Metal Nanoparticles Protected with Monolayers: Applications for Chemical Vapor Sensing and Gas Chromatography
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Nanoparticles and nanoparticle-based materials are of considerable interest for their unique properties and their potential for use in a variety of applications. Metal nanoparticles, in which each particle's surface is coated with a protective organic monolayer, are of particular interest because the surface monolayer stabilizes them relative to aggregation and they can be taken up into solutions. As a result, they can be processed into thin films for device applications. We will refer to these materials as monolayer-protected nanoparticles (MPNs). Typically, the metal is gold and the organic layer is a self-assembled thiol layer, and this composition will be assumed throughout the remainder of this chapter. A diversity of materials and properties is readily accessible by straightforward synthetic procedures, either by the structures of the monolayer-forming thiols used in the synthesis, or by postsynthetic modifications of the monolayers. A particularly promising application for these materials is as selective layers on chemical vapor sensors. In this role, the thin film of MPNs on the device surface serves to collect and concentrate gas molecules at the sensor's surface. Their sorptive properties also lend them to use as new nanostructured gas chromatographic stationary phases. This chapter will focus on the sorptive properties of MPNs as they relate to chemical sensors and gas chromatography (GC).