Surface area and pore size characteristics of nanoporous gold subjected to thermal, mechanical, or surface modification studied using gas adsorption isotherms, cyclic voltammetry, thermogravimetric analysis, and scanning electron microscopy

J Mater Chem. 2012;22(14):6733-6745. doi: 10.1039/C2JM16633J. Epub 2012 Feb 27.


Nitrogen adsorption/desorption isotherms are used to investigate the Brunauer, Emmett, and Teller (BET) surface area and Barrett-Joyner-Halenda (BJH) pore size distribution of physically modified, thermally annealed, and octadecanethiol functionalized np-Au monoliths. We present the full adsorption-desorption isotherms for N(2) gas on np-Au, and observe type IV isotherms and type H1 hysteresis loops. The evolution of the np-Au under various thermal annealing treatments was examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The images of both the exterior and interior of the thermally annealed np-Au show that the porosity of all free standing np-Au structures decreases as the heat treatment temperature increases. The modification of the np-Au surface with a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) of C(18)-SH (coverage of 2.94 × 10(14) molecules cm(-2) based from the decomposition of the C(18)-SH using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA)), was found to reduce the strength of the interaction of nitrogen gas with the np-Au surface, as reflected by a decrease in the 'C' parameter of the BET equation. From cyclic voltammetry studies, we found that the surface area of the np-Au monoliths annealed at elevated temperatures followed the same trend with annealing temperature as found in the BET surface area study and SEM morphology characterization. The study highlights the ability to control free-standing nanoporous gold monoliths with high surface area, and well-defined, tunable pore morphology.