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Polavarapu, Lakshminarayana; Zanaga, Daniele; Altantzis, Thomas; Rodal-Cedeira, Sergio; Pastoriza-Santos, Isabel; Pérez-Juste, Jorge; Bals, Sara and Liz-Marzán, Luis M. (2016): Galvanic Replacement Coupled to Seeded Growth as a Route for Shape-Controlled Synthesis of Plasmonic Nanorattles. In: Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 138, No. 36: pp. 11453-11456

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Shape-controlled synthesis of metal nano particles (NPs) requires mechanistic understanding toward the development of modern nanoscience and nano technology. We demonstrate here an unconventional shape transformation of Au@Ag core shell NPs (nano rods and nanocubes) into octahedral nanorattles via room temperature galvanic replacement coupled with seeded growth. The corresponding morphological and chemical transformations were investigated in three dimensions, using state-of-the-art X-ray energy-dispersive spectroscopy (XEDS) tomography. The addition of a reducing agent (ascorbic acid) plays a key role in this unconventional mechanistic path, in which galvanic replacement is found to dominate initially when the shell is made of Ag, while seeded growth suppresses transmetalation when a composition of Au:Ag (60:40) is reached in the shell, as revealed by quantitative XEDS tomography. This work not only opens new avenues toward the shape control of hollow NPs beyond the morphology of sacrificial templates, but also expands our understanding of chemical transformations in nanoscale galvanic replacement reactions. The XEDS electron tomography study presented here can be generally applied to investigate a wide range of nanoscale morphological and chemical transformations.

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