Directing substrate morphology via self-assembly: ligand-mediated scission of gallium-indium microspheres to the nanoscale

Nano Lett. 2011 Dec 14;11(12):5104-10. doi: 10.1021/nl202728j. Epub 2011 Oct 31.


We have developed a facile method for the construction of liquid-phase eutectic gallium-indium (EGaIn) alloy nanoparticles. Particle formation is directed by molecular self-assembly and assisted by sonication. As the bulk liquid alloy is ultrasonically dispersed, fast thiolate self-assembly at the EGaIn interface protects the material against oxidation. The choice of self-assembled monolayer ligand directs the ultimate size reduction in the material; strongly interacting molecules induce surface strain and assist particle cleavage to the nanoscale. Transmission electron microscopy images and diffraction analyses reveal that the nanoscale particles are in an amorphous or liquid phase, with no observed faceting. The particles exhibit strong absorption in the ultraviolet (∼200 nm), consistent with the gallium surface plasmon resonance, but dependent on the nature of the particle ligand shell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alloys / chemistry*
  • Gallium / chemistry*
  • Indium / chemistry*
  • Ligands
  • Microspheres
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Nanoparticles / ultrastructure*
  • Nanotechnology / methods


  • Alloys
  • Ligands
  • Indium
  • Gallium