4.8 Article

In Situ X-ray Scattering Guides the Synthesis of Uniform PtSn Nanocrystals


Volume 18, Issue 6, Pages 4053-4057


DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b02024


X-ray scattering; in situ; bimetallic; colloidal nanocrystals; phase transformation


  1. US Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Advanced Manufacturing Office [FWP 100250]
  2. DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences [DE-AC02-76SF00515]
  3. DOE Office of Sciences, Office of Basic Energy Sciences
  4. School of Engineering at Stanford University
  5. Terman Faculty Fellowship
  6. National Science Foundation [ECCS-1542152]

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Compared to monometallic nanocrystals (NCs), bimetallic ones often exhibit superior properties due to their wide tunability in structure and composition. A detailed understanding of their synthesis at the atomic scale provides crucial knowledge for their rational design. Here, exploring the Pt-Sn bimetallic system as an example, we study in detail the synthesis of PtSn NCs using in situ synchrotron X-ray scattering. We show that when Pt(II) and Sn(IV) precursors are used, in contrast to a typical simultaneous reduction mechanism, the PtSn NCs are formed through an initial reduction of Pt(II) to form Pt NCs, followed by the chemical transformation from Pt to PtSn. The kinetics derived from the in situ measurements shows fast diffusion of Sn into the Pt lattice accompanied by reordering of these atoms into intermetallic PtSn structure within 300 s at the reaction temperature (similar to 280 degrees C). This crucial mechanistic understanding enables the synthesis of well-defined PtSn NCs with controlled structure and composition via a seed-mediated approach. This type of in situ characterization can be extended to other multicomponent nanostructures to advance their rational synthesis for practical applications.


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