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Ligand-Dependent Coalescence Behaviors of Gold Nanoparticles Studied by Multichamber Graphene Liquid Cell Transmission Electron Microscopy

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posted on 13.11.2020, 19:04 by Yuna Bae, Kitaek Lim, Seulwoo Kim, Dohun Kang, Byung Hyo Kim, Joodeok Kim, Sungsu Kang, Sungho Jeon, JunBeom Cho, Won Bo Lee, Won Chul Lee, Jungwon Park
The formation mechanism of colloidal nanoparticles is complex because significant nonclassical pathways coexist with the conventional nucleation and growth processes. Particularly, the coalescence of the growing clusters determines the final morphology and crystallinity of the synthesized nanoparticles. However, the experimental investigation of the coalescence mechanism is a challenge because the process is highly kinetic and correlates with surface ligands that dynamically modify the surface energy and the interparticle interactions of nanoparticles. Here, we employ quantitative in situ TEM with multichamber graphene liquid cell to observe the coalescence processes occurring in the synthesis of gold nanoparticles in different ligand systems, thus affording us an insight into their ligand-dependent coalescence kinetics. The analyses of numerous liquid-phase TEM trajectories of the coalescence and MD simulations of the ligand shells demonstrate that enhanced ligand mobility, employing a heterogeneous ligand mixture, results in the rapid nanoparticle pairing approach and a fast post-merging structural relaxation.