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Nat Mater. 2012 Nov;11(11):930-5. doi: 10.1038/nmat3462. Epub 2012 Oct 21.

Atomic-scale determination of surface facets in gold nanorods.

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Electron Microscopy for Materials Research (EMAT), University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, 2020 Antwerp, Belgium.


It is widely accepted that the physical properties of nanostructures depend on the type of surface facets. For Au nanorods, the surface facets have a major influence on crucial effects such as reactivity and ligand adsorption and there has been controversy regarding facet indexing. Aberration-corrected electron microscopy is the ideal technique to study the atomic structure of nanomaterials. However, these images correspond to two-dimensional (2D) projections of 3D nano-objects, leading to an incomplete characterization. Recently, much progress was achieved in the field of atomic-resolution electron tomography, but it is still far from being a routinely used technique. Here we propose a methodology to measure the 3D atomic structure of free-standing nanoparticles, which we apply to characterize the surface facets of Au nanorods. This methodology is applicable to a broad range of nanocrystals, leading to unique insights concerning the connection between the structure and properties of nanostructures.


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