On the polyol synthesis of silver nanostructures: Glycolaldehyde as a reducing agent

The polyol synthesis is a popular method of preparing metal nanostructures, yet the mechanism by which metal ions are reduced is poorly understood. Using a spectrophotometric method, we show, for the first time, that heating ethylene glycol (EG) in air results in its oxidation to glycolaldehyde (GA), a reductant capable of reducing most noble metal ions. The dependence of reducing power on temperature for EG can be explained by this temperature-dependent oxidation, and the factors influencing GA production can have a profound impact on the nucleation and growth kinetics. These new findings provide critical insight into how the polyol synthesis can be used to generate metal nanostructures with well-controlled shapes. For example, with the primary reductant identified, it becomes possible to evaluate and understand its explicit role in generating nanostructures of a specific shape to the exclusion of others. © 2008 American Chemical Society.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Skrabalak, SE; Wiley, BJ; Kim, M; Formo, EV; Xia, Y

Published Date

  • 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 8 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 2077 - 2081

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1530-6984

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1021/nl800910d