A combined density functional and x-ray diffraction study of Pt nanoparticle structure

Matthew Welborn, Wenjie Tang, Jihoon Ryu, Valeri Petkov, Graeme Henkelman

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17 Scopus citations


The structure of 1.7 nm Pt nanoparticles is investigated using x-ray diffraction (XRD) measurements and density functional theory (DFT) calculations. Two types of particles are compared, those made by solution chemistry which are capped either by thiol or amine ligands, and dendrimer encapsulated particles (DENs) which do not have capping ligands. All particles were dried before analyzing their structure. Pair distribution function (PDF) data from XRD measurements show that the ligand-capped particles are more disordered than the DENs. To determine the structure of the particles and the nature of the ligand-induced disorder, we use a hybrid reverse Monte Carlo approach. A weighted average of the calculated binding energy of the particles and a goodness-of-fit parameter to the PDF data is taken as the object function, which is minimized to determine the optimal structure. A scan over different weights gives the set of pareto optimal structures, which show how well simultaneous agreement can be reached to both experiment and theory. Using an embedded atom potential to sample configuration space and DFT to refine the optimal structures, we show that the DEN structure is most consistent with a face centered cubic lattice of truncated octahedral shape. The disorder induced by the capping ligands is consistent with surface relaxation of the particle rather than disorder of the crystal structure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number014503
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 7 2011


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