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Issue 6, 2012
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Formation of uncapped nanometre-sized metal particles by decomposition of metal carbonyls in carbon nanotubes

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Abstract

Carbonyl complexes of transition metals (Mx(CO)y, where x = 1, 2, or 3 and y = 6, 10, or 12 for M = W, Re, or Os, respectively) inserted into single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT, diameter 1.5 nm) transform into metallic nanoparticles (MNPs) under heat treatment or electron beam irradiation. The host-nanotube acts as an efficient template, controlling the growth of MNPs to ∼1 nm in diameter. The only co-product of nanoparticle formation, carbon monoxide (CO) gas, creates pockets of high pressure between nanoparticles, thus preventing their collision and coalescence into larger structures. As a result, the MNPs stay largely spheroidal in shape and are uniformly distributed throughout the entire length of the SWNT. Despite their extremely small size (on average each MNP contains 30–90 atoms) and no protection of their surface by a capping layer of molecules, the metallic nanoparticles encapsulated in nanotubes are very stable under ambient conditions and even at elevated temperatures. Aberration-corrected high-resolution transmission electron microscopy reveals the crystalline nature of the MNPs, probes their interactions with the nanotube interior and illustrates the complex dynamics of confined MNPs in real-time and direct-space.

Graphical abstract: Formation of uncapped nanometre-sized metal particles by decomposition of metal carbonyls in carbon nanotubes

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Publication details

The article was received on 06 Dec 2011, accepted on 23 Mar 2012 and first published on 26 Mar 2012


Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C2SC01026G
Citation: Chem. Sci., 2012,3, 1919-1924
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    Formation of uncapped nanometre-sized metal particles by decomposition of metal carbonyls in carbon nanotubes

    T. W. Chamberlain, T. Zoberbier, J. Biskupek, A. Botos, U. Kaiser and A. N. Khlobystov, Chem. Sci., 2012, 3, 1919
    DOI: 10.1039/C2SC01026G

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