Gas-Phase Synthesis of Trimetallic Nanoparticles

Jean Gabriel Mattei, Panagiotis Grammatikopoulos*, Junlei Zhao, Vidyadhar Singh, Jerome Vernieres, Stephan Steinhauer, Alexander Porkovich, Eric Danielson, Kai Nordlund, Flyura Djurabekova, Mukhles Sowwan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


To this day, engineering nanoalloys beyond bimetallic compositions has scarcely been within the scope of physical deposition methods due to the complex, nonequilibrium processes they entail. Here, we report a gas-phase synthesis strategy for the growth of multimetallic nanoparticles: Magnetron-sputtering inert-gas condensation from neighboring monoelemental targets provides the necessary compositional flexibility, whereas in-depth atomistic computer simulations elucidate the fast kinetics of nucleation and growth that determines the resultant structures. We fabricated consistently trimetallic Au-Pt-Pd nanoparticles, a system of major importance for heterogeneous catalysis applications. Using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, we established their physical and chemical ordering: Au/Pt-rich core@Pd-shell atomic arrangements were identified for particles containing substantial amounts of all elements. Decomposing the growth process into basic steps by molecular dynamics simulations, we identified a fundamental difference between Au/Pt and Pd growth dynamics: Au/Pt electronic arrangements favor the formation of dimer nuclei instead of larger-size clusters, thus significantly slowing down their growth rate. Consequently, larger Pd particles formed considerably faster and incorporated small Au and Pt clusters by means of in-flight decoration and coalescence. A broad range of icosahedral, truncated-octahedral, and spheroidal face-centered cubic trimetallic nanoparticles were reproduced in simulations, in good agreement with experimental particles. Comparing them with their expected equilibrium structures obtained by Monte Carlo simulations, we identified the particles as metastable, due to out-of-equilibrium growth conditions. We aspire that our in-depth study will constitute a significant advance toward establishing gas-phase aggregation as a standard method for the fabrication of complex nanoparticles by design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2151-2163
Number of pages13
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - 26 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Gas-Phase Synthesis of Trimetallic Nanoparticles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this