Modulation of size and shape of au nanoparticles using Amino-X-Shaped poly(ethylene oxide) - Poly(propylene oxide) block copolymers

Sonia Goy-López, Pablo Taboada*, Adriana Cambón, Josué Juárez, Carmen Alvarez-Lorenzo, Angel Concheiro, Víctor Mosquera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In the present work, the formation and stabilization of gold nanoparticles in a one-pot water-based synthesis has been achieved in the presence of a four-arm, star-shaped polyoxyethyelene - polyoxypropylene (PEO - PPO) block copolymer, Tetronic T904, which acts as both reductant and stabilizer. The influence of several parameters such as copolymer and gold salt concentration, reaction temperature, and solution pH on both the size and shape of the resulting nanocrystals has been established. Low copolymer/gold salt molar ratios favor the formation of either triangular or hexagonal planar nanostructures due to a low reduction rate which turns the reaction into kinetic control. As the molar ratio increases, reduction becomes faster with the subsequent increase in the number of crystal seeds and, thus, the decrease in particle size. In addition, there is an increase in the reduction rate which causes the reduction reaction to be governed by thermodynamics, and consequently, spherical geometries are favored. A particle spherical shape can also be promoted as a consequence of the accumulation of block copolymer molecules on different crystallographic planes, homogenizing the metal surface structure and disabling the growth in different crystallographic directions. The same behavior was observed when the reaction temperature was raised. The size and shape of gold nanoparticles could also be controlled by varying the pH of the medium. As the pH becomes more acidic, protons prevent the oxyethylene part of the copolymer from the reduction of metal ions, and consequently, the number of nuclei decreases. This explains the overall increase in the particle size and the change in shape when the synthesis is carried out in acid medium. Finally, comparison with nanoparticles obtained in the presence of a structurally related linear block copolymer Pluronic P105, with a similar number of EO and PO units as T904, denoted an important incidence of the arrangement of PEO and PPO blocks on the reduction reaction rate and the size and shape of the resulting nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-76
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number1
StatePublished - 14 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


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