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Morphological Evolution of Cu2O Nanocrystals in an Acid Solution: Stability of Different Crystal Planes

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journal contribution
posted on 18.01.2011, 00:00 by Qing Hua, Daili Shang, Wenhua Zhang, Kai Chen, Sujie Chang, Yunsheng Ma, Zhiquan Jiang, Jinlong Yang, Weixin Huang
The morphological evolution of uniform Cu2O nanocrystals with different morphologies in a weak acetic acid solution (pH = 3.5) has been studied for cubic, octahedral, rhombic dodecahedral, {100} truncated octahedral, and {110} truncated octahedral nanocrystals. Cu2O nanocrystals undergo oxidative dissolution in weak acid solution, but their morphological changes depend on the exposed crystal planes. We found that the stability of Cu2O crystal planes in weak acid solution follows the order of {100} ≫ {111} > {110} and determines how the morphology of Cu2O nanocrystals evolves. The stable {100} crystal planes remain, and new {100} facets form at the expense of the less stable {111} and {110} crystal planes on the surface of Cu2O nanocrystals. Density functional theory calculations reveal that the Cu−O bond on Cu2O(100) surface has the shortest bond length. These results clearly exemplify that the morphology of inorganic crystals will evolve with the change of local chemical environment, shedding light on fundamentally understanding the morphological evolution of natural minerals and providing novel insights into the geomimetic synthesis of inorganic materials in the laboratory.