Iron oxide nanomaterials participate in redox processes that give them ideal properties for their use as earth-abundant catalysts. Fabricating nanocatalysts for such applications requires detailed knowledge of the deposition and growth. We report the spontaneous deposition of iron oxide nanoparticles on HOPG in defect areas and on step edges from a metal precursor solution. To study the nucleation and growth of iron oxide nanoparticles, tailored defects were created on the surface of HOPG using various ion sources that serve as the target sites for iron oxide nucleation. After solution deposition and annealing, the iron oxide nanoparticles were found to nucleate and coalesce at 400 °C. AFM revealed that the particles on the sp 3 carbon sites enabled the nanoparticles to aggregate into larger particles. The iron oxide nanoparticles were characterized as having an Fe 3+ oxidation state and two different oxygen species, Fe–O and Fe–OH/Fe–OOH, as determined by XPS. STEM imaging and EDS mapping confirmed that the majority of the nanoparticles grown were converted to hematite after annealing at 400 °C. A mechanism of spontaneous and selective deposition on the HOPG surface and transformation of the iron oxide nanoparticles is proposed. These results suggest a simple method for growing nanoparticlesmore »
Electrochemically switchable polymerization from surface-anchored molecular catalysts
Redox-switchable polymerizations of lactide and epoxides were extended to the solid state by anchoring an iron-based polymerization catalyst to TiO 2 nanoparticles. The reactivity of the molecular complexes and their redox-switching characteristics were maintained in the solid-state. These properties resulted in surface-initiated polymerization reactions that produced polymer brushes whose chemical composition is dictated by the oxidation state of the iron-based complex. Depositing the catalyst-functionalized TiO 2 nanoparticles on fluorine-doped tin oxide resulted in an electrically addressable surface that could be used to demonstrate spatial control in redox-switchable polymerization reactions. By using a substrate that contained two electrically isolated domains wherein one domain was exposed to an oxidizing potential, patterns of surface-bound polyesters and polyethers were accessible through sequential application of lactide and cyclohexene oxide. The differentially functionalized surfaces demonstrated distinct physical properties that illustrated the promise for using the method to pattern surfaces with multiple, chemically distinct polymer brushes.
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