Size-tunable, hexagonal plate-like Cu3P and Janus-like Cu-Cu3P nanocrystals

L De Trizio, A Figuerola, L Manna, A Genovese, C George, R Brescia, R Saghi, R Simonutti, MA van Huis, A Falqui

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    67 Citations (Scopus)


    We describe two synthesis approaches to colloidal Cu3P nanocrystals using trioctylphosphine (TOP) as phosphorus precursor. One approach is based on the homogeneous nucleation of small Cu3P nanocrystals with hexagonal plate-like morphology and with sizes that can be tuned from 5 to 50 nm depending on the reaction time. In the other approach, metallic Cu nanocrystals are nucleated first and then they are progressively phosphorized to Cu3P. In this case, intermediate Janus-like dimeric nanoparticles can be isolated, which are made of two domains of different materials, Cu and Cu3P, sharing a flat epitaxial interface. The Janus-like nanoparticles can be transformed back to single-crystalline copper particles if they are annealed at high temperature under high vacuum conditions, which makes them an interesting source of phosphorus. The features of the Cu Cu3P Janus-like nanoparticles are compared with those of the Wiped microstructure discovered more than two decades ago in the rapidly quenched Cu Cu3P eutectic of the Cu P alloy, suggesting that other alloy/eutectic systems that display similar behavior might give origin to nanostructures with flat, epitaxial Interface between domains of two diverse materials. Finally, the electrochemical properties of the copper phosphide plates are studied, and they are found to be capable of undergoing lithiation/delithiation through a displacement reaction, while the Janus-like Cu Cu3P particles do not display an electrochemical behavior that would make them suitable for applications in batteries.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)32-41
    Number of pages10
    JournalACS Nano
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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