Organometallic Synthesis of Size-Controlled Polycrystalline Ruthenium Nanoparticles in the Presence of Alcohols


  • The authors are very grateful to the “Service Commun de Microscopie Electronique de l’Université Paul Sabatier” (TEMSCAN) for assistance with the electronic microscopy. This work is supported by funds from C.N.R.S. and E.U. (TMR network CLUPOS). K. Pelzer thanks the DAAD for a grant.


Ruthenium nanoparticles of controlled size have been prepared by decomposition of the organometallic precursor Ru(cod)(cot) (cod = 1,5-cyclooctadiene, cot = 1,3,5-cyclooctatriene) under an H2 atmosphere in either a pure alcohol or an alcohol/THF mixture as solvent and in the absence of further stabilizer. The particles were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), high-resolution electron microscopy (HREM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The colloidal solutions are stable for long periods of time, in some cases longer than one year. TEM images reveal in most cases the presence of polycrystalline sponge-like particles of regular spherical shape and homogeneous size or, in some cases, the presence of isolated and well-dispersed monocrystalline particles, depending upon the alkyl chain length of the alcohol used. In all cases the size distributions are relatively narrow. WAXS and XRD analyses indicate the exclusive presence of hexagonal close-packed (hcp) ruthenium in these materials. The size of the particles can be controlled by adjusting the reaction temperature or the composition of the solvent mixture. In case of MeOH/THF mixtures, a linear correlation was established between the solvent composition and the size of the particles in the range of 4–85 nm. In the absence of stirring, small individual monocrystalline Ru particles are formed inside superstructures that assemble in some cases into monolayers. Finally, these materials are promising in catalytic hydrogenation of arenes under mild conditions.