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Size-Dependent Transition to High-Symmetry Chiral Structures in AgCu, AgCo, AgNi, and AuNi Nanoalloys

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journal contribution
posted on 13.10.2010, 00:00 by Davide Bochicchio, Riccardo Ferrando
A class of nanomaterials possessing the highest degree of chiral symmetry, the chiral icosahedral symmetry, is found by a combination of global optimization searches and first-principle calculations. These nanomaterials are core−shell nanoalloys with a Cu, Ni, or Co core and a chiral Ag or Au shell of monatomic thickness. The chiral shell is obtained by a transformation of an anti-Mackay icosahedral shell by a concerted rotation of triangular atomic islands which breaks all mirror symmetries. This transformation becomes energetically favorable as the cluster size increases. Other chiral nanoalloys, belonging to a different structural family of C5 group symmetry, are found in the size range between 100 and 200 atoms. High-symmetry chiral nanoalloys associate strong energetic stability with potential for applications in optics, catalysis, and magnetism.