Organic carbonates as stabilizing solvents for transition-metal nanoparticles.Dalton Trans. 2012 Aug 28; 41(32):9722-7.DT
Biodegradable, non-toxic, "green" and inexpensive propylene carbonate (PC) solvent is shown to function as a stabilizing medium for the synthesis of weakly-coordinated transition-metal nanoparticles. Kinetically stable nanoparticles (M-NPs) with a small and uniform particle size (typically <5 ± 1 nm) have been reproducibly obtained by easy, rapid (3 min) and energy-saving 50 W microwave irradiation under an argon atmosphere from their metal-carbonyl precursors in PC. The M-NP/PC dispersions are stable for up to three weeks according to repeated TEM studies over this time period. The rhodium nanoparticle/PC dispersion is a highly active catalyst for the biphasic liquid-liquid hydrogenation of cyclohexene to cyclohexane with activities of up to and 1875 (mol product) (mol Rh)(-1) h(-1) and near quantitative conversion at 4 to 10 bar H(2) and 90 °C. From the PC dispersion the M-NPs can be coated with organic capping ligands such as 3-mercaptopropionic acid or trioctylphosphine oxide for further stabilization.