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Analyzing the critical mixing time for the liquid-phase reduction synthesis of monodisperse gold nanoparticles using glass microfluidics

Abstract

Reliable and controllable syntheses of nanoparticles rely on the availability of accurate models describing their nucleation and growth. A clear separation between the nucleation and growth processes is a characteristic of the LaMer diagrams of particle formation for all successful syntheses of monodisperse nanoparticles. Controlling the mixing time for the liquid-phase reduction process may facilitate this separation. However, a critical mixing time (Tc) cannot be clearly determined using batch experiments. In this study, gold nanoparticles (GNPs) were prepared on glass microfluidic devices by liquid-phase reduction using citric acid, and Tc was evaluated by altering the flow rate. To clarify the effect of the phase width during the laminar flow through the microchannel of a microfluidic device, GNPs were prepared using two different microfluidic devices: one having two inlets and one having four. From the relationship between the diameter of the as-prepared nanoparticle and the mixing time elapsed inside the microchannel of the microfluidic device, the Tc for the preparation of monodisperse GNPs, at which the minimum deviation occurred in the diameter of GNPs, was determined for the first time. From these analyses, Tc was calculated to be 0.45 s for the four-phase device and 1.51 s for the two-phase device, and was found to vary with the phase width. From these results, we demonstrated that the synthesis process adheres to the LaMer diagram.

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Acknowledgements

This study was subsidized in part by the JKA (2021M-190) through its promotion funds from KEIRIN RACE, and the Tanaka Kikinzoku Memorial Foundation. A part of this work was conducted at the Advanced Characterization Nanotechnology Platform of the University of Tokyo, supported by the “Nanotechnology Platform” of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan.

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MH and HY analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. MH and YW prepared the samples and conducted the experiments.

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Correspondence to Hiromasa Yagyu.

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Yagyu, H., Hamamoto, M. & Wang, Y. Analyzing the critical mixing time for the liquid-phase reduction synthesis of monodisperse gold nanoparticles using glass microfluidics. Microfluid Nanofluid 26, 8 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10404-021-02517-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10404-021-02517-9

Keywords

  • Nanoparticles
  • Microchannel
  • Absorbance
  • Microfabrication
  • Phase flow
  • TEM