Multifunctional Fe2O3-Au Nanoparticles with Different Shapes: Enhanced Catalysis, Photothermal Effects, and Magnetic Recyclability

George K. Larsen, Will Farr, Simona E. Hunyadi Murph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


We investigate Au-decorated Fe2O3 nanoparticle catalysts, Fe2O3-Au, where the supporting Fe2O3 nanoparticles are of different shapes: spheres, rings, and tubes. The decoration procedure for the Fe2O3-Au nanoparticles is identical for each shape, and is analogous to the synthesis of pure Au nanoparticles (AuNPs). These similarities allows for direct comparison between the different shapes and the pure AuNPs. The morphological, optical, and magnetic characterizations reveal that the Fe2O3-Au nanoparticles are hybrid structures exhibiting both plasmonic and magnetic properties. The different shape Fe2O3-Au nanoparticles and the AuNPs are evaluated for their ability to catalytically reduce 4-nitrophenol. Remarkably, it is found that Fe2O3-Au nanoparticles are more efficient catalysts than AuNPs because they can achieve the same, or better, catalytic reaction rates using significantly smaller quantities of Au, which is the catalytically active material. Taking into account the Au-loadings, the Fe2O3 rings and tubes are superior to the Fe2O3 spheres as catalytic supports due to their Fe2O3 crystal phase. It is also shown that the Fe2O3-Au nanoparticles have the additional benefit for catalysis in that they can be recovered and reused via magnetic collection. Furthermore, the Fe2O3-Au nanoparticles and AuNPs are found to efficiently transduce heat from light through plasmonic absorbance, and this phenomenon is exploited to demonstrate the photothermal catalytic reduction of 4-nitrophenol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15162-15172
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 21 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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