Multidimensional characterization of noble metal alloy nanoparticles by multiwavelength analytical ultracentrifugation†
In this study, we introduce a method for the simultaneous retrieval of two-dimensional size-composition distributions of noble metal Ag–Au alloy nanoparticles utilizing an analytical ultracentrifuge equipped with a multiwavelength extinction detector (MWL-AUC). MWL-AUC is used to measure coupled optical and sedimentation properties of the particles. The optical response of the nanoparticles is calculated using Mie's theory, where the particles’ complex refractive index is corrected due to the effect of reduced mean free path of electrons. Using a combined analysis of the hydrodynamic and spectral data captured by MWL-AUC, the size and composition of the alloy particles is retrieved. Our method is validated through the analysis of synthetic data and by the very good agreement between experimental scanning transmission electron microscopy and our AUC data. The presented comprehensive characterization approach contributes to improved synthesis, scale-up and production of particulate systems as it provides a simple, fast and direct method to determine noble metal alloy nanoparticle size and composition distributions simultaneously.