Mild Synthesis Of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles And Nanocomposites


We have recently, in collaboration with Prof. Milo Shaffer and Toyota Motor Europe, developed an efficient and general synthetic route to prepare metal oxide nanoparticles (specifically ZnO) from organometallic precursors (specifically diethyl zinc). The synthesis involves the controlled hydrolysis of the organometallic reagent to produce ZnO crystalline nanoparticles at room temperature. The only by-product of the synthesis is ethane gas which can be efficiently removed. This is in contrast to conventional routes to ZnO nanoparticles which rely on salt metathesis reactions, operate at elevated temperatures and may yield ZnO contaminated with other salts. We have applied the new synthesis to produce ZnO nanoparticles well dispersed and at high loading fractions in epoxy resins. The work has recently been patented and published as a ‘hot article’ in Chemical Communications.

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