Photothermal-triggered nanoreactors with tunable catalyst location and catalytic activity

29 June 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Thermosensitive microgels based on poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAm) have been widely used to create nanoreactors with controlled catalytic activity through the immobilization of metal nanoparticles (NPs). However, traditional approaches with the metal NPs located only in the polymer network rely on electric heating to initiate the reaction. In this study, we developed a photothermal-responsive yolk-shell nanoreactor with tunable location of metal NPs. The catalytic performance of these nanoreactors can be controlled by both light irradiation and conventional heating, i.e., electric heating. Interestingly, the location of the catalysts had a significant impact on the reduction kinetics of the nanoreactors: catalysts in the shell exhibited higher catalytic activity compared to those in the core under conventional heating. When subjected to light irradiation, nanoreactors with catalysts loaded in the core demonstrated improved catalytic performance compared to direct heating, while the nanoreactors with catalysts in the shell exhibited relatively similar activity. We attribute this enhancement in catalytic activity to the spatial distribution of the catalysts and the localized heating within the PDA core of the nanoreactors. This research presents exciting prospects for the design of innovative smart nanoreactors and efficient photothermal-assisted catalysis.


Near-infrared light
thermoresponsive polymer

Supplementary materials

Photothermal-triggered nanoreactors with tunable catalyst location and catalytic activity - SI
TEM images plus additional photothermal and photocatalytic measurement data


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