Crystal phase-based epitaxial growth of hybrid noble metal nanostructures on 4H/fcc Au nanowires

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Crystal-phase engineering offers opportunities for the rational design and synthesis of noble metal nanomaterials with unusual crystal phases that normally do not exist in bulk materials. However, it remains a challenge to use these materials as seeds to construct heterometallic nanostructures with desired crystal phases and morphologies for promising applications such as catalysis. Here, we report a strategy for the synthesis of binary and ternary hybrid noble metal nanostructures. Our synthesized crystal-phase heterostructured 4H/fcc Au nanowires enable the epitaxial growth of Ru nanorods on the 4H phase and fcc-twin boundary in Au nanowires, resulting in hybrid Au–Ru nanowires. Moreover, the method can be extended to the epitaxial growth of Rh, Ru–Rh and Ru–Pt nanorods on the 4H/fcc Au nanowires to form unique hybrid nanowires. Importantly, the Au–Ru hybrid nanowires with tunable compositions exhibit excellent electrocatalytic performance towards the hydrogen evolution reaction in alkaline media.

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Fig. 1: Synthesis and characterization of Au–Ru NWs.
Fig. 2: Synthesis and characterization of Au–Rh NWs.
Fig. 3: Synthesis and characterization of Au–Ru–Rh NWs.
Fig. 4: Charactrization of HER activity and stability using Au–Ru NWs as electrocatalysts.


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This work was supported by Ministry of Education (MOE) under AcRF Tier 2 (ARC 19/15, no. MOE2014-T2-2-093, MOE2015-T2-2-057, MOE2016-T2-2-103, MOE2017-T2-1-162) and AcRF Tier 1 (2016-T1-001-147, 2016-T1-002-051, 2017-T1-001-150) and Nanyang Technological University under a Start-Up Grant (M4081296.070.500000) in Singapore, the National Program on Key Basic Research Project (2014CB921002), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. XDB07030200), the Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. QYZDB-SSW-JSC035) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51522212, 51421002, 51672307). The authors acknowledge the Facility for Analysis, Characterization, Testing and Simulation, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, for use of their electron microscopy facilities.

Author information

H.Z. proposed the research direction and guided the project. Q.L. and A.-L.W. conceived the idea and designed the experiments with H.Z., synthesized the materials, tested HER performance, analysed the data and drafted the manuscript. Y.G. and L.G. carried out STEM measurements. Ji.C. and J.L. carried out the EDS tomographic reconstructions. W.H., H.C., Ju.C., B.L., N.Y., W.N., J.W., Y.Y., X.Z., and Y.C. performed some supporting experiments. Z.F., X.-J.W. and S.L. helped to draft the manuscript. All authors have read the manuscript and agree with its content.

Correspondence to Lin Gu or Hua Zhang.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary information

Supplementary synthesis and characterization details and analysis; Supplementary figures 1–19; Supplementary tables 1 & 2


Supplementary Video 1

Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy tomographic reconstructions showing the architecture of the as-prepared Au–Ru nanowires

Supplementary Video 2

Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy tomographic reconstructions showing the architecture of the as-prepared Au–Ru nanowires

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