Several systems have shown the ability to stabilize uncommon crystal structures during the synthesis of metallic nanoparticles. By tailoring the nanoparticle crystal structure, the physical and chemical properties of the particles can also be controlled. Herein, we first synthesized branched nanoparticles of mixed hcp/fcc ruthenium, which were formed using tungsten carbonyl [W(CO)6] as both a reducing agent and a source of carbon monoxide. The branched particles were formed from multiple particulates off a central core. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) clearly showed that the branched structures consisted of aligned hcp crystal domains, a mixture of fcc and hcp crystal domains with several defects and misalignments, and particles that contained multiple cores and branches. Branched particles were also formed with molybdenum carbonyl [Mo(CO)6], and faceted particles of hcp and fcc particles were formed with Re2(CO)10 as a carbon monoxide source. Without metal carbonyls, small particles of spherical hcp ruthenium were produced, and their size could be controlled by the selection of the precursor. The ruthenium nanoparticles were tested for ammonia borane hydrolysis; the branched nanoparticles were more reactive for catalytic hydrogen evolution than the faceted hcp/fcc nanoparticles or the spherical hcp nanoparticles. This work showcases the potential of crystal phase engineering of transition metal nanoparticles by different carbon monoxide precursors for tailoring their catalytic reactivity.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from KAUST.