Morphology-controlled transformation of Cu@Au core-shell nanowires into thermally stable Cu3Au intermetallic nanowires


Multimetallic nanowires with long-range atomic ordering hold the promise of unique physicochemical properties in many applications. Here we demonstrate the synthesis and study the stability of Cu3Au intermetallic nanowires. The synthesis is achieved by using Cu@Au core-shell nanowires as precursors. With appropriate Cu/Au stoichiometry, the Cu@Au core-shell nanowires are transformed into fully ordered Cu3Au nanowires under thermal annealing. Thermally-driven atom diffusion accounts for this transformation as revealed by X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy studies. The twin boundaries abundant in the Cu@Au core-shell nanowires facilitate the ordering process. The resulting Cu3Au intermetallic nanowires have uniform and accurate atomic positioning in the crystal lattice, which enhances the nobility of Cu. No obvious copper oxides are observed in fully ordered Cu3Au nanowires after annealing in air at 200 °C, a temperature that is much higher than those observed in Cu@Au core-shell and pure Cu nanowires. This work opens up an opportunity for further research into the development and applications of intermetallic nanowires.

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This work was financially supported by BASF Corporation (Award Number 53093). Work at the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM), the Molecular Foundry was supported by the Director, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. Aberration-corrected STEM was supported by the Center for high-resolution Electron Microscopy (ChEM) at ShanghaiTech University. T. L. acknowledges fellowship from Suzhou Industrial Park. We acknowledge P. Alivisatos for access to the Bruker D-8 Diffractometer for XRD analysis.

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Niu, Z., Chen, S., Yu, Y. et al. Morphology-controlled transformation of Cu@Au core-shell nanowires into thermally stable Cu3Au intermetallic nanowires. Nano Res. 13, 2564–2569 (2020).

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  • intermetallic nanocrystal
  • shape control
  • nanowire
  • Cu-Au
  • stability