Photothermal conversion (PTC) nanostructures have great potential for applications in many fields, and therefore, they have attracted tremendous attention. However, the construction of a PTC nanoreactor with multi-compartment structure to achieve the combination of unique chemical properties and structural feature is still challenging due to the synthetic difficulties. Herein, we designed and synthesized a catalytically active, PTC gold (Au)@polydopamine (PDA) nanoreactor driven by infrared irradiation using assembled PS-b-P2VP nanosphere as soft template. The particles exhibit multi-compartment structure which is revealed by 3D electron tomography characterization technique. They feature permeable shells with tunable shell thickness. Full kinetics for the reduction reaction of 4-nitrophenol has been investigated using these particles as nanoreactors and compared with other reported systems. Notably, a remarkable acceleration of the catalytic reaction upon near-infrared irradiation is demonstrated, which reveals for the first time the importance of the synergistic effect of photothermal conversion and complex inner structure to the kinetics of the catalytic reduction. The ease of synthesis and fresh insights into catalysis will promote a new platform for novel nanoreactor studies.
Keywords: 3D tomography; Catalysis; Gold@polydopamine; Nanoreactor; Photothermal conversion.