Embedded Nanoparticles

Authored by: Leandro L. Araujo , Mark C. Ridgway

3 Handbook of Nanophysics

Print publication date:  September  2010
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781420075441
eBook ISBN: 9781420075458
Adobe ISBN:


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To embed” means “to firmly fix in a surrounding mass” or “to enclose in supporting material.” The term embedded nanoparticles thus describes particles of nanometer dimensions (from 1 to ∼100 nm) contained within a solid matrix. Such material systems will be the subject of this chapter, in which we present an overview of the growth methods, the fundamental properties, and the technological applications. Occasionally, the embedded nanoparticle terminology has been erroneously extended to nanoparticles (NPs) contained within a liquid, which we believe are better described as solution-dispersed or colloidal nanoparticles. These systems are not described here. Examples of embedded and colloidal Ge NPs, imaged with transmission electron microscopy (TEM), are shown in Figure 23.1a and b, respectively. This comparison highlights one advantage of an encapsulating matrix; specifically, NP contact interactions are absent in the former (embedded), while NP agglomeration due to strong van der Waals attractive forces is readily apparent in the latter (colloidal). In the historical and scientific discussion that follows, we will concentrate on issues of importance to embedded NPs in particular and thus not necessarily of relevance to other forms of NPs including, for example, free standing and colloidal.

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