The high specific area of metallic microaggregates, together with their ability to transfer electrons more readily than the corresponding bulk metals1–4, makes this highly dispersed state of matter important in fields such as catalysis, photography and nucleation studies. But the successful preparation of very small microaggregates by radiation-induced reduction of metallic ions has only been reported for noble metals1–8. We describe here the extension of the method both to non-noble metals such as Co, Ni, Zn or Pb, where the strong reactivity of the separate metal atoms and native clusters must be overcome, and to bimetallic particles (such as Cu3↕Pd) which exhibit perfectly ordered structures9. Both kinds of aggregates have many potential applications, the foremost being in catalysis.
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Marignier, J., Belloni, J., Delcourt, M. et al. Microaggregates of non-noble metals and bimetallic alloys prepared by radiation-induced reduction. Nature 317, 344–345 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1038/317344a0
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