Core–shell Au@AuAg nano-peanuts for the catalytic reduction of 4-nitrophenol: critical role of hollow interior and broken shell structure†
Bimetallic hollow core–shell nanoparticles have gained immense attention, especially as a high-performance catalyst due to their large surface area and increased number of uncoordinated atoms. However, the synthesis of an anisotropic hollow structure with large number of uncoordinated atoms and tailored hole size remains elusive. Herein, we report the synthesis of peanut-like core–shell nanostructures consisting of Au nanorods as the core covered by the AuAg alloy shell. The AuAg shell was formed on the Au nanorod core via co-deposition of Ag and Au atoms without disturbing the Au nanorod core. Then, we controllably and selectively removed Ag atoms from the shell to create “Broken Shell Peanuts” with variable hole size between 8 ± 4 nm and 26 ± 7 nm. Further, we utilized these nanostructures with different hole size as catalysts to reduce 4-nitrophenol to 4-aminophenol where the broken shell peanut nanostructures with a hole size of 26 ± 7 nm were found to be 12 times more efficient than the solid shell peanut structures.