Engineering the synthesis of silica–gold nano-urchin particles using continuous synthesis†
Compared to freestanding nanoparticles, supported nanostructures typically show better mechanical stability as well as ease of handling. Unique shapes such as core–shells, raspberries and crescents have been developed on supported materials to gain improved chemical and optical properties along with versatility and tunability. We report the formation of hyper-branched gold structures on silica particles, silica–gold nano-urchin (SGNU) particles. Kinetic control of crystallization, fast mass transfer as well as a bumped surface morphology of the silica particles are important factors for the growth of gold branches on the silica support. Using a microfluidic platform, continuous synthesis of SGNUs is achieved with increased reaction rate (less than 12 min of residence time), better controllability and reproducibility than that obtained in batch synthesis. The hyper-branched gold structures display surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS).