Insights from In Situ Studies on the Early Stages of Platinum Nanoparticle Formation

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Understanding the formation of nanomaterials down to the atomic level is key to rational design of advanced materials. Despite their widespread use and intensive study over the years, the detailed formation mechanism of platinum (Pt) nanoparticles remains challenging to explore and rationalize. Here, various in situ characterization techniques, and in particular X-ray total scattering with pair distribution function (PDF) analysis, are used to follow the structural and chemical changes taking place during a surfactant-free synthesis of Pt nanoparticles in alkaline methanol. Polynuclear structures form at the beginning of the synthesis, and Pt-Pt pair distances are identified before any nanoparticles are generated. The structural motifs best describing the species formed change with time, e.g., from [PtCl5-PtCl5] and [PtCl6-Pt2Cl6-PtCl6] to [Pt2Cl10-Pt3Cl8-Pt2Cl10]. The formation of these polynuclear structures with Pt-Pt coordination before the formation of the nanoparticles is suggested to account for the fast nucleation observed in the synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)3224-3231
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 260739235