Micro-/Nanotechnology

X-ray techniques to peek into nanoparticle synthesis

The performance of devices in energy and environment systems can be dramatically improved with the implementation of nanotechnology. For that, it is critical to efficiently synthesize nanoparticles. In particular, it is important to understand the changes in the properties of nanoparticles during the synthesis process. The production of nanoparticles of specific shapes doesn’t often allow good control over resulting materials as it is difficult to follow their evolution.  Several techniques have attempted to deal with this task in recent years.

Synchrotron hard X-rays show strong penetration in ambient environment and solutions, and are promising probes for solution-phase reactions. Authors Yugang Sun and Yang Ren from the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, USA, review the advantages and disadvantages of the available X-ray techniques for testing of the synthesis of colloidal nanoparticles in real-time within liquid media.

The review points in situ X-ray scattering as the most encouraging pallet of probing methods and emphasizes its versatility: how these techniques can also be applied to the study of the nanophase evolution of nanomaterials in diverse energy devices.

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