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Nanotechnology. 2006 Aug 28;17(16):4195-203. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/17/16/033. Epub 2006 Aug 1.

Ni(3)Si(Al)/a-SiO(x) core-shell nanoparticles: characterization, shell formation, and stability.

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ETH Zurich, Institute of Applied Physics, CH-8093, Zürich, Switzerland.


We have used an electrochemical selective phase dissolution method to extract nanoprecipitates of the Ni(3)Si-type intermetallic phase from two-phase Ni-Si and Ni-Si-Al alloys by dissolving the matrix phase. The extracted nanoparticles are characterized by transmission electron microscopy, energy-dispersive x-ray spectrometry, x-ray powder diffraction, and electron powder diffraction. It is found that the Ni(3)Si-type nanoparticles have a core-shell structure. The core maintains the size, the shape, and the crystal structure of the precipitates that existed in the bulk alloys, while the shell is an amorphous phase, containing only Si and O (SiO(x)). The shell forms around the precipitates during the extraction process. After annealing the nanoparticles in nitrogen at 700 °C, the tridymite phase recrystallizes within the shell, which remains partially amorphous. In contrast, on annealing in air at 1000 °C, no changes in the composition or the structure of the nanoparticles occur. It is suggested that the shell forms after dealloying of the matrix phase, where Si atoms, the main constituents of the shell, migrate to the surface of the precipitates.

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