Hollow nanocrystals can be synthesized through a mechanism analogous to the Kirkendall Effect, in which pores form because of the difference in diffusion rates between two components in a diffusion couple. Starting with cobalt nanocrystals, we show that their reaction in solution with oxygen and either sulfur or selenium leads to the formation of hollow nanocrystals of the resulting oxide and chalcogenides. This process provides a general route to the synthesis of hollow nanostructures of a large number of compounds. A simple extension of the process yielded platinum-cobalt oxide yolk-shell nanostructures, which may serve as nanoscale reactors in catalytic applications.
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