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Publication . Article . 2021 . Embargo end date: 14 Dec 2021

Size Control in the Colloidal Synthesis of Plasmonic Magnesium Nanoparticles.

Elizabeth R. Hopper; Thomas M. R. Wayman; Jérémie Asselin; Bruno Pinho; Christina Boukouvala; Laura Torrente-Murciano; Emilie Ringe;
Open Access
Published: 28 Dec 2021
Publisher: Apollo - University of Cambridge Repository
Country: United Kingdom

Nanoparticles of plasmonic materials can sustain oscillations of their free electron density, called localized surface plasmon resonances (LSPRs), giving them a broad range of potential applications. Mg is an earth-abundant plasmonic material attracting growing attention owing to its ability to sustain LSPRs across the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared wavelength range. Tuning the LSPR frequency of plasmonic nanoparticles requires precise control over their size and shape; for Mg, this control has previously been achieved using top-down fabrication or gas-phase methods, but these are slow and expensive. Here, we systematically probe the effects of reaction parameters on the nucleation and growth of Mg nanoparticles using a facile and inexpensive colloidal synthesis. Small NPs of 80 nm were synthesized using a low reaction time of 1 min and ���100 nm NPs were synthesized by decreasing the overall reaction concentration, replacing the naphthalene electron carrier with biphenyl or using metal salt additives of FeCl3 or NiCl2 at longer reaction times of 17 h. Intermediate sizes up to 400 nm were further selected via the overall reaction concentration or using other metal salt additives with different reduction potentials. Significantly larger particles of over a micrometer were produced by reducing the reaction temperature and, thus, the nucleation rate. We showed that increasing the solvent coordination reduced Mg NP sizes, while scaling up the reaction reduced the mixing efficiency and produced larger NPs. Surprisingly, varying the relative amounts of Mg precursor and electron carrier had little impact on the final NP sizes. These results pave the way for the large-scale use of Mg as a low-cost and sustainable plasmonic material.

Support for this project was provided by the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 (ERC Starting Grant SPECs 804523). E.R.H. is thankful for funding from the EPSRC NanoDTC Cambridge (EP/L015978/1). J.A. acknowledges financial support from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Fonds de Recherche du Qu��bec���Nature et Technologies postdoctoral fellowships (BP and B3X programs). C.B. is thankful for funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Standard Research Studentship (DTP) EP/R513180/1). B.P. and L.T.M. acknowledge support from UK Engineering and Physical Science and Research Council (grant number EP/L020443/2). Thanks to Giulio I. Lampronti for helpful discussions and support.


Bioengineering, Nanotechnology, sub-03, Surfaces, Coatings and Films, Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, General Energy, Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials, Article

Funded by
  • Funder: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
UKRI| EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable and Functional Nano
  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Project Code: EP/L015978/1
  • Funding stream: EPSRC
Sustainable plasmon-enhanced catalysis
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 804523
  • Funding stream: H2020 | ERC | ERC-STG
Validated by funder
UKRI| DTP 2018-19 University of Cambridge
  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Project Code: EP/R513180/1
  • Funding stream: EPSRC
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