In situ NMR reveals real-time nanocrystal growth evolution via monomer-attachment or particle-coalescence

Reut Mashiach, Haim Weissman, Liat Avram, Lothar Houben, Olga Brontvein, Anna Lavie, Vaishali Arunachalam, Michal Leskes, Boris Rybtchinski, Amnon Bar-Shir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding inorganic nanocrystal (NC) growth dynamic pathways under their native fabrication environment remains a central goal of science, as it is crucial for rationalizing novel nanoformulations with desired architectures and functionalities. We here present an in-situ method for quantifying, in real time, NCs’ size evolution at sub-nm resolution, their concentration, and reactants consumption rate for studying NC growth mechanisms. Analyzing sequential high-resolution liquid-state 19F-NMR spectra obtained in-situ and validating by ex-situ cryoTEM, we explore the growth evolution of fluoride-based NCs (CaF2 and SrF2) in water, without disturbing the synthesis conditions. We find that the same nanomaterial (CaF2) can grow by either a particle-coalescence or classical-growth mechanism, as regulated by the capping ligand, resulting in different crystallographic properties and functional features of the fabricated NC. The ability to reveal, in real time, mechanistic pathways at which NCs grow open unique opportunities for tunning the properties of functional materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number229
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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