Colloidal and Deposited Products of the Interaction of Tetrachloroauric Acid with Hydrogen Selenide and Hydrogen Sulfide in Aqueous Solutions

Vorobyev, Sergey; Likhatski, Maxim; Romanchenko, Alexander; Maksimov, Nikolai; Zharkov, Sergey; Krylov, Alexander; Mikhlin, Yuri Source: MINERALS, 8 (11):10.3390/min8110492 NOV 2018

The reactions of aqueous gold complexes with H2Se and H2S are important for transportation and deposition of gold in nature and for synthesis of AuSe-based nanomaterials but are scantily understood. Here, we explored species formed at different proportions of HAuCl4, H2Se and H2S at room temperature using in situ UV-vis spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta-potential measurement and ex situ Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and Raman spectroscopy. Metal gold colloids arose at the molar ratios H2Se(H2S)/HAuCl4 less than 2. At higher ratios, pre-nucleation “dense liquid” species having the hydrodynamic diameter of 20–40 nm, zeta potential −40 mV to −50 mV, and the indirect band gap less than 1 eV derived from the UV-vis spectra grow into submicrometer droplets over several hours, followed by fractional nucleation in the interior and coagulation of disordered gold chalcogenide. XPS found only one Au+ site (Au 4f7/2 at 85.4 eV) in deposited AuSe, surface layers of which partially decomposed yielding Au0 nanoparticles capped with elemental selenium. The liquid species became less dense, the gap approached 2 eV, and gold chalcogenide destabilized towards the decomposition with increasing H2S content. Therefore, the reactions proceed via the non-classical mechanism involving “dense droplets” of supersaturated solution and produce AuSe1−xSx/Au nanocomposites.