New insights into the structure of Pd-Au nanoparticles as revealed by aberration-corrected STEM
.Bimetallic nanoparticles of Au–Pd find important applications in catalysis. Their catalytic performance is directly related to the structure, alloy formation and variation of composition in the structure. A standard idea is that bimetallic nanoparticles can be either an alloy or a core shell structure. Our group has investigated the structure and composition of Pd–Au nanoparticles by using aberration corrected high angle annular dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF–STEM). We reported previously that the nanoparticles are composed of an evenly alloyed inner core, an Au-rich intermediate layer, and a Pd-rich outer shell. The structure is more complicated than what simple models can predict. In this paper, we report additional studies of this system wherein by carrying out spectral and chemical analysis (STEM–EDS and STEM–EELS) the interface structure can now be better identified and understood. Apart from the three-layered core-shell structures, we have also been able to observe in some cases a four-layered core-shell structure as well. The entire core-shell structure is not rigid and there is indeed intercalation of Au–Pd into the other layers as well. In addition we have been able to locate stacking faults present in the nanoparticles. We also address the problem of the interface structure between the layers. By using nanodiffraction we have found that the whole structure of the nanoparticles becomes hcp in contrast to the bulk structure of Au or Pd.