Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Congressional Room (Capital Hilton)

2008 HANCOCK AWARD RECIPIENT High-Throughput, Low-Waste Synthesis of Well-Defined Gold Nanoparticles In Microcapillary Flow Reactors

Lallie C. McKenzie and James Hutchinson. University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

As the focus on novel nanoparticles (NPs) changes from fundamental research to widespread use in applications, large-scale synthesis routes become increasingly important. In particular, production methods that provide substantial yields of high-performance NPs and simultaneously reduce the environmental impact of these processes are in demand. Although current methods are effective for research-scale synthesis, yields of desired materials are low, large amounts of waste are produced, and reaction scale is limited. The synthesis of NPs in flow systems with microscale dimensions has been shown to increase control of NP pore size and lead to improved products. Along with these benefits, we demonstrate that flow synthesis in a simple, versatile microcapillary reactor can lead to improved NP production methods that are suitable for large-scale operations. We investigated the synthesis of subnanometer gold particles and report the development of new production methods that not only dramatically improve the uniformity of the NPs but also significantly increase the efficiency and throughput of their production. Key results include direct synthesis of monodisperse NPs, a four-fold increase in yield, a hundred-fold increase in production rates (up to 8 g/hr), and an 80% reduction in solvent waste. This work demonstrates that integrating the principles of green chemistry into the development of new nanomanufacturing processes can effectively reduce environmental impacts and enhance the economic and technological viability of these approaches