Liquid metal for high-entropy alloy nanoparticles synthesis

GH Cao and JJ Liang and ZL Guo and KA Yang and G Wang and HL Wang and XH Wan and ZY Li and YJ Bai and YL Zhang and JL Liu and YP Feng and ZY Zheng and C Lu and GZ He and ZY Xiong and Z Liu and SL Chen and YZ Guo and MQ Zeng and JH Lin and L Fu, NATURE, 619, 73-+ (2023).

DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-06082-9

High-entropy alloy nanoparticles (HEA-NPs) show great potential as functional materials(1-3). However, thus far, the realized high-entropy alloys have been restricted to palettes of similar elements, which greatly hinders the material design, property optimization and mechanistic exploration for different applications(4,5). Herein, we discovered that liquid metal endowing negative mixing enthalpy with other elements could provide a stable thermodynamic condition and act as a desirable dynamic mixing reservoir, thus realizing the synthesis of HEA-NPs with a diverse range of metal elements in mild reaction conditions. The involved elements have a wide range of atomic radii (1.24-1.97 angstrom) and melting points (303-3,683 K). We also realized the precisely fabricated structures of nanoparticles via mixing enthalpy tuning. Moreover, the real-time conversion process (that is, from liquid metal to crystalline HEA-NPs) is captured in situ, which confirmed a dynamic fission-fusion behaviour during the alloying process.

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