Recently, transition metal phosphides have found new applications as catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction that has generated an impetus to synthesize these materials at the nanoscale. In this work, Au2P3 was synthesized utilizing the high temperature decomposition of tri-n-octylphosphine as a source of elemental phosphorous. Gold nanorods were used as morphological templates with the aim of controlling the shape and size of the resulting gold phosphide particles. We demonstrate that the surface capping ligand of the gold nanoparticle precursors can influence the purity and extent to which the gold phosphide phase will form. Gold nanorods functionalized with 1-dodecanethiol undergo digestive ripening to produce discrete spherical particles that exhibit reduced reactivity towards phosphorous, resulting in low yields of the gold phosphide. In contrast, gold phosphide was obtained as a phase pure product when cetyltrimethylammonium bromide functionalized gold nanorods are used instead. The Au2P3 nanoparticles exhibited higher activity than polycrystalline gold towards the hydrogen evolution reaction.
- Gold phosphide