The research work in the Colloid Chemistry Group mainly focuses on the design and fabrication of functional hybrid materials based on colloidal particles with versatile applications, such as catalysts, solar cells, and optical devices.
For this purpose, composite particles based on metal nanoparticles (Au, Ag, Pd, Pt, etc.), metal nanoalloys (Au-Pt, Au-Pd, etc.) and metal oxide (TiO2, ZrO2, MnOx, etc.) particles using colloidal particles as carrier system have been prepared. Comparison to other reported carrier systems, colloidal particles have various merits, such as superior stability, facile synthesis for industrial potential, good control over particle size and composition, and easy functionalization providing novel properties. Thus, obtained composite particles can have multiple functionalities with improved physical and chemical properties in a feasible way. These nanocomposite particles have been proven as excellent (photo)catalysts for various chemical catalytic reactions that proceed in aqueous solutions or in two-phase systems. Here, the kinetic study of catalytic reactions will be an essential part of our research in order to understand the mechanism of the reaction in the presence of metal nanoparticles.
Special efforts have been made for the preparation of anisotropic particles, which show interesting properties in light scattering and plasmon absorption. For example, dumbbell-shaped colloids with a size around 200 nm can be prepared by seeded-emulsion polymerization, which can be used as core for the further deposition of well defined water soluble polyelectrolyte brushes or stimuli-responsive shell. On the other hand, hybrid structures based on Au nanorods can be applied as model system to study the plasmon effect of metal nanoparticles on the kinetics and efficiency of photoelectrocatalysis. In addition, possible application like surface plasmon polariton laser will be investigated as well.
We expect that the full knowledge of controlled synthesis of colloidal particles will be benefit for our users. Moreover, cooperation with research groups in the field of solar cells, plasmonics and catalysis within and outside HZB will help us not only expand the application spectrum of composite particles but also deep understand of fundamentals behind.