The structural evolution and diffusion during the chemical transformation from cobalt to cobalt phosphide nanoparticles

Don-Hyung Ha, Liane M. Moreau, Clive R. Bealing, Haitao Zhang, Richard G. Hennig, Richard D. Robinson

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We report the structural evolution and the diffusion processes which occur during the phase transformation of nanoparticles (NPs), ε-Co to Co 2P to CoP, from a reaction with tri-n-octylphosphine (TOP). Extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) investigations were used to elucidate the changes in the local structure of cobalt atoms which occur as the chemical transformation progresses. The lack of long-range order, spread in interatomic distances, and overall increase in mean-square disorder compared with bulk structure reveal the decrease in the NP's structural order compared with bulk structure, which contributes to their deviation from bulk-like behavior. Results from EXAFS show both the Co2P and CoP phases contain excess Co. Results from EXAFS, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and density functional theory calculations reveal that the inward diffusion of phosphorus is more favorable at the beginning of the transformation from ε-Co to Co2P by forming an amorphous Co-P shell, while retaining a crystalline cobalt core. When the major phase of the sample turns to Co 2P, the diffusion processes reverse and cobalt atom out-diffusion is favored, leaving a hollow void, characteristic of the nanoscale Kirkendall effect. For the transformation from Co2P to CoP theory predicts an outward diffusion of cobalt while the anion lattice remains intact. In real samples, however, the Co-rich nanoparticles continue Kirkendall hollowing. Knowledge about the transformation method and structural properties provides a means to tailor the synthesis and composition of the NPs to facilitate their use in applications. © 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11498
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry
Issue number31
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-C1-018-02
Acknowledgements: We thank Ken Finkelstein for his assistance with obtaining data, experimental setup at CHESS and advice concerning data analysis. We also thank the Pollack and Abruna groups for their helpful suggestions for conducting XAS experiments and analysis. We thank Peter Ko for his helpful discussion on EXAFS data analysis. This work was supported in part by Award No. KUS-C1-018-02, made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). We also acknowledge support of Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) with funding from the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center program of the National Science Foundation (cooperative agreement DMR 0520404), and the support of Energy Materials Center at Cornell (EMC2), an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Science under Award Number DE-SC0001086. L.M.M. is supported from the Engineering Learning Initiatives Undergraduate Research Grants Program at Cornell University, with sponsorship from the SRC Education Alliance URO by Intel Foundation.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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