Crystallization of nanocrystals in spherical confinement probed by in Situ X-ray scattering

Federico Montanarella, Jaco J. Geuchies, Tonnishtha Dasgupta, P. Tim Prins, Carlo Van Overbeek, Rajeev Dattani, Patrick Baesjou, Marjolein Dijkstra, Andrei V. Petukhov, Alfons Van Blaaderen, Daniel Vanmaekelbergh

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28 Citations (Scopus)
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We studied the formation of supraparticles from nanocrystals confined in slowly evaporating oil droplets in an oil-in-water emulsion. The nanocrystals consist of an FeO core, a CoFe2O4 shell, and oleate capping ligands, with an overall diameter of 12.5 nm. We performed in situ small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering experiments during the entire period of solvent evaporation and colloidal crystallization. We observed a slow increase in the volume fraction of nanocrystals inside the oil droplets up to 20%, at which a sudden crystallization occurs. Our computer simulations show that crystallization at such a low volume fraction is only possible if attractive interactions between colloidal nanocrystals are taken into account in the model as well. The spherical supraparticles have a diameter of about 700 nm and consist of a few crystalline face-centered cubic domains. Nanocrystal supraparticles bear importance for magnetic and optoelectronic applications, such as color tunable biolabels, color tunable phosphors in LEDs, and miniaturized lasers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3675-3681
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2018


  • Colloidal nanocrystals
  • in situ small-/wide-angle X-ray scattering
  • self-assembly
  • spherical confinement
  • supraparticles


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