Surface restructuring of nanoparticles: An efficient route for ligand-metal oxide crosstalk

T. Rajh, L. X. Chen, K. Lukas, T. Liu, M. C. Thurnauer, D. M. Tiede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

661 Scopus citations


Surface modification of nanocrystalline metal oxide particles with enediol ligands was found to result in altered optical properties of nanoparticles. The surface modification results in a red shift of the semiconductor absorption compared to unmodified nanocrystallites. The optical shift is correlated to the dipole moment of the Ti-ligand complexes at the particle surface and decreases with the ligand size. The binding was found to be exclusively characteristic of colloids in the nanocrystalline domain(<20 nm). X-ray near-edge structure measurements at Ti K edge indicate that in this size domain the surface Ti atoms adjust their coordination environment to form undercoordinated sites. These five-coordinated defect sites are the source of novel enhanced and selective reactivity of the nanoparticle toward bidentate ligand binding as observed using IR spectroscopy. Enediol ligands have the optimal geometry for chelating surface Ti atoms, resulting in a five-membered ring coordination complex and restored six-coordinated octahedral geometry of surface Ti atoms. The binding of enediol ligands is enhanced because of the stability gained from adsorption-induced restructuring of the nanoparticle surface. Consistent behavior was found for the three different nanocrystalline metal oxide systems: TiO2, Fe2O3, and ZrO2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10543-10552
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 17 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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