Chemistry, Ames Laboratory
Journal or Book Title
Journal of Physical Chemistry C
Photochemical methods facilitate the generation, isolation, and study of metastable nanomaterials having unusual size, composition, and morphology. These harder-to-isolate and highly reactive phases, inaccessible using conventional high-temperature pyrolysis, are likely to possess enhanced and unprecedented chemical, electromagnetic, and catalytic properties. We report a fast, low-temperature and scalable photochemical route to synthesize very small (~3 nm) monodisperse cobalt oxyhydroxide (Co(O)OH) nanocrystals. This method uses readily and commercially available pentaamminechlorocobalt(III) chloride, [Co(NH3) 5Cl]Cl2, under acidic or neutral pH and proceeds under either near-UV (350 nm) or Vis (575 nm) illumination. Control experiments showed that the reaction proceeds at competent rates only in the presence of light, does not involve a free radical mechanism, is insensitive to O 2, and proceeds in two steps: (1) Aquation of [Co(NH3) 5Cl] 2+ to yield [Co(NH3) 5(H2O)] 3+, followed by (2) slow photoinduced release of NH3 from the aqua complex. This reaction is slow enough for Co(O)OH to form but fast enough so that nanocrystals are small (ca. 3 nm). The alternative dark thermal reaction proceeds much more slowly and produces much larger (~250 nm) polydisperse Co(O)OH aggregates. UV-Vis absorption measurements and ab initio calculations yield a Co(O)OH band gap of 1.7 eV. Fast thermal annealing of Co(O)OH nanocrystals leads to Co3O4 nanocrystals with overall retention of nanoparticle size and morphology. Thermogravimetric analysis shows that oxyhydroxide to mixed-oxide phase transition occurs at significantly lower temperatures (up to T = 64 degrees C) for small nanocrystals compared with the bulk.
American Chemical society
Alvarado, Samuel R.; Guo, Yijun; Ruberu, Thanthirige Purnima Anuththara; Bakac, Andreja; and Vela, Javier, "Photochemical versus Thermal Synthesis of Cobalt Oxyhydroxide Nanocrystals" (2012). Chemistry Publications. 135.