Toward Phase and Catalysis Control: Tracking the Formation of Intermetallic Nanoparticles at Atomic Scale

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2019-03-28
Authors
Ma, Tao
Wang, Shuai
Chen, Minda
Maligal-Ganesh, Raghu
Wang, Lin-Lin
Kramer, Matthew
Zhou, Lin
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Johnson, Duane
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Huang, Wenyu
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Ames National Laboratory

Ames National Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), operated by and located on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

For more than 70 years, the Ames National Laboratory has successfully partnered with Iowa State University, and is unique among the 17 DOE laboratories in that it is physically located on the campus of a major research university. Many of the scientists and administrators at the Laboratory also hold faculty positions at the University and the Laboratory has access to both undergraduate and graduate student talent.

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Materials Science and Engineering

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering teaches the composition, microstructure, and processing of materials as well as their properties, uses, and performance. These fields of research utilize technologies in metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and electronic materials.

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The Department of Materials Science and Engineering was formed in 1975 from the merger of the Department of Ceramics Engineering and the Department of Metallurgical Engineering.

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1975-present

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Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry seeks to provide students with a foundation in the fundamentals and application of chemical theories and processes of the lab. Thus prepared they me pursue careers as teachers, industry supervisors, or research chemists in a variety of domains (governmental, academic, etc).

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The Department of Chemistry was founded in 1880.

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1880-present

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Abstract

Intermetallic nanoparticles (iNPs) have yielded enormous successes in catalytic applications by the formation of ordered phases. However, atomic level understanding of the alloying mechanism, which plays a pivotal role for controlling intermetallic phases and tailoring their catalytic properties, is still elusive. In this study, we discovered a consecutive formation of ordered Pt3Sn and PtSn phases during the growth of Pt–Sn iNP inside a well-defined nano-reactor at elevated temperature using in-situ scanning transmission electron microscopy. We found that the surface-mediated diffusion of Sn controls overall dynamics of the reaction, while the unique coherent interfacial structure is determinative for the PtSn transformation. We then further controlled the phase selection of Pt–Sn iNPs and demonstrated their distinguishable catalytic behaviors. Our findings not only provide detailed experimental evidence on the alloying mechanism in intermetallic nanoscale systems, but also pave the way for mechanistic control of synthesis and catalytic properties of iNPs.

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