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Author ORCID ID is 0000000263927589
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  1. Atoms in many of the increasingly complex nanosized materials of interest to science and technology do not necessarily occupy the vertices of Bravais lattices. The atomic scale structure of such materials is difficult to determine by traditional X-ray diffraction and so their functional properties remain difficult to optimize by rational design. Here, the three-dimensional structure of Pt xPd 100–x nanoalloy particles is determined, where x = 0, 14, 36, 47, 64 and 100, by a non-traditional technique involving differential resonant high-energy X-ray diffraction experiments conducted at the K edge of Pt and Pd. The technique is coupled with three-dimensional modelingmore » guided by the experimental total and element-specific atomic pair distribution functions. Furthermore, using DFT (density functional theory) calculation based on the positions of atoms in the obtained three-dimensional structure models, the catalytic performance of Pt–Pd particles is explained. Furthermore, differential resonant high-energy X-ray diffraction is shown to be an excellent tool for three-dimensional structure studies of nanosized materials. The experimental and modeling procedures are described in good detail, to facilitate their wider usage.« less
  2. A major challenge for the design of noble metal nanocatalysts is the ability of surface engineering to enhance the activity and stability with minimum use of the noble metals.
    Cited by 1
  3. Colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals are commonly grown with a shell of a second semiconductor material to obtain desired physical properties, such as increased photoluminescence quantum yield. However, the growth of a lattice-mismatched shell results in strain within the nanocrystal, and this strain has the potential to produce crystalline defects. Here in this paper, we study CdSe/CdS core/shell nanorods as a model system to investigate the influence of core size and shape on the formation of stacking faults in the nanocrystal. Using a combination of high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy and pair-distribution-function analysis of synchrotron X-ray scattering, we show thatmore » growth of the CdS shell on smaller, spherical CdSe cores results in relatively small strain and few stacking faults. By contrast, growth of the shell on larger, prolate spheroidal cores leads to significant strain in the CdS lattice, resulting in a high density of stacking faults.« less
  4. Here, we present results from combined in situ infrared spectroscopy and total X-ray scattering studies on the evolution of catalytically active sites in exemplary binary and ternary Pt-based nanoalloys during a sequence of CO oxidation–reactivation–CO oxidation reactions. We find that when within a particular compositional range, the fresh nanoalloys may exhibit high catalytic activity for low-temperature CO oxidation. Using surface-specific atomic pair distribution functions (PDFs) extracted from the in situ total X-ray scattering data, we find that, regardless of their chemical composition and initial catalytic activity, the fresh nanoalloys suffer a significant surface structural disorder during CO oxidation. Upon reactivationmore » in oxygen atmosphere, the surface of used nanoalloy catalysts both partially oxidizes and orders. Remarkably, it largely retains its structural state when the nanoalloys are reused as CO oxidation catalysts. The seemingly inverse structural changes of studied nanoalloy catalysts occurring under CO oxidation and reactivation conditions affect the active sites on their surface significantly. In particular, through different mechanisms, both appear to reduce the CO binding strength to the nanoalloy’s surface and thus increase the catalytic stability of the nanoalloys. The findings provide clues for further optimization of nanoalloy catalysts for the oxidation of carbonaceous species through optimizing their composition, activation, and reactivation. Besides, the findings demonstrate the usefulness of combined in situ infrared spectroscopy and total X-ray scattering coupled to surface-specific atomic PDF analysis to the ongoing effort to produce advanced catalysts for environmentally and technologically important applications.« less
  5. Unlike the more established lithium-ion based energy storage chemistries, the complex intercalation chemistry of multivalent cations in a host lattice is not well understood, especially the relationship between the intercalating species solution chemistry and the prevalence and type of side reactions. Among multivalent metals, a promising model system can be based on nonaqueous Zn 2+ ion chemistry. There are several examples of these systems support the use of a Zn metal anode, and reversible intercalation cathodes have been reported. Our study utilizes a combination of analytical tools to probe the chemistry of a nanostructured δ-MnO 2 cathode in association withmore » a nonaqueous acetonitrile–Zn(TFSI) 2 electrolyte and a Zn metal anode. As many of the issues related to understanding a multivalent battery relate to the electrolyte–electrode interface, the high surface area of a nanostructured cathode provides a significant interface between the electrolyte and cathode host that maximizes the spectroscopic signal of any side reactions or minor mechanistic pathways. There are numerous factors affecting capacity fade and issues associated with the second phase formation including Mn dissolution in heavily cycled Zn/δ-MnO 2 cells are presented including dramatic mechanistic differences in the storage mechanism of this couple when compared to similar aqueous electrolytes are noted.« less
  6. The surface atomic structure of metallic nanoparticles (NPs) plays a key role in shaping their physicochemical properties and response to external stimuli. Not surprisingly, current research increasingly focuses on exploiting its prime characteristics, including the amount, location, coordination, and electronic configuration of distinct surface atomic species, as tunable parameters for improving the functionality of metallic NPs in practical applications. The effort requires clear understanding of the extent to which changes in each of these characteristics would contribute to achieving the targeted functionality. This, in the first place, requires good knowledge of the actual surface of metallic NPs at atomic level.more » Through a case study on Au–Pd nanoalloy catalysts of industrial and environmental importance, we demonstrate that the surface atomic structure of metallic NPs can be determined in good detail by resonant high-energy X-ray diffraction (HE-XRD). Furthermore, using our experimental surface structure and CO oxidation activity data, we shed new light on the elusive origin of the remarkable catalytic synergy between surface Au and Pd atoms in the nanoalloys. In particular, we show that it arises from the formation of a specific “skin” on top of the nanoalloys that involves as many unlike, i.e., Au–Pd and Pd–Au, atomic pairs as possible given the overall chemical composition of the NPs. Moreover, unlike atoms from the “skin” interact strongly, including both changing their size and electronic structure in inverse proportions. That is, Au atoms shrink and acquire a partial positive charge of 5d-character whereas Pd atoms expand and become somewhat 4d-electron deficient. Accordingly, the reactivity of Au increases whereas Pd atoms become less reactive, as compared to atoms at the surface of pure Au and Pd NPs, respectively. Ultimately, this renders Au–Pd alloy NPs superb catalysts for CO oxidation reaction over a broad range of alloy compositions. Our findings are corroborated by DFT calculations based on a refined version of d-band center theory on the catalytic properties of late transition metals and alloys. Here, we discuss opportunities for improving the accuracy of current theory on surface-controlled properties of metallic NPs through augmenting the theory with surface structure data obtained by resonant XRD.« less

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