A novel type of submicrometer-sized hybrid microgels containing gold nano-particles (AuNPs) has been tested as catalyst in reduction of 4-nitrophenol in aqueous medium. The influence of microgel concentration, gold content, as well as temperature of reaction medium on kinetics of 4-nitrophenol reduction process has been investigated. The pseudo-first-order kinetics was used to evaluate the catalytic reaction rate. It has been demonstrated that reaction rate of 4-nitrophenol reduction can be accelerated if the concentration of microgel in the reaction system or amount of gold nanoparticles loaded into microgels increases. Increase of reaction temperature resulted in rapid increase of reduction rate. Compared to pure gold nano-particles hybrid microgels at similar conditions reduce the activation energy of reduction process by a factor of 2. This indicates that localization of AuNPs within microgel template prevents their aggregation and therefore high catalytic activity can be preserved independently from reaction conditions. Additionally, polymeric template provides suitable environment for better mass transfer in present system that improves the catalyst efficiency.
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