Atomic Resolution Imaging of Gold Nanoparticle Generation and Growth in Ionic Liquids
journal contributionposted on 01.10.2014, 00:00 by Taro Uematsu, Masahiro Baba, Yoshifumi Oshima, Tetsuya Tsuda, Tsukasa Torimoto, Susumu Kuwabata
Recent advances in in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques have provided unprecedented knowledge of chemical reactions from a microscopic viewpoint. To introduce volatile liquids, in which chemical reactions take place, use of sophisticated tailor-made fluid cells is a usual method. Herein, a very simple method is presented, which takes advantage of nonvolatile ionic liquids without any fluid cell. This method is successfully employed to investigate the essential steps in the generation of gold nanoparticles as well as the growth kinetics of individual particles. The ionic liquids that we select do not exhibit any anomalous effects on the reaction process as compared with recent in situ TEM studies using conventional solvents. Thus, obtained TEM movies largely support not only classical theory of nanoparticle generation but also some nonconventional phenomena that have been expected recently by some researchers. More noteworthy is the clear observation of lattice fringes by high-resolution TEM even in the ionic liquid media, providing intriguing information correlating coalescence with crystal states. The relaxation of nanoparticle shape and crystal structure after the coalescence is investigated in detail. The effect of crystal orientation upon coalescence is also analyzed and discussed.