Rapid synthesis of small silver nanocubes

by mediating polyol reduction with a trace amount of sodium sulfide or sodium hydrosulfide

Principal Investigator: Younan Xia

The impact of metal nanostructures is continually increasing as we become more capable of producing them with well-controlled sizes and shapes for fine-tuning their properties and further development of emerging applications. Silver has been one of the most studied materials for nanostructures because of its superior performance in applications such as plasmonics and surface-enhanced Raman scattering. Single-crystal nanocubes are an exciting and useful structure particularly for the production of gold nanocages that hold great promise for biomedical applications such as optical imaging contrast enhancement and photothermal treatment.

Researchers at the UW have developed polyol synthesis as a simple, robust and versatile method for producing silver nanocubes as monodispersed samples. The production rate of silver nanocubes is drastically improved by adding a trace amount of sodium sulfide or sodium hydrosulfide. At this enhanced rate, the evolution of silver nanocubes is dominated by the fast kinetic growth of single-crystal seeds. As a result, the formation of twinned seeds is effectively limited and the size distribution of resultant single-crystal cubes is minimized by creating a more simultaneous nucleation event, allowing all silver nanocubes to grow to the same size.

These small silver cubes are significant for developing new biomedical technologies that employ gold nancages. In addition, this invention can be used to help study some of the fundamental processes that can be manipulated to produce metal nanocrystals with well-controlled sizes and shapes that can fuel future developments in nanotechnology.

For more info, contact: Ryan Buckmaster