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Self-Confined Nucleation of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles in a Nanostructured Amorphous Precursor

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Baumgartner,  Jens
Damien Faivre, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Bennet,  Mathieu A.
Damien Faivre, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Faivre,  Damien
Damien Faivre, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Baumgartner, J., Ramamoorthy, R. K., Freitas, A. P., Neouze, M.-A., Bennet, M. A., Faivre, D., et al. (2020). Self-Confined Nucleation of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles in a Nanostructured Amorphous Precursor. Nano Letters, 20(7), 5001-5007. doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c01125.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-CDE2-4
Abstract
Crystallization from solution is commonly described by classical nucleation theory, although this ignores that crystals often form via disordered nanostructures. As an alternative, the classical theory remains widely used in a “multistep” variant, where the intermediate nanostructures merely introduce additional thermodynamic parameters. However, this variant still requires validation by experiments addressing indeed proper time and spatial scales (millisecond, nanometer). Here, we used in situ X-ray scattering to determine the mechanism of magnetite crystallization and, in particular, how nucleation propagates at the nanometer scale within amorphous precursors. We find that the self-confinement by an amorphous precursor slows down crystal growth by 2 orders of magnitude once the crystal size reaches the amorphous particle size (∼3 nm). Thus, not only the thermodynamic properties of transient amorphous nanostructures but also their spatial distribution determine crystal nucleation.