Pt-Au alloying at the nanoscale

Valeri Petkov, Bridgid N. Wanjala, Rameshwori Loukrakpam, Jin Luo, Lefu Yang, Chuan Jian Zhong, Sarvjit Shastri

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The formation of nanosized alloys between a pair of elements, which are largely immiscible in bulk, is examined in the archetypical case of Pt and Au. Element specific resonant high-energy X-ray diffraction experiments coupled to atomic pair distribution functions analysis and computer simulations prove the formation of Pt-Au alloys in particles less than 10 nm in size. In the alloys, Au-Au and Pt-Pt bond lengths differing in 0.1 Å are present leading to extra structural distortions as compared to pure Pt and Au particles. The alloys are found to be stable over a wide range of Pt-Au compositions and temperatures contrary to what current theory predicts. The alloy-type structure of Pt-Au nanoparticles comes along with a high catalytic activity for electrooxidation of methanol making an excellent example of the synergistic effect of alloying at the nanoscale on functional properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4289-4299
Number of pages11
JournalNano Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 8 2012


  • High-energy resonant XRD
  • atomic pair distribution functions
  • catalysis
  • reverse Monte Carlo modeling
  • structure of metallic nanoparticles


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