The kinetics of homogeneous nucleation of silver nanoparticles stabilized by polymers
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- Patakfalvi, R., Papp, S. & Dékány, I. J Nanopart Res (2007) 9: 353. doi:10.1007/s11051-006-9139-9
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The formation of Ag nanoparticles synthesized by homogeneous nucleation, stabilized by polymers (PVA and PVP) was monitored by UV–Vis spectrophotometry and transmission electron microscopy. Our aim was to differentiate between the two main phases of particle formation, i.e. nucleation and growth and to characterize their rates with the help of appropriate kinetic equations. Time resolved spectrophotometric measurements revealed that particle formation is an autocatalytic process: a slow, continuous nucleation phase (3–5 min) is followed by a rapid, autocatalytic growth phase where the maximal particle size is 5–7 nm. By freezing the reaction mixture, the process of particle growth can be followed from 5 to 40 min on TEM pictures. The first order rate constants were calculated and they are strongly depend on the polymer concentration. If the growing particles are attached by PEI to the surface of a solid support, the formation of silver nanoparticles can also be followed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and we can control the particle growth on mica surface. The cross section analysis of the pictures show, that the particle growing process can be also monitored at solid–liquid interface.