Nonepitaxial Growth of Hybrid Core-Shell Nanostructures with Large Lattice Mismatches

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Science  26 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5973, pp. 1634-1638
DOI: 10.1126/science.1184769

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Perfect Mismatch

Heteroepitaxy, or the overgrowth of one crystalline material onto a second crystalline material, is a key fabrication method for making thin films and nanoparticles. But if the lattice mismatch between the two materials is too large or messy, fractured interfaces result. Zhang et al. (p. 1634) describe a synthesis strategy to obtain spherical nanoparticles with a core-shell architecture that does not depend on heteroepitaxy. Silver was deposited and converted to various semiconductors through a series of chemical transformations to yield structurally perfect single-crystal semiconductor shells on a gold core, despite mismatches approaching 50%.


We report a synthetic route to achieving nanoscale heterostructures consisting of a metal core and monocrystalline semiconductor shell with substantial lattice mismatches between them, which cannot be obtained by conventional epitaxial techniques. By controlling soft acid-base coordination reactions between molecular complexes and colloidal nanostructures, we show that chemical thermodynamics can drive nanoscale monocrystalline growth of the semiconductor shell with a lattice structure incommensurate with that of the core. More complex hybrid core-shell structures with azimuthal and radial nanotailoring of structures and compositions of the monocrystalline semiconductor shell are also demonstrated.

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