Electrochemistry at single bimetallic nanoparticles – using nano impacts for sizing and compositional analysis of individual AgAu alloy nanoparticles
The increasing interest in producing bimetallic nanoparticles and utilizing them in modern technologies sets the demand for fast and affordable characterization of these materials. To date Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM) coupled to energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy is usually used to determine the size and composition of alloy nanoparticles, which is time-consuming and expensive. Here electrochemical single nanoparticle analysis is presented as an alternative approach to infer the particle size and composition of alloy nanoparticles, directly in a dispersion of these particles. As a proof of concept, 14 nm sized Ag0.73Au0.27 alloy nanoparticles are analyzed using a combination of chronoamperometric single nanoparticle analysis and cyclic voltammetry ensemble studies. It is demonstrated that the size, the alloying and the composition can all be inferred using this approach. Thus, the electrochemical characterization of single bimetallic alloy nanoparticles is suggested here as a powerful and convenient complement or alternative to TEM characterization of alloy nanoparticles.