Langmuir, Vol.36, No.37, 11110-11116, 2020
In Situ and Real-Time Monitoring of Nanoparticle Formation in Microemulsion by Means of Dielectric Spectroscopy
Dielectric spectroscopy was employed, for the first time, to monitor the formation process of silica nanoparticles in a nonionic surfactant-based microemulsion in situ and in real time. Two dominant relaxations were observed in the frequency range of 1 MHz-3 GHz during this process. The relaxation at the lower frequency range was confirmed to be mainly ascribed to interfacial polarization, whose relaxation parameters, together with the electrical property of the synthesis system, were used to characterize the evolution of this dynamic formation process. Four evolution stages are distinctively revealed, including an induction stage, a nucleation dominant stage, an early particle growth stage, and a late growth stage. The dynamic features at each evolution stages were discussed in terms of the dielectric characteristics of the system. It is strongly suggested that dielectric spectroscopy is an effective tool for the in situ mechanistic study of nanoparticle formation in microemulsion.