Corresponding Author

Yu-jiang SONG(yjsong@dlut.edu.cn)


Due to interesting size effect, physical and chemical properties, nano-scale gold materials have been commonly used to catalytic reactions. However, the application of gold nanomaterials in the field of electrocatalysis is limited. Herein, we report the synthesis of gold nanparticles supported on carbon through chemical reduction of HAuCl4 by NaBH4 under mild conditions in the presence of surfactants as soft templates, carbon black or graphene as a support. We investigated a series of key reaction parameters, including reagent concentration, temperature, the types of carbon supports and surfactants. With the optimum synthetic parameters, we successfully obtained supported 1 ~ 4 nm gold particles. In addition, we found that the heat treatment could effectively remove such a surfactant as Brij35. The purified electrocatalysts demonstrated electrocatalytic activities toward both oxygen reduction reaction and alcohol oxidation reaction.

Graphical Abstract


synthesis, supported gold nanoparticles, electrocatalysis

Publication Date


Online Available Date


Revised Date


Received Date



[1] Bond G C, Thompson D T. Catalysis by gold[J]. Catalysis Reviews-Science and Engineering, 1999, 41(3/4): 319-388.

[2] Haruta M. Catalysis - gold rush[J]. Nature, 2005, 437(7062): 1098-1099.

[3] Yongprapat S, Therdthianwong A, Therdthianwong S. Au/C catalyst prepared by polyvinyl alcohol protection method for direct alcohol alkaline exchange membrane fuel cell application[J]. Journal of Applied Electrochemistry, 2012, 42(7): 483-490.

[4] Rao C V, Cabrera C R, Ishikawa Y. Graphene-supported Pt-Au alloy nanoparticles: A highly efficient anode for direct formic acid fuel cells[J]. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2011, 115(44): 21963-21970.

[5] Kwon Y, Schouten K J P, Koper M T M. Mechanism of the catalytic oxidation of glycerol on polycrystalline gold and platinum electrodes[J]. ChemCatChem, 2011, 3(7): 1176-1185.

[6] Gong J L, Flaherty D W, Yan T, et al. Selective oxidation of propanol on Au(111): Mechanistic insights into aerobic oxidation of alcohols[J]. ChemPhysChem, 2008, 9(17): 2461-2466.

[7] Lin J N, Wan B Z. Effects of preparation conditions on gold/Y-type zeolite for CO oxidation[J]. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 2003, 41(1/2): 83-95.

[8] Carabineiro S A C, Martins L M D R S, Avalos-Borja M, et al. Gold nanoparticles supported On carbon materials for cyclohexane oxidation with hydrogen peroxide[J]. Applied Catalysis A: General, 2013, 467: 279-290.

[9] Yan S H, Gao L Z, Zhang S C, et al. Synthesis of Au/C catalyst with high electrooxidation activity[J]. Electrochimica Acta, 2013, 94: 159-164.

[10] Avramovivic M L, Leger J M, Lamy C, et al. The electrooxidation of glycerol on the gold(100)-oriented single-crystal surface and polycrystalline surface in 0.1 M NaOH[J]. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 1991, 308(1/2): 309-317.

[11] Hong W J, Bai H, Xu Y X, et al. Preparation of gold nanoparticle/graphene composites with controlled weight contents and their application in biosensors[J]. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2010, 114(4): 1822-1826.

[12] Xie Y, Li H Q, Tang C Z, et al. A high-performance electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction based on reduced graphene oxide modified with oxide nanoparticles, nitrogen dopants, and possible metal-N-C sites[J]. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 2014, 2(6): 1631-1635.

[13] Si W F, Li J, Li H Q, et al. Light-controlled synthesis of uniform platinum nanodendrites with markedly enhanced electrocatalytic activity[J]. Nano Research, 2013, 6(10): 720-725.

[14] Li S S, Li H Q, Zhang Y S, et al. One-step synthesis of carbon-supported foam-like platinum with enhanced activity and durability[J]. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 2015, 3(43): 21562-21568.

[15] Xie Y, Tang C Z, Wang A J, et al. Self-assembled nanoporous hemin with high density of ordered active sites and large surface area for oxygen reduction reaction[J]. Faraday Discuss, 2014, 176: 393-408.

[16] Li H Q, Yao R, Wang D, et al. Facile synthesis of carbon supported Pd3Au@super-thin Pt core/shell electrocatalyst with a remarkable activity for oxygen reduction[J]. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2015, 119(8): 4052-4061.

[17] Li S S, Liu H Y, Wang Y, et al. Controlled synthesis of high metal loading electrocatalysts with significantly enhanced activity and durability toward oxygen reduction reaction[J]. RSC Advances, 2015, 5(12): 8787-8792.

[18] Li L(李莉), Wei Z D(魏子栋). Electrochemical catalysis: A DFT study[J]. Journal of Electrochemistry(电化学), 2014, 20(4): 307-315.

[19] Nguyen T G H, Pham T V A, Phuong T X, et al. Nano-Pt/C electrocatalysts: Synthesis and activity for alcohol oxidation[J]. Advances in Natural Sciences: Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 2013, 4: 035008.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.