A general strategy for synthesis of metal oxide nanoparticles attached on carbon nanomaterials
© Zhao et al; licensee Springer. 2011
Received: 25 June 2010
Accepted: 12 January 2011
Published: 12 January 2011
We report a general strategy for synthesis of a large variety of metal oxide nanoparticles on different carbon nanomaterials (CNMs), including single-walled carbon nanotubes, multi-walled carbon nanotubes, and a few-layer graphene. The approach was based on the π-π interaction between CNMs and modified aromatic organic ligands, which acted as bridges connecting metal ions and CNMs. Our methods can be applicable for a large variety of metal ions, thus offering a great potential application.
The attachment of nanoparticles (NPs) on carbon nanomaterials (CNMs), including single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs), and graphene has attracted great interest, for the nanocomposites not only combine the extraordinary properties of the NPs and CNMs, but also exhibit some new properties caused by the interaction between them [1, 2]. For examples, when the light-harvesting NPs, such as TiO2, ZnO, CdS, CdSe, were attached on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with high conductivity, the photocatalytic properties increased dramatically [3–5]. In addition, CNTs with large surface areas are ideal supporting materials for catalysts NPs, leading to improvements in the efficiency of the catalysts [6–8]. A lot of approaches including assembling pre-synthesized NPs as building blocks on CNTs, and spontaneous formation of NPs on CNTs, have been applied to prepare NPs/CNTs [9–14]. The previous reports mainly focused on attaching NPs on MWNTs by using benzyl alcohol or pyrene derivatives as linkages [15, 16]. Development to SWNTs and graphene, both with well-defined structures, may provide important information to explore the mechanisms of the enhanced properties of NPs after attached on CNMs. However, it still remains a challenge to fabricate uniform NPs/CNMs nanocomposites in a controlled manner. Here we present a unified strategy for synthesis of a large variety of NPs of metal oxides, including transition and rare earth metal oxides on SWNTs, MWNTs, and a few-layer graphene. The strategy was based on a noncovalent π-π interaction between delocalized π-electrons of CNMs and aromatic organic compounds, in this case phenylphosphonic acid, which acid tail can be connected with metal ions. After a hydrothermal treatment, the metal oxides NPs were formed and strongly anchored to the surface of CNMs.
Results and discussion
In summary, we report a general strategy for synthesis of a large variety of metal oxide NPs on CNMs, including SWNTs, MWNTs, and a few-layer graphene. The approach was based on the π-π interaction between CNMs and modified aromatic organic ligands, which acted as bridges connecting metal ions and CNMs. Our methods can be applicable for a large variety of metal ions. By adopting bi-metal or even tri-metal precursors in a certain mole ratio, composite oxide nanocrystals with novel structures and multi-function deposited on different CNMs can be effectively prepared through this method. The new class of hybrid nanomaterials offers a great potential application in sustainable energy, environment, and even biomedicine.
multi-walled carbon nanotubes
single-walled carbon nanotubes
transmission electron microscope
Financial support for this study was provided by Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SZD 09003), and the National Key Project on Basic Research (Grant No. 2009CB939801, 2011CB935904) of China.
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