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Title: Understanding the Role of Solvation Forces on the Preferential Attachment of Nanoparticles in Liquid

Optimization of colloidal nanoparticle synthesis techniques requires an understanding of underlying particle growth mechanisms. Non-classical growth mechanisms are particularly important as they affect nanoparticle size and shape distributions which in turn influence functional properties. For example, preferential attachment of nanoparticles is known to lead to the formation of mesocrystals, although the formation mechanism is currently not well understood. Here we employ in situ liquid cell scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and steered molecular dynamics (SMD) simulations to demonstrate that the experimentally observed preference for end-to-end attachment of silver nanorods is a result of weaker solvation forces occurring at rod ends. SMD reveals that when the side of a nanorod approaches another rod, perturbation in the surface bound water at the nanorod surface creates significant energy barriers to attachment. Additionally, rod morphology (i.e. facet shape) effects can explain the majority of the side attachment effects that are observed experimentally.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1936-0851; 48583; 47296
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: ACS Nano; Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 1
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
molecular dynamics; simulation; single particle tracking; in situ microscopy; silver; nanorod; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory