Real-Time Imaging of Pt3Fe Nanorod Growth in Solution

Science  25 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6084, pp. 1011-1014
DOI: 10.1126/science.1219185

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The growth of colloidal nanocrystal architectures by nanoparticle attachment is frequently reported as an alternative to the conventional growth by monomer attachment. However, the mechanism whereby nanoparticle attachment proceeds microscopically remains unclear. We report real-time transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging of the solution growth of Pt3Fe nanorods from nanoparticle building blocks. Observations revealed growth of winding polycrystalline nanoparticle chains by shape-directed nanoparticle attachment followed by straightening and orientation and shape corrections to yield single-crystal nanorods. Tracking nanoparticle growth trajectories allowed us to distinguish the force fields exerted by single nanoparticles and nanoparticle chains. Such quantification of nanoparticle interaction and understanding the growth pathways are important for the design of hierarchical nanomaterials and controlling nanocrystal self-assembly for functional devices.

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