Galvanic replacement of intermetallic nanocrystals as a route toward complex heterostructures†
Galvanic replacement reactions are a reliable method for transforming monometallic nanotemplates into bimetallic products with complex nanoscale architectures. When replacing bimetallic nanotemplates, even more complex multimetallic products can be made, with final nanocrystal shapes and architectures depending on multiple processes, including Ostwald ripening and the Kirkendall effect. Galvanic replacement, therefore, is a promising tool in increasing the architectural complexity of multimetallic templates, especially if we can identify and control the relevant processes in a given system and apply them more broadly. Here, we study the transformation of intermetallic PdCu nanoparticles in the presence of HAuCl4 and H2PtCl6, both of which are capable of oxidizing both Pd and Cu. Replacement products consistently lost Cu more quickly than Pd, preserved the crystal structure of the original intermetallic template, and grew a new phase on the sacrificial template. In this way, atomic and nanometer-scale architectures are integrated within individual nanocrystals. Product morphologies included faceting of the original spherical particles as well as formation of core@shell and Janus-style particles. These variations are rationalized in terms of differing diffusion behaviors. Overall, galvanic replacement of multimetallic templates is shown to be a route toward increasingly exotic particle architectures with control exerted on both Angstrom and nanometer-scale features, while inviting further consideration of template and oxidant choices.