Image Contest Spotlight: Cian McKeown, University of Limerick
Cian has submitted 3 images that are all relevant to platinum nanostructures. We thought that the patterns that they form were interesting, so we asked the PhD candidate about his work with platinum.
"I grow platinum nanostructures using a technique called electroless deposition. This is where no external power supply is used to grow the metal, rather metal ions are chemically reduced from a liquid deposition bath. When the growth is well controlled, we produce thin, uniform films of platinum but by changing the deposition rate we can make these beautiful nanostructures.
Take a Bow!: Platinum nanocrystals grown vertically during electroless deposition. The growth pattern is due to rapid nucleation.
So, the ‘Christmas tree’ style pattern in one of the images is caused by a very fast deposition rate where certain crystallographic planes grow more favorably. The image of the three large Pt particles standing on top of one another is a result of the autocatalytic process we use. Once some Pt is deposited onto a metal substrate, more deposition happens on top of it. This process can keep going on and on indefinitely, growing larger particles and thicker films.
Platinum Mantis: A thin film of platinum responding to applied stress in a strange way
And the ‘Praying Mantis’ style formation resulted from fracturing a thin platinum film. The films can generate a good deal of stress as they grow, and this image seems to show the film folding in on itself when I cut my sample in half.
All of these processes can increase the surface area of the platinum structures, which is beneficial to my work in the field of electrocatalysis."
Thank you, Cian for sharing your work with us!
All images were obtained using a JCM-5700 CarryScope.