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CO₂-switchable polymer-hybrid silver nanoparticles and their gas-tunable catalytic activity

Guo, Zanru, Gu, Hongjian, Ma, Wei, Chen, Qiang, He, Zhanfeng, Zhang, Jiali, Liu, Yongxin, Zheng, Longzhen, Feng, Yujun
RSC advances 2017 v.7 no.78 pp. 49777-49786
carbon dioxide, catalysts, catalytic activity, nanoparticles, nanosilver, nitrogen, p-nitrophenol, polymers, silver nitrate, sodium borohydride, solvents
The design of controllable or “signal-triggered” metal nanoparticles is one of the emerging trends in nanotechnology and advanced materials. CO₂-switchable polymer-hybrid silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were prepared by a one-pot reaction reducing AgNO₃ and trithioester terminated PDEAEMA with sodium borohydride (NaBH₄). The hybrids showed a long-term stability, and their size and size distribution can be easily modulated by tuning the molar ratio of polymers to AgNO₃. The hybrids not only exhibit hydrophobic–hydrophilic transitions in immiscible mixed solvents, but also undergo a switchable dispersion/aggregation states upon alternately treating with CO₂ and N₂. Moreover, this smart hybrid was preliminarily used as catalyst for the reduction of 4-nitrophenol. The catalytic activity of the hybrids can be switched and monotonously tuned by varying the flow rate of CO₂ purged into the reaction system, which may open a new avenue for tailoring the catalytic activity of metal nanoparticles toward a given reaction.