Ternary hybrid nanoparticle isomers: Directing the nucleation of Ag on Pt-Fe3O4 using a solid-state protecting group

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Colloidal hybrid nanoparticles are an important class of materials that incorporate multiple nanoparticles into a single system through solid-state interfaces, which can result in multifunctionality and the emergence of synergistic properties not found in the individual components. These hybrid structures are typically produced using seeded-growth methods, where preformed nanoparticles serve as seeds onto which additional domains are added through subsequent reactions. For hybrid nanoparticles that contain more than two domains, multiple configurations with distinct connectivities and functionalities are possible, and these can be considered as nanoparticle analogues of molecular isomers. However, accessing one isomer relative to others in the same hybrid nanoparticle system is challenging, particularly when the formation of a target isomer is disfavored relative to more stable or synthetically accessible configurations. Here, we show that an iron oxide shell installed onto the Pt domain of Pt-Fe3O4 hybrid nanoparticles serves as a solid-state protecting group that can direct the nucleation of a third domain to an otherwise disfavored site. Under traditional conditions, Ag nucleates exclusively onto the Pt domain of Pt-Fe 3O4 heterodimers, resulting in the formation of the Ag-Pt-Fe3O4 heterotrimer isomer. When the Pt surface is covered with an iron oxide protecting group, the nucleation of Ag is redirected onto the Fe3O4 domain, producing the distinct and otherwise inaccessible Pt-Fe3O4-Ag isomer. Similar results are obtained for the Au-Pt-Fe3O4 system, where formation of the favored Au-Pt-Fe3O4 configuration is blocked by the iron oxide protecting group. The thickness of the iron oxide shell that protects the Pt domain can be systematically tuned by adjusting the ratio of oleic acid to iron pentacarbonyl during the synthesis of the Pt-Fe 3O4 heterodimers, and this insight is important for controllably implementing the protecting group chemistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1047-1055
Number of pages9
JournalACS nano
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 28 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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