Facet development during platinum nanocube growth

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Science  22 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6199, pp. 916-919
DOI: 10.1126/science.1253149

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Watching platinum nanocube growth

Size and shape drive the properties of metal nanoparticles. Understanding the factors that affect their growth is central to making use of the particles in a range of applications. Liao et al. tracked the growth of platinum nanoparticle shapes at high resolution using state-of-the-art liquid cells for in situ monitoring inside an electron microscope. The authors tracked changes in the growth rates at different crystal facets caused by differences in the mobility of the capping ligand.

Science, this issue p. 916


An understanding of how facets of a nanocrystal develop is critical for controlling nanocrystal shape and designing novel functional materials. However, the atomic pathways of nanocrystal facet development are mostly unknown because of the lack of direct observation. We report the imaging of platinum nanocube growth in a liquid cell using transmission electron microscopy with high spatial and temporal resolution. The growth rates of all low index facets are similar until the {100} facets stop growth. The continuous growth of the rest facets leads to a nanocube. Our calculation shows that the much lower ligand mobility on the {100} facets is responsible for the arresting of {100} growing facets. These findings shed light on nanocrystal shape-control mechanisms and future design of nanomaterials.

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