Highly dispersed gold nanoparticles have been incorporated into the pore channels of SBA-15 mesoporous silica through a newly developed strategy assisted by microwave radiation (MR). The sizes of gold are effectively controlled attributed to the rapid and homogeneous nucleation, simultaneous propagation and termination of gold precursor by MR. Diol moieties with high dielectric and dielectric loss constants, and hence a high microwave activation, were firstly introduced to the pore channels of SBA-15 by a simple addition reaction between amino group and glycidiol and subsequently served as the reduction centers for gold nanoparticles. Extraction of the entrapped gold from the nanocomposite resulted in milligram quantities of gold nanoparticles with low dispersity. The successful assembly process of diol groups and formation of gold nanoparticles were monitored and tracked by solid-state NMR and UV-vis measurements. Characterization by small angle X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) indicated that the incorporation of gold nanoparticles would not breakup the structural integrity and long-range periodicity of SBA-15. The gold nanoparticles had a narrow size distribution with diameters in the size range of 5-10 nm through TEM observation. The average particles size is 7.9 nm via calculation by the Scherrer formula and TEM measurements. Nitrogen adsorption and desorption isotherms gave further evidence that the employed method was efficient and gold nanoparticles were successfully incorporated into the pore channels of SBA-15.
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