Faceting of nanocrystals during chemical transformation: from solid silver spheres to hollow gold octahedra

J Am Chem Soc. 2006 Oct 4;128(39):12671-3. doi: 10.1021/ja0646038.


We demonstrate that performing a replacement reaction on single crystalline Ag nanospheres of approximately 10 nm in diameter in an organic solvent produces hollow Au nanocrystals with an octahedral shape. Different from those Au shells made by starting with Ag particles about 1 order of magnitude larger, which largely reproduce that of the sacrificial Ag counterparts, the hollow nanocrystals obtained in this work show significant changes in the external morphology from the spherical Ag precursors. This evolution of a faceted external morphology during chemical transformation is made possible by the enhanced role of surface effects in our smaller nanocrystals. The competition between the Au atom deposition and Ag atom dissolution on various nanocrystal surfaces is believed to determine the final octahedral shape of the hollow Au nanocrystals. Simultaneous achievement of surface-mediated shape control and a hollow morphology in a one-pot, single-step synthetic procedure in this study promises an avenue to finer tuning of particle morphology, and thus physical properties such as surface plasmon resonance.