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Microstructure of the Native Oxide Layer on Ni and Cr-Doped Ni Nanoparticles

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Most metallic nanoparticles exposed to air at room temperature will be instantaneously oxidized and covered by an oxide layer. In most cases the true structural nature of the oxide layer formed at this stage is hard to determine. As shown previously for Fe and other nanoparticles, the nature of the oxides form on the particles can vary with particle size and nature of the oxidation process. In this paper, we report the morphology and structural features of the native oxide layer on pure Ni and Cr-doped Ni nanoparticles synthesized using a cluster deposition process. Structural characterization carried out at the atomic level using aberration corrected high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) in combination with electron and X-ray diffractions reveals that both pure Ni and Cr-doped Ni particles exposed to air at room temperature similarly possesses a core–shell structure of metal core covered by an oxide layer of typically 1.6 nm in thickness. There exists a critical size of ∼6 nm, below which the particle is fully oxidized. The oxide particle corresponds to the rock-salt structured NiO and is faceted on the (001) planes. XPS of O-1s shows a strong peak that is attributed to (OH), which in combination with the atomic level HRTEM imaging indicates that the very top layer of the oxide is hydrolyzed.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-10-01

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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