Kirner, Felizitas

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Self-Assembled Faceted Mesocrystals : Advances in Optimization of Growth Conditions

2021-10-06, Brunner, Julian, Maier, Britta, Kirner, Felizitas, Sturm, Sebastian, Cölfen, Helmut, Sturm, Elena V.

One aspect of the research on mesocrystals nowadays focuses on applications, whereby such applications demand mesocrystals with a tunable size. To achieve this task, more effort needs to be undertaken to understand how mesocrystals form, which parameters influence mesocrystal formation, and which kind of structure results from the nanoparticle assembly. Within this communication, we demonstrate for faceted mesocrystals assembled from iron oxide nanocubes stabilized by oleic acid that the proper choice of crystallization conditions in the gas phase diffusion setup is essential to achieve this task. The appropriate choice of substrate, dispersion and destabilizing agents, additive, nanocrystal concentration, crystallization kinetics, and duration allows growing faceted iron oxide mesocrystals with sizes ranging from a few micrometers up to almost a millimeter. By these findings supported by light and scanning electron microscopy, we show that in this system, heterogeneous nucleation is the predominant mechanism for mesocrystal formation on a solid substrate. Additionally, other surfactants than oleic acid can also act as molecular additives to support mesocrystal growth. These findings should be transferable to tune the size and quality of other self-assembled mesocrystals.

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Advances of Nonclassical Crystallization toward Self-Purification of Precious Metal Nanoparticle Mixtures

2021, Kirner, Felizitas, Sturm, Elena V.

Crystallization is a common procedure used for the purification of compounds. In this work, we use particle-mediated crystallization (i.e., “nonclassical crystallization”) to separate mixtures of core–shell (Au@Ag) nanocrystals of different size and shape into “ordered” phases (i.e., crystalline domains) with nanocrystals of similar morphology and size. The self-assembly process of the drying “coffee ring” effect and of depletion forces and the resulting superstructures are investigated. A “depletion” based technique efficiently separates nanoparticle mixtures with small differences in size (12–22%) within isolated colloidal crystals, while the “coffee ring” technique works better for nanoparticles with a bigger difference in size and shape. Besides the development of a successful approach for the self-purification of nanoparticle mixtures, this study additionally deepens our understanding on particle mediated crystallization under various conditions.

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Morphogenesis of Magnetite Mesocrystals : Interplay between Nanoparticle Morphology and Solvation Shell

2021, Brunner, Julian, Maier, Britta, Thomä, Sabrina L. J., Kirner, Felizitas, Baburin, Igor A., Rosenberg, Rose, Theiss, Sebastian, Polarz, Sebastian, Cölfen, Helmut, Sturm, Elena V.

Nanoparticle assemblies with long-range packing order and preferred crystallographic orientation of building blocks, i.e., mesocrystals, are of high interest not only because of their unique physical properties but also due to their complex structure and morphogenesis. In this study, faceted mesocrystals have been assembled from the dispersion of truncated cubic-shaped iron oxide nanoparticles stabilized by oleic acid (OA) molecules using the nonsolvent “gas phase diffusion technique” into an organic solvent. The effects of synthesis conditions as well as of the nanoparticle size and shape on the structure and morphogenesis of mesocrystals were examined. The interactions of OA-capped iron oxide nanoparticles with solvent molecules were probed by analytical ultracentrifugation and double difference pair distribution function analysis. It was shown that the structure of the organic shell significantly depends on the nature and polarity of solvent molecules. For the nonpolar solvents, the interaction of the aliphatic chains of OA molecules with the solvent molecules is favorable and the chains extend into the solvent. The solvation shell around the nanoparticles is more extended in nonpolar and more compact in polar solvents. There is a clear trend for more spherical particles to be assembled into the fcc superlattice, whereas less truncated cubes form rhombohedral and tetragonal structures. The observed changes in packing symmetry are reminiscent of structural polymorphism known for “classical” (atomic and molecular) crystals.

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Additive-controlled synthesis of monodisperse single crystalline gold nanoparticles : interplay of shape and surface plasmon resonance

2020-08-13, Kirner, Felizitas, Potapov, Pavel, Schultz, Johannes, Geppert, Jessica, Müller, Magdalena, Gonzalez-Rubio, Guillermo, Sturm, Sebastian, Lubk, Axel, Sturm, Elena V.

We introduce a three-step seed-mediated synthesis for single crystalline gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) stabilized by hexadecylpyridinium chloride (CPC) in variable sizes with an independently adjustable ratio of the cubic and octahedral facets. The effect of KBr and ascorbic acid (AA) on shape and growth kinetics is systematically investigated. The kinetic data were evaluated using the minimalistic Finke–Watzky autocatalytic two-step mechanism, which allows to estimate the rate constants of the “pseudoelementary” reactions. The proposed surface-mediated mechanism of reduction of gold ions and Au NP growth allows to explain the effect of gradual increase of bromide ion concentration on switching the Au NP morphology from cubic to octahedral. The plasmonic properties of single particles of different facetings and their assemblies are investigated.

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Exploring the 3D structure and defects of a self-assembled gold mesocrystal by coherent X-ray diffraction imaging

2021, Carnis, Jerome, Kirner, Felizitas, Lapkin, Dmitry, Sturm, Sebastian, Kim, Young Yong, Baburin, Igor A., Khubbutdinov, Ruslan, Steegemans, Tristan, Vartanyants, Ivan A., Sturm, Elena V.

Mesocrystals are nanostructured materials consisting of individual nanocrystals having a preferred crystallographic orientation. On mesoscopic length scales, the properties of mesocrystals are strongly affected by structural heterogeneity. Here, we report the detailed structural characterization of a faceted mesocrystal grain self-assembled from 60 nm sized gold nanocubes. Using coherent X-ray diffraction imaging, we determined the structure of the mesocrystal with the resolution sufficient to resolve each gold nanoparticle. The reconstructed electron density of the gold mesocrystal reveals its intrinsic structural heterogeneity, including local deviations of lattice parameters, and the presence of internal defects. The strain distribution shows that the average superlattice obtained by angular X-ray cross-correlation analysis and the real, “multidomain” structure of a mesocrystal are very close to each other, with a deviation less than 10%. These results will provide an important impact to understanding the fundamental principles of structuring and self-assembly including ensuing properties of mesocrystals.