The surface structure of silver-coated gold nanocrystals and its influence on shape control

J. Daniel Padmos, Michelle L. Personick, Qing Tang, Paul N. Duchesne, De En Jiang, Chad A. Mirkin, Peng Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Understanding the surface structure of metal nanocrystals with specific facet indices is important due to its impact on controlling nanocrystal shape and functionality. However, this is particularly challenging for halide-adsorbed nanocrystals due to the difficulty in analysing interactions between metals and light halides (for example, chloride). Here we uncover the surface structures of chloride-adsorbed, silver-coated gold nanocrystals with {111}, {110}, {310} and {720} indexed facets by X-ray absorption spectroscopy and density functional theory modelling. The silver-chloride, silver-silver and silver-gold bonding structures are markedly different between the nanocrystal surfaces, and are sensitive to their formation mechanism and facet type. A unique approach of combining the density functional theory and experimental/simulated X-ray spectroscopy further verifies the surface structure models and identifies the previously indistinguishable valence state of silver atoms on the nanocrystal surfaces. Overall, this work elucidates the thus-far unknown chloride-metal nanocrystal surface structures and sheds light onto the halide-induced growth mechanism of anisotropic nanocrystals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7664
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Jul 8 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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