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Synthesis of Nanoparticles

The so-called “bottom-up” methods are based on the controlled reaction of atoms, molecules or ions to larger entities. The advantage is that via these methods, smallest particles can be obtained that all possess practically identical size and shape (see image). Moreover, materials consisting of several components can be prepared with high homogeneity from the individual components after mixing at the molecular level, resulting in optimum materials quality.

In our research group, the synthesis is performed predominantly via the nonaqueous synthesis method, which is characterized by a slow, controlled reaction and is thus suitable for the preparation of nanoparticles with highest quality demand as well as the preparation of nanomaterials with complex composition. Thereby, a large variety of binary and ternary metal oxide nanoparticles can be obtained, for example TiO2, ZrO2, Fe3O4, BaTiO3, BaSnO3 or ITO (indium tin oxide). By the use of additives, doping of the materials is possible. Thus, we have e.g. achieved the synthesis of luminescent Eu3+-doped ZrO2 nanoparticles. In the most cases, the reaction systems are highly robust and can be utilized for the preparation of larger amounts of nanoparticles also in the 1L scale – in contrast to many other methods, where the nanoparticles in desired size and shape can reproducibly only be obtained through a precise control of all process parameters.

Transmission electron micrographs of Fe3O4, ZrO2 and indium tin oxide (ITO) nanoparticles (left to right).


[1] M. Zimmermann, G. Garnweitner, “Parameter studies of the synthesis of titanium dioxide nanoparticles: Effect on particle formation and size”, Chemical Engineering and Processing 2013, 74, 83-89. Abstract
[2] M. Zimmermann, G. Garnweitner, “Spontaneous water release inducing nucleation during the nonaqueous synthesis of TiO2 nanoparticles”, CrystEngComm 2012, 14, 8562-8568. Abstract
[3] I.-M. Grabs, C. Bradtmöller, D. Menzel, G. Garnweitner, “Formation mechanisms of iron oxide nanoparticles in different nonaqueous media”, Crystal Growth and Design 2012, 12, 1469-147 Direct access
[4] G. Garnweitner, C. Grote, “In situ investigation of molecular kinetics and particle formation of water-dispersible titania nanocrystals”, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 2009, 11, 3767-3774.
[5] G. Garnweitner, M. Niederberger, “Organic chemistry in inorganic nanomaterials synthesis”, Journal of Materials Chemistry 2008, 18, 1171-1182.

Team Members

Current Projects
Synthesis and processing of tailored AZO nanocrystals more

Fractionation of Nanoparticles by Preparative Gel Electrophoresis more

Thin nanoparticle films for cathode composites in all solid state batteries more

ElektroBak – Innovative Materials and Concepts for Microbial Electrochemical Systems more

Preparation of multifunctional nanocomposite thin films made of nanosized building blocks more

Characteristics of a nanoparticulate coating based on the process chain more

Finished Projects
Process technology of the synthesis of metal oxide nanoparticles by nonaqueous sol gel methods more

Biocompatible iron-oxide nanoparticles for the in-situ magnetic separation of bioproducts more

Small-Molecule Stabilization of ITO Nanoparticles more

AiF – CleanCoat: Development of transparent, photocatalytically active coatings on polymer substrates with long-term stability more

Protein purification with functionalized magnetic nanoparticles more