In this paper, a multifunctional Fe3O4@SiO2@PEI-Au/Ag@PDA nanocomposite catalyst with highly stabilized reactivity and magnetic recyclability was synthesized by a self-assembled method. The magnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles were coated with a thin layer of the SiO2 to obtain a negatively charged surface. Then positively charged poly(ethyleneimine) polymer (PEI) was self-assembled onto the Fe3O4@SiO2 by electrostatic interaction. Next, negatively charged glutathione capped gold nanoparticles (GSH-AuNPs) were electrostatically self-assembled onto the Fe3O4@SiO2@PEI. After that, silver was grown on the surface of the nanocomposite due to the reduction of the dopamine in the alkaline solution. An about 5 nm thick layer of polydopamine (PDA) was observed to form the Fe3O4@SiO2@PEI-Au/Ag@PDA nanocomposite. The Fe3O4@SiO2@PEI-Au/Ag@PDA nanocomposite was carefully characterized by the SEM, TEM, FT-IR, XRD and so on. The Fe3O4@SiO2@PEI-Au/Ag@PDA nanocomposite shows a high saturation magnetization (Ms) of 48.9 emu/g, which allows it to be attracted rapidly to a magnet. The Fe3O4@SiO2@PEI-Au/Ag@PDA nanocomposite was used to catalyze the reduction of p-nitrophenol (4-NP) to p-aminophenol (4-AP) as a model system. The reaction kinetic constant k was measured to be about 0.56 min-1 (R2 = 0.974). Furthermore, the as-prepared catalyst can be easily recovered and reused for 8 times, which didn't show much decrease of the catalytic capability.
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