Nature materials

Heterogeneous nucleation and shape transformation of multicomponent metallicxa0nanostructures.

PMID 25362354


To be able to control the functions of engineered multicomponent nanomaterials, a detailed understanding of heterogeneous nucleation at the nanoscale is essential. Here, by using in situ synchrotron X-ray scattering, we show that in the heterogeneous nucleation and growth of Au on Pt or Pt-alloy seeds the heteroepitaxial growth of the Au shell exerts high stress (∼2 GPa) on the seed by forming a core/shell structure in the early stage of the reaction. The development of lattice strain and subsequent strain relaxation, which we show using atomic-resolution transmission electron microscopy to occur through the slip of {111} layers, induces morphological changes from a core/shell to a dumbbell structure, and governs the nucleation and growth kinetics. We also propose a thermodynamic model for the nucleation and growth of dumbbell metallic heteronanostructures.