Volume 577 Issue 7790, 16 January 2020

Border control

Many properties of nanocrystal materials are affected by surface defects called grain boundaries — the interfaces between individual crystallites, or grains, in the structure. The wide variation in size, shape and orientation of the grains makes it hard to understand how the defects influence the material’s properties. In this week’s issue, Taeghwan Hyeon and his colleagues demonstrate a method for synthesizing multigrain nanocrystals with uniform grain boundaries. The researchers demonstrate their technique by controlling the deposition and growth of Mn3O4 shells on each face of a Co3O4 nanocube crystal (the resultant structure is shown on the cover). The team identifies four design principles that should allow a wide range of multigrain nanocrystals with controlled grain boundaries to be prepared, opening fresh routes to probe the effects of the defects.

Cover image: Myoung Hwan Oh and Younghee Lee

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Spotlight

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    Spotlight on Taiwan

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