Gold and silver salt mixtures are incorporated in ceramic glazes for in situ development of mixtures of gold and silver nanoparticles (NPs) that subsequently allow for a wide spectrum of low metal loading color control within ceramic materials. Prior work has shown that gold NPs can be used to create vibrant, color-rich red pigments in high-temperature ceramic and glass applications, though the achievable diameter of the gold NP ultimately limits the available range of color. The current study significantly expands color control from traditional gold nanoparticle red through silver nanoparticle green via the alteration of gold-to-silver salt ratios incorporated in the glaze formulations prior to sintering. Nanoparticle-based coloring systems are tested in both oxidative and reductive firing atmospheres. While the oxidation environment is found to be prohibitive for silver NP stability, the reductive atmosphere is able to form and sustain mixtures of gold and silver NPs across a wide color spectrum. All glazes are analyzed via reflectance spectrometry for color performance and samples are characterized via TEM and EDS for composition and sizing trends. This study creates new groundwork for a color-controlled NP system based on noble metal ratio blends that are both nontoxic and achieved with radically lower metal pigment loading than traditional glazes.
Keywords: ceramic glaze; coatings; color; gold salt; noble metal nanoparticles; oxidation; pigments; reduction; silver salt; surface plasmon.