Potential applications of nanomaterials range from electronics to environmental technology, thus a better understanding of their manufacturing and manipulation is of paramount importance. The present study demonstrates a methodology for the use of metallic nanomaterials as reactants to examine nanoalloying in situ within a transmission electron microscope. The method is further utilised as a starting point of a metallurgical toolbox, e.g. to study subsequent alloying of materials by using a nanoscale-sized chemical reactor for nanometallurgy. Cu nanowires and Au nanoparticles are used for alloying with pure Al, which served as the matrix material in the form of electron transparent lamellae. The results showed that both the Au and Cu nanomaterials alloyed when Al was melted in the transmission electron microscope. However, the eutectic reaction was more pronounced in the Al–Cu system, as predicted from the phase diagram. Interestingly, the mixing of the alloying agents occurred independently of the presence of an oxide layer surrounding the nanowires, nanoparticles, or the Al lamellae while performing the experiments. Overall, these results suggest that transmission electron microscope-based in situ melting and alloying is a valuable lab-on-a-chip technique to study the metallurgical processing of nanomaterials for the future development of advanced nanostructured materials.
Bibliographische NotizFunding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 757961). All authors are grateful for the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) within the project 3DnanoAnalytics (FFG-No. 858040). MAT acknowledges support from the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program at the Los Alamos National Laboratory under contract 20200689PRD2. The authors would like to thank Mr. Matthias Honner, Ms. Nadine Tatzreiter, Ms. Carmen Schlager and Mr. Florian Frick for their support with the Cu NWs solution preparation.
© 2023 The Royal Society of Chemistry.