Compressive surface strained atomic-layer Cu2O on Cu@Ag nanoparticles

  • Xiyue Zhu
  • Hongpan RongEmail author
  • Xiaobin Zhang
  • Qiumei Di
  • Huishan Shang
  • Bing Bai
  • Jiajia Liu
  • Jia Liu
  • Meng Xu
  • Wenxing Chen
  • Jiatao ZhangEmail author
Research Article


Control of surface structure at the atomic level can effectively tune catalytic properties of nanomaterials. Tuning surface strain is an effective strategy for enhancing catalytic activity; however, the correlation studies between the surface strain with catalytic performance are scant because such mechanistic studies require the precise control of surface strain on catalysts. In this work, a simple strategy of precisely tuning compressive surface strain of atomic-layer Cu2O on Cu@Ag (AL-Cu2O/Cu@Ag) nanoparticles (NPs) is demonstrated. The AL-Cu2O is synthesized by structure evolution of Cu@Ag core-shell nanoparticles, and the precise thickness-control of AL-Cu2O is achieved by tuning the molar ratio of Cu/Ag of the starting material. Aberration-corrected high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (AC-HRTEM) and EELS elemental mapping characterization showed that the compressive surface strain of AL-Cu2O along the [111] and [200] directions can be precisely tuned from 6.5% to 1.6% and 6.6% to 4.7%, respectively, by changing the number of AL-Cu2O layer from 3 to 6. The as-prepared AL-Cu2O/Cu@Ag NPs exhibited excellent catalytic property in the synthesis of azobenzene from aniline, in which the strained 4-layers Cu2O (4.5% along the [111] direction, 6.1% along the [200] direction) exhibits the best catalytic performance. This work may be beneficial for the design and surface engineering of catalysts toward specific applications.


compressive surface strain atomic-layer Cu2precise thickness-control catalytic activity 


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51631001, 21643003, 51872030, 51702016, and 51501010), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, Beijing Institute of Technology Research Fund Program for Young Scholars and ZDKT18-01 from State Key Laboratory of Explosion Science and Technology (Beijing Institute of Technology). The characterization results were supported by Beijing Zhongkebaice Technology Service Co., Ltd.

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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiyue Zhu
    • 1
  • Hongpan Rong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiaobin Zhang
    • 2
  • Qiumei Di
    • 1
  • Huishan Shang
    • 1
  • Bing Bai
    • 1
  • Jiajia Liu
    • 1
  • Jia Liu
    • 1
  • Meng Xu
    • 1
  • Wenxing Chen
    • 1
  • Jiatao Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of Construction-Tailorable Advanced Functional Materials and Green Applications, Experimental Center of Advanced Materials, School of Materials Science & EngineeringBeijing Institute of TechnologyBeijingChina
  2. 2.Center for Nano Materials and TechnologyJapan Advanced Institute of Science and TechnologyIshikawaJapan

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