Nanometal particles show characteristic features in chemical and physical properties depending on their sizes and shapes. For keeping and further enhancing their features, the particles should be protected from coalescence or degradation. One approach is to encapsulate the nanometal particles inside pores with chemically inert or functional materials, such as carbon, polymer, and metal oxides, which contain mesopores to allow permeation of only chemicals not the nanometal particles. Recently developed low-voltage high-resolution scanning electron microscopy was applied to the study of structural, chemical, and electron state of both nanometal particles and encapsulating materials in york-shell materials of Au@C, Ru/Pt@C, Au@TiO2, and Pt@Polymer. Progresses in the following categories were shown for the york-shell materials: (i) resolution of topographic image contrast by secondary electrons, of atomic-number contrast by back-scattered electrons, and of elemental mapping by X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy; (ii) sample preparation for observing internal structures; and (iii) X-ray spectroscopy such as soft X-ray emission spectroscopy. Transmission electron microscopy was also used for characterization of Au@C. (C) 2014 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
2014. Vol. 2, no 11, 113317- p.