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Title: In Situ Observation of Directed Nanoparticle Aggregation During the Synthesis of Ordered Nanoporous Metal in Soft Templates

The prevalent approach to developing new nanomaterials is a trial and error process of iteratively altering synthesis procedures and then characterizing the resulting nanostructures. This is fundamentally limited in that the growth processes that occur during synthesis can only be inferred from the final synthetic structure. Directly observing real-time nanomaterial growth provides unprecedented insight into the relationship between synthesis conditions and product evolution, and facilitates a mechanistic approach to nanomaterial development. Here we use in situ liquid stage scanning transmission electron microscopy to observe the growth of mesoporous palladium in a solvated block copolymer (BCP) template under various synthesis conditions, and ultimately determine a refined synthesis procedure that yields ordered pores. We find that at low organic solvent (tetrahydrofuran, THF) content, the BCP assembles into a rigid, cylindrical micelle array with a high degree of short-range order, but poor long-range order. Upon slowing the THF evaporation rate using a solvent-vapor anneal step, the long-range order is greatly improved. The electron beam induces nucleation of small particles in the aqueous phase around the micelles. The small particles then flocculate and grow into denser structures that surround the micelles, forming an ordered mesoporous structure. The microscope observations revealed that template disorder canmore » be addressed prior to reaction, and is not invariably induced by the growth process itself, allowing us to more quickly optimize the synthetic method. This work was conducted in the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), a national scientific user facility sponsored by DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research and located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-76RL01830. This research was funded in part by: the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers for I.A., the University of California Academic Senate and the University of California Laboratory fee research grant, the Laboratory-Directed Research and Development program at Sandia National Laboratories, and the Chemical Imaging Initiative at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Chemistry of Materials, 26(3):1426-1433
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
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Country of Publication:
United States
In situ TEM; mesoporous palladium; poly(styrene-block-ethylene oxide); solvent-vapor anneal; cylindrical micelle; tetrachloropalladate; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory