Droplet microfluidics for the highly controlled synthesis of branched gold nanoparticles

24 Jan 2018

The synthesis of anisotropic metallic nanoparticles (NPs) has been a field of intense and challenging research in the past decade. In this communication, we report on the reproducible and highly controllable synthesis of monodisperse branched gold nanoparticles in a droplet-based microfluidics platform. The process has been automated by adapting two different bulk synthetic strategies to microdroplets, acting as microreactors, for NP synthesis: a surfactant-free synthesis and a surfactant-assisted synthesis. Microdroplets were generated in two different microfluidic devices designed to accommodate the requirements of both bulk syntheses. The epitaxial growth of AuNSTs inside the microdroplets allowed for a fine control of reagent mixing and local concentrations during particle formation. This is the first time branched gold NPs have been synthesised in a microfluidics platform. The monodispersity of the product was comparable to the synthesis in bulk, proving the potential of this technology for the continuous synthesis of high quality anisotropic NPs with improved reproducibility.