Phase transformation of In(OH)3 to In2O3 has been studied as a function of nanoparticle size without any alteration of nanoparticle size during transformation. Chemically capped In(OH)3 nanoparticles having sizes of 15, 11, and 8 nm transform to In2O3 at temperatures of 285, 272, and 255°C, respectively. This first-time unambiguous observation of size-dependent lowering of transformation temperature represents a thermodynamic characteristic of the nanoparticle system. The results have been explained in terms of a lower cohesive energy of surface atoms and an increase in surface-to-volume ratio with a decrease in nanoparticle size.
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