Triblock copolymer-mediated synthesis of catalytically active gold nanostructures

  • Douglas C. Santos
  • Viviane C. de Souza
  • Diego A. Vasconcelos
  • George R. S. Andrade
  • Iara F. Gimenez
  • Zaine Teixeira
Research Paper


The design of nanostructures based on poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(propylene)-poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO-PPO-PEO) and metal nanoparticles is becoming an important research topic due to their multiple functionalities in different fields, including nanomedicine and catalysis. In this work, water-soluble gold nanoparticles have been prepared through a green aqueous synthesis method using Pluronic F127 as both reducing and stabilizing agents. The size dependence (varying from 2 to 70 nm) and stability of gold nanoparticles were systematically studied by varying some parameters of synthesis, which were the polymer concentration, temperature, and exposure to UV-A light, being monitored by UV-Vis spectroscopy and TEM. Also, an elaborated study regarding to the kinetic of formation (nucleation and growth) was presented. Finally, the as-prepared Pluronic-capped gold nanoparticles have shown excellent catalytic activity towards the reduction of 4-nitrophenol to 4-aminophenol with sodium borohydride, in which a higher catalytic performance was exhibited when compared with gold nanoparticles prepared by classical reduction method using sodium citrate.

Graphical abstract

Synthesis of catalytically active gold nanostructures mediated by a pluronic triblock copolymer


Plasmonic nanoparticles Pluronic Catalysis Reactive surface 



The authors are thankful to the CMNano-UFS (Project no. 63) for the TEM analysis, CNPq (Process no. 476674/2013-1), Capes, and Fapitec for financial support. G.R.S.A. received a scholarship from Capes (PNPD/2016).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas C. Santos
    • 1
  • Viviane C. de Souza
    • 2
  • Diego A. Vasconcelos
    • 2
  • George R. S. Andrade
    • 1
  • Iara F. Gimenez
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zaine Teixeira
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringFederal University of SergipeSão CristóvãoBrazil
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryFederal University of SergipeSão CristóvãoBrazil

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