Potentiometric in Situ Monitoring of Anions in the Synthesis of Copper and Silver Nanoparticles Using the Polyol Process

Jesse L. Carey, David R. Whitcomb, Suyue Chen, R. Lee Penn, Philippe Bühlmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Potentiometric sensors, such as polymeric membrane, ion-selective electrodes (ISEs), have been used in the past to monitor a variety of chemical processes. However, the use of these sensors has traditionally been limited to aqueous solutions and moderate temperatures. Here we present an ISE with a high-capacity ion-exchange sensing membrane for measurements of nitrate and nitrite in the organic solvent propylene glycol at 150°C. It is capable of continuously measuring under these conditions for over 180 h. We demonstrate the usefulness of this sensor by in situ monitoring of anion concentrations during the synthesis of copper and silver nanoparticles in propylene glycol using the polyol method. Ion chromatography and a colorimetric method were used to independently confirm anion concentrations measured in situ. In doing so, it was shown that in this reaction the co-ion nitrate is reduced to nitrite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12104-12114
Number of pages11
JournalACS nano
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 18 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Part of this research was funded by Carestream Health. We thank United Science for the use of their ion chromatography system, and the University of Minnesota Research Analytical Laboratory for performing the colorimetric analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Chemical Society.


  • copper nanoparticles
  • in situ monitoring
  • ion-selective electrodes
  • nitrate
  • nitrite
  • polyol
  • silver nanoparticles


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