, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 3-11,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 17 Nov 2012

Effect of gold alloying on stability of silver nanoparticles and control of silver ion release from vapor-deposited Ag–Au/polytetrafluoroethylene nanocomposites


In the present study, nanocomposites containing Ag–Au alloy nanoparticle ensembles with various compositions on polytetrafluoroethylene were prepared by physical vapor deposition. After a certain time of immersion of the samples in water, oxidation and dissolution of the Ag nanoparticles (AgNPs) occurred, and changes in the morphology, optical properties and composition of the nanocomposites were examined using transmission electron microscopy, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), respectively. The composition-dependence and the time-dependence of the silver ion release were studied, and the concentration of the silver ions in water was detected using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The results indicate that with increasing gold fraction in the Au–Ag alloy nanoparticles, a strong improvement of the oxidation resistance of the AgNPs occurs. The dissolution of Ag is rapid at the first contact of the sample with water until a saturation state is reached. XPS synchrotron measurements with different excitation energies show that the depletion of Ag from the nanoparticles does not lead to the formation of a Au-rich shell and that the atomic mobility is high enough in the small nanoparticles of about 5 nm average size to equilibrate any concentration gradient.