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Synthesis of Cu, Zn and Cu/Zn brass alloy nanoparticles from metal amidinate precursors inionic liquids or propylene carbonate with relevance to methanol synthesis


March 2014

by K. Schütte, H. Meyer, C. Gemel, J. Barthel, R.A. Fischer and C. Janiak

Microwave-induced decomposition of the transition metal amidinates {[Me(C(NiPr)2)]Cu}2 (1) and [Me(C(NiPr)2)]2Zn (2) in the ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate ([BMIm][BF4]) or in propylene carbonate (PC) gives copper and zinc nanoparticles which are stable in the absence of capping ligands (surfactants) for more than six weeks. Co-decomposition of (1) and (2) yields the intermetallic nano-brass phases β-CuZn and γ-Cu3Zn depending on the chosen molar ratios of the precursors.

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In the present study nanoparticles were characterised by high-angle annular dark field-scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM), dynamic light scattering and powder X-ray diffractometry. Microstructure characterisations were complemented by STEM with spatially resolved energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Synthesis in ILs yields significantly smaller nanoparticles than in PC. β-CuZn alloy nanoparticles are found to be precursors to catalysts for methanol synthesis from the synthesis gas H2/CO/CO2 with a productivity of 10.7 mol(MeOH) (kg(Cu) h)−1.

Further reading:

K. Schütte, H. Meyer, C. Gemel, J. Barthel, R.A. Fischer and C. Janiak: Synthesis of Cu, Zn and Cu/Zn brass alloy nanoparticles from metal amidinate precursors in ionic liquids or propylene carbonate with relevance to methanol synthesis, Nanoscale 6 (2014) 3116-3126.


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