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