Self-assembly of noble metal nanoparticles into sub-100 nm colloidosomes with collective optical and catalytic properties†
Self-assembly at the nanoscale represents a powerful tool for creating materials with new structures and intriguing collective properties. Here, we report a novel strategy to synthesize nanoscale colloidosomes of noble metals by assembling primary metal nanoparticles at the interface of emulsion droplets formed by their capping agent. This strategy produces noble metal colloidosomes of unprecedentedly small sizes (<100 nm) in high yield and uniformity, which is highly desirable for practical applications. In addition, it enables the high tunability of the composition, producing a diversity of monometallic and bimetallic alloy colloidosomes. The colloidosomes exhibit interesting collective properties that are different from those of individual colloidal nanoparticles. Specifically, we demonstrate Au colloidosomes with well-controlled interparticle plasmon coupling and Au–Pd alloy colloidosomes with superior electrocatalytic performance, both thanks to the special structural features that arise from the assembly. We believe this strategy provides a general platform for producing a rich class of miniature colloidosomes that may have fascinating collective properties for a broad range of applications.
- This article is part of the themed collection: ISACS21: Challenges in Nanoscience