Large-Scale Synthesis of Hybrid Conductive Polymer–Gold Nanoparticles Using “Sacrificial” Weakly Binding Ligands for Printing Electronics

We describe the gram-scale synthesis of hybrid gold nanoparticles with a shell of conductive polymers. A large-scale synthesis of hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB)-capped gold nanoparticles (AuNP@CTAB) was followed by ligand exchange with conductive polymers based on thiophene in a 10 L reactor equipped with a jacket to ensure a constant temperature of 40 °C and a mechanical stirrer. Slow and controlled reduction of the gold precursors and the presence of small amounts of silver nitrate are revealed to be the critical synthesis variables to obtain particles with a sufficiently narrow size distribution. Batches of approximately 10 g of faceted AuNP@CTAB with tunable average particle sizes from 54 to 85 nm were obtained per batch. Ligand exchange with poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) in the same reactor then yielded hybrid Au@PEDOT:PSS nanoparticles. They were used to formulate sinter-free inks for the inkjet printing of conductive structures without the need for a sintering step.