A simple millifluidic benchtop reactor system for the high-throughput synthesis and functionalization of gold nanoparticles with different sizes and shapes

Samuel E. Lohse, Jonathan R. Eller, Sean T. Sivapalan, Michael R. Plews, Catherine J. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Despite the continuing interest in the applications of functionalized nanomaterials, the controlled and reproducible synthesis of many important functionalized nanoparticles (NPs) above the milligram scale continues to be a significant challenge. The synthesis of functionalized NPs in automated reactors provides a viable approach to circumvent some of the shortcomings of traditional nanomaterial batch syntheses, providing superior control over reagent addition, improved reproducibility, the opportunity to interface real-time product monitoring, and a viable high-throughput synthetic approach. Here, we demonstrate the construction and operation of a simple millifluidic reactor assembled entirely from commercially available components found in almost any chemical laboratory. This reactor facilitates the aqueous gram-scale synthesis of a variety of functionalized gold nanoparticles, including the synthesis of gold nanospheres with tightly controlled core diameters and gold nanorods with controlled aspect ratios between 1.5 and 4.0. The absolute dimensions (i.e., the transverse diameter) of gold nanorods synthesized within the reactor can also be tailored to produce different gold nanorod shapes, including "small" gold nanorods and gold nanocubes. In addition, we show that the reactor can interface with existing purification and monitoring techniques in order to enable the high-throughput functionalization/purification of gold nanorods and real-time monitoring of gold nanoparticle products for quality control. We anticipate that this millifluidic reactor will provide the blueprint for a versatile and portable approach to the gram-scale synthesis of monodisperse, hydrophilically functionalized metal NPs that can be realized in almost any chemistry research laboratory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4135-4150
Number of pages16
JournalACS Nano
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 28 2013



  • flow synthesis
  • gold nanoparticles
  • gold nanorod
  • gram-scale
  • millifluidic reactor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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