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Mantella, Valeria; Strach, Michal; Frank, Kilian; Pankhurst, James R.; Stoian, Dragos; Gadiyar, Chethana; Nickel, Bert and Buonsanti, Raffaella (2020): Polymer Lamellae as Reaction Intermediates in the Formation of Copper Nanospheres as Evidenced by In Situ X-ray Studies. In: Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, Vol. 59, No. 28: pp. 11627-11633

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The classical nucleation theory (CNT) is the most common theoretical framework used to explain particle formation. However, nucleation is a complex process with reaction pathways which are often not covered by the CNT. Herein, we study the formation mechanism of copper nanospheres using in situ X-ray absorption and scattering measurements. We reveal that their nucleation involves coordination polymer lamellae as pre-nucleation structures occupying a local minimum in the reaction energy landscape. Having learned this, we achieved a superior monodispersity for Cu nanospheres of different sizes. This report exemplifies the importance of developing a more realistic picture of the mechanism involved in the formation of inorganic nanoparticles to develop a rational approach to their synthesis.

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