On the atomic scale, the exact engineering of interfaces affects the overall properties of functional nanostructures. One factor that is considered both fundamental and practical in determining the structural features of interfaces is the lattice mismatch, but zooming into the atomic scale reveals new data, which suggest that this paradigm should be reconsidered. Here, we used advanced transmission electron microscopy techniques to image, with atomic resolution, the core-shell interfaces of a strain-free system (CdSe@CdSe) and of a strain-induced system (CdSe@CdS). Then, we analyzed the pattern of stacking fault formation in these particles and correlated the location of the stacking faults with the synthetic procedure. We found that, in the strain-free system, the formation of stacking faults is substantial and the faults are located mostly at the core-shell interface, in a pattern that was surprisingly similar to that observed in the strain-induced system. Therefore, we conclude that the formation of faults within the nanoparticles results mainly from the interaction between the last atomic layer and the growth solution, and it is only weakly correlated with lattice mismatch. This finding is important for the design of defect-engineering in multi-step syntheses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science (all)