A universal approach to the synthesis of nanodendrites of noble metals†
Nanomaterials usually exhibit structure-dependent catalytic activity, selectivity, and stability. Herein, we report a universal approach for the synthesis of noble metal nanoparticles with a dendritic structure, which is based on the reduction of metal acetylacetonate precursors in oleylamine at a temperature of 160 °C. In this strategy, the metal acetylacetonate precursors are reduced into metal atoms by oleylamine and grow into metal nanoparticles, while oleylamine is simultaneously converted into oleylamide to protect the nanoparticles. The competition between particle aggregation and oleylamide passivation is essential to the formation of a large number of particle aggregates, which eventually grow into nanodendrites via Ostwald ripening process. In particular, in comparison with commercial PtRu/C catalysts, the alloy PtRuOs nanodendrites exhibited superior catalytic activity toward methanol oxidation.