Synthesis of copper nanocatalysts with tunable size using diblock copolymer solution micelles
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Self-assembled solution micelles prepared from polystyrene-b-poly(4- vinylpyridine) (PS-b-P4VP) and polystyrene-b-poly(2-vinylpyridine) (PS-b-P2VP), have been employed as templates to synthesize copper nanocatalysts which are regarded as an excellent catalyst system for 1D nanomaterial synthesis. We have demonstrated that uniform-sized nanoparticles with diameters ranging from 1 to 15 nm have been generated. We have revealed that nanocatalyst size can be rationally tailored by adjusting the interaction between copper precursors and ligands and metal sequestration time. Ordered arrays of copper nanocatalysts derived from depositing a monolayer of solution micelles exhibit excellent thermal stability and do not agglomerate during the thermal treatment at 850 °C, typical growth temperature for 1D nanomaterial using the chemical vapor deposition technique. High-density and aligned single-walled carbon nanotubes with uniform diameter have been synthesized using the chemical vapor deposition technique. The average diameter is 1.4 nm, which is on the same order of catalyst size, around 2.0 nm. The combination of tunable size and spacing with superb thermal stability and outstanding catalytic activity offered by this new copper nanocatalyst system will enable growth of high-yield 1D nanomaterials with controllable diameter and spacing consistently and reproducible properties. It also paves a new path to study the effect of nanocatalyst size on 1D nanomaterial synthesis and their properties. © 2010 American Chemical Society.