A combined experimental and theoretical effort is undertaken to clarify (1) the mechanisms of nucleation and growth of bare and coated transition and noble metal nanoclusters, (2) the supra-organization of these nanoparticles in 1D, 2D and 3D super-structures, (3) the structure-properties relationships, with a full exploitation of the peculiar properties of these systems as the ultimate goal. Bare metal nanoparticles are grown by direct in situ vapor deposition on oxide surfaces in UHV conditions. Coated metal nanoparticles are obtained by synthesis in homogeneous phase either using reverse micelles as nanoreactors or from the aggregation of solvated metal atoms, and subsequently deposited on the substrates. Oxide substrates are nanopatterned with the aim of achieving the full control of the supra-organisation of the nanoclusters in different kinds of super-lattices. Information on the basic metal-support, metal-ligand and nanoparticle-nanoparticle interactions is derived from the interplay of calibrated experiments and first-principle calculations, and is used to build up appropriate interparticle potentials. These potentials are utilized in molecular dynamics and kinetic Monte Carlo simulations of the various growth processes under realistic conditions, from which a direct comparison with actual growth experiments is immediately possible. Once the structural properties are elucidated, general features of the structure-property relationships will be investigated. The aim is to achieve control over the size, size distribution, morphology and properties of nanoparticles and super-lattices.
- FP6-NMP - Nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices: thematic priority 3 under the 'Focusing and integrating community research' of the 'Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area' specific programme 2002-2006.
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