Interface energy measurement of MgO and ZnO: Understanding the thermodynamic stability of nanoparticles

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Castro R.H.R.
Torres R.B.
Pereira G.J.
Gouvea D.
Chemistry of Materials
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Castro, Ricardo H. R.; To?rres, Ricardo B.; PEREIRA, G. J.;Pereira, Gilberto J.;PEREIRA, GILBERTO JOSÉ; Gouve?a, Douglas. Interface Energy Measurement of MgO and ZnO: Understanding the Thermodynamic Stability of Nanoparticles. Chemistry of Materials, v. 22, p. 2502-2509, 2010.
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Nanomaterials have triggered excitement in both fundamental science and technological applications in several fields. However, the same characteristic high interface area that is responsible for their unique properties causes unconventional instability, often leading to local collapsing during application. Thermodynamically, this can be attributed to an increased contribution of the interface to the free energy, activating phenomena such as sintering and grain growth. The lack of reliable interface energy data has restricted the development of conceptual models to allow the control of nanoparticle stability on a thermodynamic basis. Here we introduce a novel and accessible methodology to measure interface energy of nanoparticles exploiting the heat released during sintering to establish a quantitative relation between the solid-solid and solid-vapor interface energies. We exploited this method in MgO and ZnO nanoparticles and determined that the ratio between the solid-solid and solid-vapor interface energy is 1.1 for MgO and 0.7 for ZnO. We then discuss that this ratio is responsible for a thermodynamic metastable state that may prevent collapsing of nanoparticles and, therefore, may be used as a tool to design long-term stable nanoparticles. © 2010 American Chemical Society.