Chemists from ITMO managed to create hollow nanoparticles from liquid metals. The new method will not only simplify the production of these particles, but will also change the properties of metal nanocapsules. The research results are published in the journal Chemistry of Materials.
Scientists from ITMO University have proposed an alternative method for the production of metal nanocapsules from transition metals, based on the galvanic substitution reaction. These hollow nanocapsules are widely used for a variety of purposes, from targeted drug delivery to the induction of catalysis in petrochemicals.
Conventional methods for producing hollow nanoparticles are complex and expensive: researchers most often use precious metals such as platinum, silver, or gold. ITMO researchers managed to use liquid metal for the same purpose, namely gallium and its alloy with indium. The new method of Russian scientists will significantly simplify and reduce the cost of production of hollow nanocapsules from base metals. A metal drop heated to 30 ° C and exposed to ultrasound forms micro- and nanodroplets. Then these micro- and nanodroplets undergo a galvanic displacement (substitution) reaction, resulting in the formation of hollow metal particles.
Another advantage of liquid metals is that they are relatively inactive. For this reason, similar procedures can potentially be performed with more than 20 other metals that have a higher reduction potential than gallium and indium in the range of electrochemical activity.