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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 23 (2018) pp 36-38

Investigating the Seed-Growth Method for the Synthesis of Silver Sols with Several Colors

Ignace De Coninck, Dries Curvers, Natalie Chiaverini and Tom Mortier*

Faculty of Management and Technology, University Colleges Leuven-Limburg, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium,
Received January 16, 2018. Accepted February 15, 2018.

Published: 5 March 2017

Abstract. The seed-growth method for the preparation of silver sols with several colors, other than its characteristic yellow color, was investigated during a nanochemistry student research project. The seed solution was obtained by synthesizing silver colloids with sodium borohydride as a reducing agent and was subsequently added to polyvinylpyrrolidone solutions containing silver nitrate. By controlling the concentrations of the aqueous solutions of both trisodium citrate and ascorbic acid in the growth solutions, we obtained orange, red, magenta, blue and green colors for the several silver sols. The optical properties from the aqueous silver sols were characterized by UV-Vis spectroscopy. These highly reproducible experiments are suitable for advanced nanochemistry courses. They also provide students with a thorough introduction on complementary colors.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; inorganic chemistry, nanochemistry; silver colloids; UV-Vis spectroscopy; complementary color

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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