Direct observation of the formation and stabilization of metallic nanoparticles on carbon supports

Zhennan Huang, Yonggang Yao, Zhenqian Pang, Yifei Yuan, Tangyuan Li, Kun He, Xiaobing Hu, Jian Cheng, Wentao Yao, Yuzi Liu, Anmin Nie, Soroosh Sharifi-Asl, Meng Cheng, Boao Song, Khalil Amine, Jun Lu, Teng Li*, Liangbing Hu*, Reza Shahbazian-Yassar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Direct formation of ultra-small nanoparticles on carbon supports by rapid high temperature synthesis method offers new opportunities for scalable nanomanufacturing and the synthesis of stable multi-elemental nanoparticles. However, the underlying mechanisms affecting the dispersion and stability of nanoparticles on the supports during high temperature processing remain enigmatic. In this work, we report the observation of metallic nanoparticles formation and stabilization on carbon supports through in situ Joule heating method. We find that the formation of metallic nanoparticles is associated with the simultaneous phase transition of amorphous carbon to a highly defective turbostratic graphite (T-graphite). Molecular dynamic (MD) simulations suggest that the defective T-graphite provide numerous nucleation sites for the nanoparticles to form. Furthermore, the nanoparticles partially intercalate and take root on edge planes, leading to high binding energy on support. This interaction between nanoparticles and T-graphite substrate strengthens the anchoring and provides excellent thermal stability to the nanoparticles. These findings provide mechanistic understanding of rapid high temperature synthesis of metal nanoparticles on carbon supports and the origin of their stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6373
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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