Teaching old precursors new tricks: Fast room temperature synthesis of surfactant-free colloidal platinum nanoparticles

J. Quinson*, J. K. Mathiesen, J. Schröder, A. Dworzak, F. Bizzotto, A. Zana, Søren Bredmose Simonsen, Luise Theil Kuhn, M. Oezaslan, K. M. Ø. Jensen, M. Arenz

*Corresponding author for this work

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A fast, simple, instrument-free room temperature synthesis of stable electroactive surfactant-free colloidal Pt nanoparticles in alkaline methanol and methanol-water mixtures is presented. Pair distribution function (PDF) analysis suggests that methoxy substitution of chloride ligands from H2PtCl6 occurs in methanol. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) studies and UV–vis measurements show that solutions of H2PtCl6 in methanol age and are reduced to Pt(II) species over time. These species are ideal precursors to significantly reduce the induction period typically observed in colloidal Pt nanoparticle syntheses as well as the temperature needed to form nanoparticles. The room temperature synthesis presented here allows designing simple in situ studies of the nanoparticle formation. In situ infra-red spectroscopy gives insight into the formation and stabilization mechanism of surfactant-free nanoparticles by CO surface groups. Finally, the surfactant-free nanoparticles ca. 2–3 nm in diameter obtained are shown to be readily active electrocatalysts e.g. for methanol oxidation. The synthesis approach presented bears several advantages to design new studies and new syntheses of surfactant-free colloidal nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Pages (from-to)319-328
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Co4Cat process
  • Colloid
  • Platinum nanoparticles
  • Room temperature synthesis
  • Surfactant-free


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