Core–shell nanostructures and nanocomposites of Ag@TiO2: effect of capping agent and shell thickness on the optical properties


Two different shell-forming reagents viz. titanium isopropoxide and titanium hydroxyacylate, have been employed to obtain core–shell nanostructures of Ag@TiO2. However, nanocomposites were formed when the shell-forming agent, titanium isopropoxide, was added before breaking the micelles. Titanium hydroxyacylate has been used for the first time as a shell-forming agent which resulted in uniform core–shell structures of Ag@TiO2 with core diameter ranging from 10 to 40 nm and a shell thickness of 10–50 nm. The low rate of hydrolysis of titanium hydroxyacylate than titanium isopropoxide (used in other methods) appears to be responsible for the uniform shell thickness. The presence of capping agent (2-mercaptoethanol) disrupts the formation of a uniform shell structure of Ag@TiO2. HRTEM, IR, and XPS studies of Ag@TiO2 synthesized using capping agent show the formation of Ag2S coated with an amorphous layer of TiO2. A red shift of 25 and 10 nm was observed in the surface plasmon band of silver for Ag@TiO2 core–shell structures (compared with that of silver nanoparticles) synthesized using titanium hydroxyacylate and titanium isopropoxide, respectively. The presence of capping agent (2-mercaptoethanol) masks the surface plasmon peak. Photoluminescence studies show an increase in the emission intensity for the core–shell structures when compared to that of TiO2 nanoparticles.

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AKG thanks the Nano Science and Technology Initiative, Department of Science & Technology, India and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Govt. of India for financial support. SV thanks Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Govt. of India for a fellowship.

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Correspondence to Ashok K. Ganguli.

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Vaidya, S., Patra, A. & Ganguli, A.K. Core–shell nanostructures and nanocomposites of Ag@TiO2: effect of capping agent and shell thickness on the optical properties. J Nanopart Res 12, 1033–1044 (2010).

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  • Core–shell nanostructures
  • Reverse micelles
  • EDX
  • Photoluminescence
  • Composite nanomaterials