, Volume 46, Issue 22, pp 7090-7097,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 10 Jun 2011

Giant carbon solubility in Au nanoparticles


Variable temperature transmission electron microscopy of individual 5 nm Au nanoparticles shows a striking increase in the particle size on raising the temperature from room temperature to 500 °C in the presence of carbon from amorphous carbon support. Using the assembly of ordered graphene shells on the surface of individual nanoparticles at elevated temperatures—and the high pressures induced by such shells—as an experimental tool to study the origins of this swelling, we find that the volume increase is associated with the uptake of carbon to concentrations exceeding the bulk solubility by more than four orders of magnitude. The formation of stable metal–carbon nanostructures that have no bulk equivalent may have important implications on the functional properties of metal nanoparticles.