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Ensemble averaged structure–function relationship for nanocrystals: effective superparamagnetic Fe clusters with catalytically active Pt skin

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Abstract

Practical applications require the production and usage of metallic nanocrystals (NCs) in large ensembles. Besides, due to their cluster−bulk solid duality, metallic NCs exhibit a large degree of structural diversity. This poses the question as to what atomic-scale basis is to be used when the structure–function relationship for metallic NCs is to be quantified precisely. We address the question by studying bi-functional Fe core−Pt skin type NCs optimized for practical applications. In particular, the cluster-like Fe core and skin-like Pt surface of the NCs exhibit superparamagnetic properties and a superb catalytic activity for the oxygen reduction reaction, respectively. We determine the atomic-scale structure of the NCs by non-traditional resonant high-energy X-ray diffraction coupled to atomic pair distribution function analysis. Using the experimental structure data we explain the observed magnetic and catalytic behavior of the NCs in a quantitative manner. Thus we demonstrate that NC ensemble-averaged 3D positions of atoms obtained by advanced X-ray scattering techniques are a very proper basis for not only establishing but also quantifying the structure–function relationship for the increasingly complex metallic NCs explored for practical applications.

Graphical abstract: Ensemble averaged structure–function relationship for nanocrystals: effective superparamagnetic Fe clusters with catalytically active Pt skin

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Publication details

The article was received on 04 Aug 2017, accepted on 11 Sep 2017 and first published on 12 Sep 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR05768G
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Advance Article
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    Ensemble averaged structure–function relationship for nanocrystals: effective superparamagnetic Fe clusters with catalytically active Pt skin

    V. Petkov, B. Prasai, S. Shastri, H. Park, Y. Kwon and V. Skumryev, Nanoscale, 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR05768G

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