Developing simple, inexpensive, and environmentally benign approaches to integrate morphologically well-defined nanoscale building blocks into larger high surface area materials is a key challenge in materials design and processing. In this work, we investigate the fundamental surface phenomena between MgO and water (both adsorption and desorption) with particles prepared via a vapor-phase process (MgO nanocubes) and a modified aerogel process (MgO(111) nanosheets). Through these studies, we unravel a strategy to assemble individual MgO nanoparticles into extended faceted single-crystalline MgO nanosheets and nanorods with well-defined exposed surfaces and edges. This reorganization can be triggered by the presence of H2O vapor or bulk liquid water. Water adsorption and the progressive conversion of vapor-phase grown oxide particles into hydroxides give rise to either one-dimensional or two-dimensional (1D or 2D) structures of high dispersion and surface area. The resulting Mg(OH)2 lamella with a predominant (001) surface termination are well-suited precursor structures for their topotactic conversion into laterally extended and uniform MgO(111) grain surface configurations. To understand the potential of polar (111) surfaces for faceting and surface reconstruction effects associated with water desorption, we investigated the stability of MgO(111) nanosheets during vacuum annealing and electron beam exposure. The significant surface reconstruction of the MgO(111) surfaces observed shows that adsorbate-free (111)-terminated surfaces of unsupported MgO nanostructures reconstruct rather than remain as charged planes of either three-fold coordinated O(2–) ion or Mg(2+) ions. Thus, here we demonstrate the role water can play in surface formation and reconstruction by bridging wet chemical and surface science inspired approaches.
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© 2021 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Fields of Science and Technology Classification 2012
- 210 Nanotechnology
- 103 Physics, Astronomy
- 104 Chemistry