Recoverable Microparticle-Supported Metal Nanocatalysts

Metal nanoparticles have been widely exploited in catalysis, but their full impact on the environment and human health is still under debate. Here we describe the one-step fabrication of polymer microbead-supported metal and metal oxide nanoparticles and their application as recoverable nanocatalysts for reactions under batch and flow conditions. Au, Ag and Fe3O4 nanoparticles were prepared directly at the surface of benzylamine-coated spherical polymer beads in water by using low energy microwave radiation. The morphology and size of the nanoparticles, and therefore their catalytic properties, were tuned by modifying the bead surface using betalamic acid, an antioxidant from plant origin. The catalytic performance and recovery of these environmentally friendly nanocatalysts was demonstrated towards model redox chemical transformations. We anticipate the results reported herein can provide important insights into the controlled and facile synthesis of microparticle supported nanocatalysts under mild conditions.