- Composites of Spherical Polyelectrolyte Brushes and Nanoparticles – Synthesis, Characterization and Their Use in Catalysis (2011)
- The main objective of this thesis was the synthesis of colloidal stable managanese oxide nanoparticles (MnOxNP) for applications as a catalyst in aqueous solution. Spherical polyelectrolyte brushes (SPBs) with poly(2-trimethyl ammonium ethyl methacrylate chloride) (pTMAEMC) chains were used as support particles to stabilize the MnOxNP by immobilization. In a first step we established and investigated the method of the in situ generation of the MnOxNP within SPBs. It was found that no reducing agent is needed for the reduction of the permanganate precursors and that they do not react with the cationic polymer chains of the SPBs. By a combination of powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and cryogenic TEM (cryoTEM) it was found that the platelet-like MnOxNP are of layered topology built up from MnO6 octahedra denoted as birnessite. The PXRD patterns revealed a disorder along the stacking direction of the single layers of hexagonal sheets. Furthermore, the structure of the composite material observed by TEM strongly differs compared to that in cryoTEM micrographs. The composite material was furthermore analyzed by high resolution TEM (HRTEM) and X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) analysis. The qualitative X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) analysis using reference compounds confirmed the crystallographic similarity of the MnOxNP to a c-disordered birnessite. The local structure of the MnOxNP was investigated by a quantitative extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) analysis that revealed that no significant difference between the MnOxNP@SPB in aqueous solution and in the dried state. In general, the hexagonal sheets of edge-share MnO6 octahedra are compressed along the c-direction, that is, along the stacking direction. Additionally, a new kind of composite material composed of star-shaped pTMAEMC homopolymer and MnOxNP was synthesized and characterized To test the MnOxNP@SPB composite material for its catalytic activity, the oxidation of morin by hydrogen peroxide was established as a model reaction. It could be shown by UV/vis measurements that the rate of the decomposition is highly depending on the ratio between morin and the oxidant H2O2. This finding was modeled by a Langmuir-Hinshelwood reaction mechanism. The study proved the potential application of the composite material as a catalyst especially for water-based catalysis. Furthermore, a detailed kinetic analysis of the reduction of 4-nitrophenol by sodium borohydride using gold and platinum nanoparticles immobilized on SPBs has been conducted. In analogy to the work on the oxidative decomposition of morin, a Langmuir-Hinshelwood model was used for the description of the reaction mechanism. Using this model, the adsorption constants for both reactants as well as the rate constant of the surface reaction could be determined for both noble metal nanoparticles. This showed that the higher catalytic activity of Pt is mainly due to the higher rate constant of the surface reaction. Additionally, the induction period of the reduction of 4-nitrophenol could be assigned to a surface reconstructuring of the nanoparticles due to the adsorption of 4-nitrophenol. Finally, the synthesis of a novel zwitterionic SPB could be realized using aqueous atom transfer radical polymerization. These particles show a surprisingly high colloidal stability in aqueous medium though the poly(2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl dimethyl-(3-sulfopropyl)ammonium hydroxide) (pMEDSAH) chains are not soluble in pure water. The solution behavior in water was furthermore studied by dynamic light scattering, TEM and cryoTEM proving the collapsed state of the brush layer. The zwitterionic shell undergoes an internal phase separation leading to a surface-near layer whereas only a minor part of the chains reaches further out into the solution. The collapse was explained by the formation of aggregates of monomer units by zwitterionic or hydrophobic interactions. It was shown that the zwitterionic shell swells upon the addition of high amounts of salts and/or upon increasing the temperature due to the presence of an upper critical solution temperature. In conclusion, this thesis presented a new method for the generation and stabilization of MnOxNP of layered topology using cationic SPBs. The mechanism of the in situ generation could be elucidated as well as the microscopic structure of the composite material in the aqueous dispersed state. Using state of the art characterization methods like XAFS, the local environment of the MnOxNP around the Mn absorber could be determined. The catalytic activity of the MnOxNP was studied in detail applying a Langmuir-Hinshelwood model to the catalytic degradation of morin. A similar study gave new insights into the reduction of 4-nitrophenol using noble metal nanoparticles applying a similar model. The synthesis and analysis of zwitterionic SPBs gave important information about their solution behavior.