screening of the reactant concentration ratios by programmed flow rate shifts in conjunction with efficient segment internal mixing conditions is possible. The highly increased mixing rates ensure a homogeneous shell deposition on all presented gold core particles while the amount of available silver ions was adjusted by automated flow rate courses, from which the synthesis conditions for exactly tunable shell thicknesses between 1.1 and 6.1 nm could be derived. The findings according to the homogeneity of size and particle structure were confirmed by differential centrifugal sedimentation (DCS), scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM, TEM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurements. In UV-Vis measurements, a significant contribution of the core metal was found in the shape of the extinction spectra in the case of thin shells. These results were confirmed by theoretical calculations.