Electrochemical investigations of metal nanostructure growth with single crystals
Control over the nanoscopic structure of a material allows one to tune its properties for a wide variety of applications. Colloidal synthesis has become a convenient way to produce anisotropic metal nanostructures with a desired set of properties, but in most syntheses, the facet-selective surface chemistry causing anisotropic growth is not well-understood. This review highlights the recent use of electrochemical methods and single-crystal electrodes to investigate the roles of organic and inorganic additives in modulating the rate of atomic addition to different crystal facets. Differential capacitance and chronocoulometric techniques can be used to extract thermodynamic data on how additives selectively adsorb, while mixed potential theory can be used to observe the effect of additives on the rate of atomic addition to a specific facet. Results to date indicate that these experimental methods can provide new insights into the role capping agents and halides play in controlling anisotropic growth.