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Converting Metals into Phosphides:  A General Strategy for the Synthesis of Metal Phosphide Nanocrystals

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journal contribution
posted on 21.02.2007, 00:00 by Amanda E. Henkes, Yolanda Vasquez, Raymond E. Schaak
Nanocrystals of metal phosphides, which can have useful catalytic, electronic, and magnetic properties, are known to be accessible by using trioctylphosphine (TOP) as a highly reactive phosphorus source. Here we report a general strategy for synthesizing transition metal phosphides, including those with 4d and 5d transition metals that have not previously been reported as unsupported nanocrystals. Unlike previously reported methods that involve direct decomposition of organometallic precursors, our method utilizes preformed metal nanoparticles as templates for generating metal phosphide nanocrystals. Metal nanoparticles are reacted with TOP in a hot solvent (290−360 °C) to form transition metal phosphides such as Ni2P, PtP2, Rh2P, PdP2, Pd5P2, and Au2P3. Furthermore, nanostructures such as hollow spheres can be easily made using a Kirkendall-type mechanism, which utilizes metal nanoparticles as reactive templates.