Preserving the shape of silver nanocubes under corrosive environment by covering their edges and corners with iridium†
Silver nanocubes have found use in an array of applications but their performance has been plagued by the shape instability arising from the oxidation and dissolution of Ag atoms from the edges and corners. Here we demonstrate that the shape of Ag nanocubes can be well preserved by covering their edges and corners with a corrosion-resistant metal such as Ir. In a typical process, we titrate a Na3IrCl6 solution in ethylene glycol (EG) into a suspension of Ag nanocubes in an EG solution in the presence of poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP) held at 110 °C. The Ir atoms derived from the reduction of Na3IrCl6 by EG and Ag are deposited onto the edges and then corners for the generation of Ag–Ir core-frame nanocubes. Remarkably, our results indicate that a small amount of Ir atoms on the edges and corners is adequate to prevent the Ag nanocubes from transforming into nanospheres when heated in a PVP/EG solution up to 110 °C. We further demonstrate that these Ag–Ir nanocubes embrace plasmonic properties comparable to those of the original Ag nanocubes, making them immediately useful in a variety of applications. This strategy for stabilizing the shape of Ag nanocubes should be extendible to Ag nanocrystals with other shapes or nanocrystals comprised of other metals.