Size Matters as Nanocrystals Go Through Phases

Palladium nanocubes interacting with hydrogen gas were directly observed through in situ luminescence to reveal that size can make a much bigger difference on phase transformations than scientists previously believed. Understanding what happens to a material as it undergoes phase transformations – changes from a solid to a liquid to a gas or a plasma – is of fundamental scientific interest and critical for optimizing commercial applications. For metal nanocrystals, assumptions about the size-dependence of phase transformations were made that now need to be re-evaluated. A team of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has demonstrated that as metal nanocrystals go through phase transformations, size can make a much bigger difference than previously believed. Working at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, a DOE Nanoscale Science Research Center, the team led by Jeffrey Urban and Stephen Whitelam developed a unique optical probe based on luminescence that provided the first direct observations of metal nanocrystals undergoing phase transformations during reactions with hydrogen gas. Analysis of their observations revealed a surprising degree of size-dependence when it comes to such critical properties as thermodynamics and kinetics. These results hold important implications for the future design of hydrogen storage

The post Size Matters as Nanocrystals Go Through Phases has been published on Technology Org.

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