Prussian Blue Synthesis Essay

Introduction

Prussian blue is a dark blue pigment with the formula Fe4[Fe(CN)6]3. Another name for it is Berlin Blue, or sometimes in painting, Parisian Blue. It was one of the first synthetic pigments used by humans.  It is employed as a very fine colloidal dispersion, as the compound itself is not soluble in water. In medicine, Prussian blue is used as an antidote for certain kinds of heavy metal poisoning, e.g., by cesium and thallium. In particular it was used to absorb 137Cs+ from those poisoned in the Goiania accident. Prussian Blue is orally administered. The therapy exploits Prussian Blue’s ion exchange properties and high affinity for certain “soft” metal cations. Here is the molecular structure of a colloidal dispersion of Prussian Blue:

Objective

The preparation of Prussian blue in the laboratory and trying to separate it by heating and filtration.

Necessary materials

Laboratory tools: 1 beaker, 2 test tubes, 1 crucible, 1 asbestos sieve with tripod, 1 filter, 1 filtrating installation

Chemical substances: K4[Fe(CN)6] crystals, FeCl3 sollution (or any other Fe(III) sollution)

Method of working

Prepare 200 ml of FeCl3 in the beaker. FeCl3 has a reddish-yellow colour and looks like this:

Then prepare two K4[Fe(CN)6] sollution by dissolving 10 mg of potassium ferrocyanide into 20 ml water in each test tube. Put enough FeCl3 for the precipitate to appear in both test tubes. The change of colour is immediate:

The chemical equation on which the reaction is based is:

 4 FeCl3 + 3 K4[Fe(CN)6] -> Fe4[Fe(CN)6] + 12 KCl

Put the sollution from one of the test tubes in the crucible. Light the Bunsen burner, put it below the tripod and put the crucible on the asbestos sieve. Let it heat for a few minutes and then observe the solid formed:

Prepare the filtering installation and then put the sollution from the second test tube on the beaker.

As you see, Prussian blue is perfectly insolluble in water, the only thing that is filtered being the FeCl3 sollution that was used a bit too much:

After the sollution was almost filtered, i let a small drop of water and played with it on the filter, creating an abstract chemical painting with this wonderful colour:

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Prussian Blue-Derived Synthesis of Hollow Porous Iron Pyrite Nanoparticles as Platinum-Free Counter Electrodes for Highly Efficient Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Authors

  • Jeffrey E. Chen,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
    2. Department of NanoEngineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
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  • Miao-Syuan Fan,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Yen-Lin Chen,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Yu-Heng Deng,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Prof. Jung Ho Kim,

    1. Australian Institute for Innovative Materials (AIIM), University of Wollongong, North Wollongong, NSW, Australia
    2. International Research Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA), National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Ibaraki, Japan
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  • Prof. Hatem R. Alamri,

    1. Physics Department, Jamoum University College, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
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  • Prof. Zeid A. Alothman,

    1. Advanced Materials Research Chair, Chemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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  • Prof. Yusuke Yamauchi,

    1. Australian Institute for Innovative Materials (AIIM), University of Wollongong, North Wollongong, NSW, Australia
    2. International Research Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA), National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Ibaraki, Japan
    3. Advanced Materials Research Chair, Chemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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  • Prof. Kuo-Chuan Ho,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Prof. Kevin C.-W. Wu

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
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Abstract

Invited for the cover of this issue is the group of Kuo-Chuan Ho and Kevin C.-W. Wu at the National Taiwan University. The image depicts the hollow porous iron pyrite nanoparticles which are deposited on the conducting substrate as the counter electrode (CE) in a dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC). Iron pyrite, with a hollow porous structure, offers a high surface area for the reduction of the triiodide ions. The DSSC directly converts the sunlight into electric power, which could power the flashlight without pollution. It is expected that the DSSC will emerge as a new class of low cost energy conversion device. Read the full text of the article at10.1002/chem.201702687.

What was the biggest challenge on the way to the results presented in this paper?

Control of both the morphology and the purity of iron pyrite is still lacking, thus a new method for synthesizing hollow porous iron pyrite nanoparticles is proposed. Hollow porous iron pyrite nanoparticles were synthesized by sulfurization of iron oxide derived from Prussian blue (PB). By using PB, the desired structures can be synthesized and the purity controlled.

What is the most significant result of this study?

The hollow porous iron pyrite nanoparticles were successfully synthesized from the conversion of Prussian blue. The proposed method, using Prussian blue, allows both the morphology and the purity of iron pyrite to be tailored, thus providing a useful tool for synthesizing iron pyrite nanoparticles.

How did the collaboration on this project start?

The precursor, hollow porous Prussian blue, has already been of interest for conversion into iron pyrite. An application of the iron pyrite is necessary to demonstrate the additional advantage of the hollow and porous morphology. Counter electrodes for dye-sensitized solar cells are one application where iron pyrite has shown promise. Thus we decided to collaborate to demonstrate its enhanced efficiency in dye-sensitized solar cells in addition to synthesizing the hollow porous iron pyrite nanoparticles.

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Article Information

DOI

10.1002/chem.201703339

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