Authors: Mihaela D. Lazar, Alexandru R. Biris, Gheorghe Borodi, Cezara Voica, Fumiya Watanabe, Enkeleda Dervishi, and Alexandru S. Biris
Publication: Journal of Materials Science, vol. 48, no. 21, pp 7409-7421
Abstract: Magnesia supported Au, Ag, and Au–Ag nanostructured catalysts were prepared, characterized, and used to synthesize few-layer graphene–metal nanoparticle (Gr–MeNP) composites. The catalysts have a mezoporous structure and a mixture of MgO and MgO·H2O as support. The gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are uniformly dispersed on the surface of the Au/MgO catalysts, and have a uniform round shape with a medium size of ~8 nm. On the other hand, the silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) present on the Ag/MgO catalyst have an irregular shape, larger diameters, and less uniform dispersion. The Au–Ag/MgO catalyst contains large Au–Ag bimetallic particles of ~20–30 nm surrounded by small (5 nm) AuNPs. Following the RF-CCVD process and the dissolution of the magnesia support, relative large, few-layer, wrinkled graphene sheets decorated with metal nanoparticles (MeNPs) are observed. Graphene–gold (Gr–Au) and graphene–silver (Gr–Ag) composites had 4–7 graphitic layers with a relatively large area and similar crystallinity for samples prepared in similar experimental conditions. Graphene–gold–silver composites (Gr–Au–Ag) presented graphitic rectangles with round, bent edges, higher crystallinity, and a higher number of layers (8–14). The MeNPs are encased in the graphitic layers of all the different samples. Their size, shape, and distribution depend on the nature of the catalyst. The AuNPs were uniformly distributed, had a size of about 15 nm, and a round shape similar to those from Au/MgO catalyst. In Gr–Ag, the AgNPs have a round shape, very different from that of the Ag/MgO catalyst, large size distribution and are not uniformly distributed on the surface. Agglomerations of AgNPs together with large areas of pristine few-layer graphene were observed. In Gr–Au–Ag composites, almost exclusively large bimetallic particles of about 25–30 nm, situated at the edge of graphene rectangles have been found.