In Situ Liquid Phase TEM of Nanoparticle Formation and Diffusion in a Phase-Separated Medium

Youngju Son, Byung Hyo Kim, Back Kyu Choi, Zhen Luo, Joodeok Kim, Ga Hyun Kim, So Jung Park, Taeghwan Hyeon, Shafigh Mehraeen, Jungwon Park

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Colloidal nanoparticles are synthesized in a complex reaction mixture that has an inhomogeneous chemical environment induced by local phase separation of the medium. Nanoparticle syntheses based on micelles, emulsions, flow of different fluids, injection of ionic precursors in organic solvents, and mixing the metal organic phase of precursors with an aqueous phase of reducing agents are well established. However, the formation mechanism of nanoparticles in the phase-separated medium is not well understood because of the complexity originating from the presence of phase boundaries as well as nonuniform chemical species, concentrations, and viscosity in different phases. Herein, we investigate the formation mechanism and diffusion of silver nanoparticles in a phase-separated medium by using liquid phase transmission electron microscopy and many-body dissipative particle dynamics simulations. A quantitative analysis of the individual growth trajectories reveals that a large portion of silver nanoparticles nucleate and grow rapidly at the phase boundaries, where metal ion precursors and reducing agents from the two separated phases react to form monomers. The results suggest that the motion of the silver nanoparticles at the interfaces is highly affected by the interaction with polymers and exhibits superdiffusive dynamics because of the polymer relaxation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22810-22817
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number20
StatePublished - 25 May 2022

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  • colloidal nanoparticle
  • diffusion
  • interface
  • liquid phase TEM
  • phase separation


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