The understanding of how the formation of metal nanoparticles in aqueous solutions is influenced by the presence of presynthesized nanoparticles is important for precise control over size, shape, and composition of nanoparticles. New insights into the catalytic mechanism of Pt nanoparticles are gained by studying the formation of gold nanoparticles from the reduction of AuCl(4)(-) in aqueous solution in the presence of presynthesized Pt nanoparticles as a model system. The measurement of changes of the surface plasmon resonance band of gold nanoparticles, along with TEM analysis of particle size and morphology, provided an important means for assessing the reaction kinetics. The reductive mediation of Pt-H species on the Pt nanocrystal surface is believed to play an important role in the Pt-catalyzed formation of gold nanoparticles. This important physical insight is evidenced by comparison of the rates of the Pt-catalyzed formation of gold nanoparticles in the presence and in the absence of hydrogen (H(2)), which adsorb dissociatively on a Pt nanocrystal surface forming Pt-H species. Pt-H effectively mediates the reduction of AuCl(4)(-) toward the formation of gold nanoparticles. Implications of the findings to the controllability over size, composition, and morphology of metal nanoparticles in the aqueous synthesis environment are also discussed.
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