Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 52, Issue 16, pp 9465–9476 | Cite as

RhAg/rGO nanocatalyst: ligand-controlled synthesis and superior catalytic performances for the reduction of 4-nitrophenol

  • Changlong Wang
  • Roberto Ciganda
  • Luis Yate
  • Sergio Moya
  • Lionel Salmon
  • Jaime Ruiz
  • Didier AstrucEmail author
Chemical routes to materials


The design of ultrafine, highly efficient and recyclable heterogeneous bimetallic nanoparticles catalysts is challenging. In this work, we report for the first time the preparation of ultrafine and monodispersed bimetallic RhAg nanoparticles that are uniformly supported on reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanosheets (RhAg/rGO). A key is the presence of the tris(triazolyl)-polyethylene glycol (tristrz-PEG) ligand as a weak stabilizing agent. This amphiphilic tridentate ligand not only enables the formation of ultrafine RhAg NPs, but also allows quantitative fixation of the NPs onto the rGO, which avoids metal loss and further improves catalytic efficiency. The RhAg/rGO catalysts were characterized by various techniques including UV–Vis, ICP-AES, TEM, HRTEM, STEM, EDX and XPS. By varying the molar ratios of Rh to Ag, the highest catalytic activity in the reduction of 4-nitrophenol by NaBH4 was obtained for RhAg0.5/rGO with a remarkable reaction rate of k app = 14.8 × 10−3 s−1 (k nor = 1415 s−1 g−1). Moreover, the catalyst was recycled, and its amount was reduced to 100 ppm of RhAg0.5/rGO while retaining an exceptional catalytic efficiency. The present work contributes to the effective design of ultrafine bimetallic NPs/graphene-based nanocomposites and to the fabrication of very efficient and cost-effective catalysts.


HRTEM Reduce Graphene Oxide Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy Bimetallic Catalyst Surface Plasmon Band 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Financial support from the China Scholarship Council (CSC) of the People’s Republic of China (Grant to C.W.), the Universities of Bordeaux, Toulouse 3, the LCC (Toulouse) and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) is gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10853_2017_1158_MOESM1_ESM.docx (31.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 32071 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISM, UMR CNRS No 5255Univ. BordeauxTalenceFrance
  2. 2.Facultad de QuimicaUniversidad del Pais VascoSan SebastiánSpain
  3. 3.Unidad BiosuperficiesCIC biomaGUNEDonostia-San SebastiánSpain
  4. 4.UPR CNRS No. 8241Laboratoire de Chimie de CoordinationToulouseFrance

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