Research Highlights

doi:10.1038/nindia.2016.45 Published online 6 April 2016

Neem leaves to make platinum nanoparticles

By using neem leaf extract, researchers have produced platinum nanoparticles from chloroplatinic acid1. This method is an eco-friendly way to make platinum nanoparticles, which are potentially useful in the bioelectronics and chemical industries.

Nanoparticles of noble metals such as gold, silver and platinum are widely used to fabricate electronic and biomedical devices. Since toxic chemicals are employed in the synthesis of these nanoparticles, they can be harmful to human health.

To devise a safe way to synthesize platinum nanoparticles, the researchers prepared neem leaf extract by dissolving finely cut dried neem leaves in deionized water. They then added the extract to chloroplatinic acid solutions, which changed colour from light yellow to black on heating, indicating the formation of platinum nanoparticles.

The nanoparticles were between 5 and 50 nanometres in diameter. The rate of platinum nanoparticle synthesis increased with increasing reaction temperature.

The plant extracts contained various organic compounds such as terpenoids that aided nanoparticle synthesis. Terpenoids are surface-active molecules that helped to stabilize the nanoparticles.

This process is a very simple and cost-effective method for making platinum nanoparticles that can be used in various medicinal and catalytic applications.


References

1. Thirumurugan, A. et al. Green synthesis of platinum nanoparticles using Azadirachta indica — an eco-friendly approach. Mater. Lett. 170, 175–178 (2016)