Continuous flow synthesis

The solution syntheses of mono- and bi-metallic nanoparticles have attracted the interest of researchers due to their fascinating properties and technological applications in as an example catalysis and photovoltaic. However, these nanoparticle systems are inherently difficult to scale-up because of the sensitivity of their growth kinetics towards changes in the experimental parameters including the way of introduction of reagents, temperature variation and reaction volume. Moreover, the reproducibility of the batch synthesis is challenging and difficult. Hence, the continuous-flow synthesis has made this challenge to be doable. Additionally, the flow reactor synthesis offers many advantages over the batch one including uniform heat, low utilization of chemicals during the optimization process and the ability to quickly test all reaction parameters and to safely use unpleasant odors chemicals. In top of that, the continuous-flow system can pave the way to conduct reactions at elevated temperature and pressure that could not be trivial on batch.
Our group has illustrated the usefulness and the advantages of the continuous-flow system by publishing two articles and filing patents on this method and more to come J. For example, Pan et al. reported that it can be possible to separate the nucleation and the growth of colloidal nanocrystals by continuous-flow system as shown in figure 1. This automated synthesis was greatly beneficial for producing the highest photovoltaic-quality colloidal quantum dots. Also, Alec et al. described the benefit of this method in synthesising shape- and size- controlled bimetallic nanoparticles as shown in figure 2.

Selected Reference List:

  • Pan, J.; El-Ballouli, A. O; Rollny, L.; Voznyy, O.; Burlakov, V.; Goriely, A.; Sargent, E. H; Bakr, M. O. “Automated Synthesis of Photovoltaic-Quality Colloidal Quantum Dots using Separate Nucleation and Growth Stages”, ACS Nano, 2013, 7, 10158–1016


  • Mehenni, H.; Sinatra, L.; Mahfouz, R.; Katsiev, K.; Bakr, O. M., Rapid continuous flow synthesis of high-quality silver nanocubes and nanospheres. RSC Advances 2013, 3 (44), 22397-22403.



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