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  1. Controlled growth of islands on plasmonic metal nanoparticles represents a novel strategy in creating unique morphologies that are difficult to achieve by conventional colloidal synthesis processes, where the nanoparticle morphologies are typically determined by the preferential development of certain crystal facets. This work exploits an effective surface-engineering strategy for site-selective island growth of Au on anisotropic Au nanostructures. Selective ligand modification is first employed to direct the site-selective deposition of a thin transition layer of a secondary metal, e.g., Pd, which has a considerable lattice mismatch with Au. The selective deposition of Pd on the original seeds produces a high contrast in the surface strain that guides the subsequent site-selective growth of Au islands. This strategy proves effective in not only inducing the island growth of Au on Au nanostructures but also manipulating the location of grown islands. By taking advantage of the iodide-assisted oxidative ripening process and the surface strain profile on Au nanostructures, we further demonstrate the precise control of the islands’ number, coverage, and wetting degree, allowing fine-tuning of nanoparticles’ optical properties. 
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  2. We report here that dissolution and regrowth of resorcinol formaldehyde (RF) colloidal particles can occur spontaneously when they are subjected to etching in solvents such as ethanol and tetrahydrofuran, resulting in the formation of hollow nanostructures with controllable shell thickness. The hollowing process of the RF particles is attributed to their structural inhomogeneity, which results from the successive deposition of oligomers with different chain lengths during their initial growth. As the near-surface layer of RF colloids mainly consists of long-chain oligomers while the inner part consists of short-chain oligomers, selective etching removes the latter and produces the hollow structures. By revealing the important effects of the condensation degree of RF, the etching time and temperature, and the composition of solvents, we demonstrate that the morphology and structure of the resulting RF nanostructures can be conveniently and precisely controlled. This study not only improves our understanding of the structural heterogeneity of colloidal polymer particles, but also provides a practical and universal self-templated approach for the synthesis of hollow nanostructures. 
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  3. Abstract

    Charge density waves (CDWs) in the cuprate high-temperature superconductors have evoked much interest, yet their typical short-range nature has raised questions regarding the role of disorder. Here we report a resonant X-ray diffraction study of ZrTe$${}_{3}$$3, a model CDW system, with focus on the influence of disorder. Near the CDW transition temperature, we observe two independent signals that arise concomitantly, only to become clearly separated in momentum while developing very different correlation lengths in the well-ordered state that is reached at a distinctly lower temperature. Anomalously slow dynamics of mesoscopic charge domains are further found near the transition temperature, in spite of the expected strong thermal fluctuations. Our observations signify the presence of distinct experimental fingerprints of pristine and disorder-perturbed CDWs. We discuss the latter also in the context of Friedel oscillations, which we argue might promote CDW formation via a self-amplifying process.

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