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Title: Nanoscale cooperative adsorption for materials control

Adsorption plays vital roles in many processes including catalysis, sensing, and nanomaterials design. However, quantifying molecular adsorption, especially at the nanoscale, is challenging, hindering the exploration of its utilization on nanomaterials that possess heterogeneity across different length scales. Here we map the adsorption of nonfluorescent small molecule/ion and polymer ligands on gold nanoparticles of various morphologies in situ under ambient solution conditions, in which these ligands are critical for the particles’ physiochemical properties. We differentiate at nanometer resolution their adsorption affinities among different sites on the same nanoparticle and uncover positive/negative adsorption cooperativity, both essential for understanding adsorbate-surface interactions. Considering the surface density of adsorbed ligands, we further discover crossover behaviors of ligand adsorption between different particle facets, leading to a strategy and its implementation in facet-controlled synthesis of colloidal metal nanoparticles by merely tuning the concentration of a single ligand.

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Nature Communications
Nature Publishing Group
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National Science Foundation
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