Developing Novel Processes in Chemistry for Several Types of Nanoparticles

  • Ahmed Abdelhady

Student thesis: Phd


The University of ManchesterAhmed Mohammed Said Lutfi AbdelhadyDoctor of PhilosophyDeveloping Novel Processes in Chemistry for Several Types of Nanoparticles2011 The work presented in this thesis reports the use of a series of novel thiobiuret metal complexes [M(SON(CNiPr2)2)n] (M = Cu, Ni, Fe, Zn, Cd or In; n = 2 or 3) for the first time as single source precursors for the colloidal synthesis of metal sulfide nanoparticles. Other single source precursor(s) were also used for the synthesis of CdSe, CdS, CdSe/CdS core/shell, CdSeS alloys and Cu2-xS nanoparticles in microfluidic reactors. Thermolysis experiments of [Cu(SON(CNiPr2)2)2] using only oleylamine produced Cu7S4 nanoparticles as a mixture of monoclinic and orthorhombic phases. Pure orthorhombic Cu7S4 nanoparticles were obtained when a solution of precursor in octadecene was injected into hot oleylamine whereas, Cu1.94S nanoparticles were obtained when a solution of the precursor in oleylamine was injected into hot dodecanethiol. The thermolysis of [Ni(SON(CNiPr2)2)2] gave Ni3S4 in all cases except when precursor solution in oleylamine was injected into hot octadecene which produced NiS nanoparticles. The thermolysis of [Fe(SON(CNiPr2)2)3] in oleylamine/oleylamine produced Fe7S8 nanoparticles but other combinations, in most cases, gave amorphous material. Thermolysis of [Zn(SON(CNiPr2)2)2] in oleylamine produced spherical ZnS nanoparticles. Particles with size smaller than 4.3 nm had a cubic phase, whereas the particles with size larger than 4.3 nm had a hexagonal crystal structure as suggested by the selected area electron diffraction. Powder X-Ray diffraction showed that the CdS nanoparticles obtained from the thermolysis of [Cd(SON(CNiPr2)2)2] in oleylamine were cubic under all reaction conditions except when dodecanethiol was used as an injection solvent which produced hexagonal CdS. β-In2S3 were synthesized from the thermolysis of [In(SON(CNiPr2)2)3]. Transmission electron microscopy showed that the copper, nickel and iron sulfide nanoparticles had various morphologies such as spherical, hexagonal disks, trigonal disks, rods or wires; depending on the reaction temperature, concentration of the precursor, the growth time and the solvent/capping agent combination. The zinc and cadmium sulfide nanoparticles were mostly spherical whereas the indium sulfide nanoparticles were produced in the form of ultra-thin (< 1.0 nm) nanorods or nanowires. ZnxCd1-xS and CuInS2 nanoparticles were synthesised from the 1,1,5,5-tetra-iso-propyl-4-thiobiureto complexes of Zn, Cd and Cu, In, respectively. Powder X-Ray diffraction showed that the obtained ZnxCd1-xS nanoparticles are cubic under all reaction conditions. The ZnxCd1-xS nanoparticles had an average diameter between 3.5 to 6.4 nm as shown by transmission electron microscopy. The optical properties of the ZnxCd1-xS nanoparticles were highly dependent on the ZnS to CdS precursor ratio and the solvents/capping agents. Chalcopyrite (tetragonal), wurtzite (hexagonal) or a mixture of both CuInS2 nanoparticles were obtained depending on the reaction conditions. TEM showed that the CuInS2 nanoparticles could be synthesised with different morphologies (spherical, hexagonal, trigonal or cone). Luminescent CuInS2 nanoparticles were obtained only in the absence of oleylamine. [Cd(S2CNMenHex)2], [Cd(Se2P(iPr)2)2] and [Cu(SON(CNiPr2)2)2] were used as single source precursor(s) for the synthesis of CdS, CdSe, CdSe/CdS core/shell, CdSeS alloys and Cu2-xS in microfludic reactor. The CdS nanoparticles were in size range of 5.0 to 8.0 nm whereas the CdSe nanoparticles were ultra small (ca. 2 nm) with blue luminescence. The CdSe/CdS core/shell and the CdSeS alloys were bluish green or green luminescent depending on their size. The copper sulfide nanoparticles were found to be monoclinic Cu7S4 or monoclinic Cu7S4 with minor impurities of rhombohedral Cu9S5 depending on the reaction conditions.
Date of Award31 Dec 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPaul O'Brien (Supervisor)


  • Thiobiurets
  • Metal chalcogenides
  • Microfluidic reactors
  • Single source precursor
  • Nanoparticles
  • Colloidal synthesis

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