The project proposed addresses important issues related to the establishment of robust methods for the characterization of inorganic nanoparticles (NPs). These methods will be used for providing unprecedented atomistic details on a series of highly monodisperse nanocrystals, which have a broad-spectrum of applications in emerging technologies.
The only existing approaches for characterizing nanocrystals with well determined statistical averages (in contrast to the microscopies, where individual NPs are analysed) are scattering techniques. The very small size of particles in nanosized materials can be considered as a defective representation of the corresponding bulk: the information in the powder diffraction patterns (the fingerprints of the structural features of the sample) is smeared out and reduced, while the complexity of the structure is highly increased.
Accordingly, new scattering techniques need to be developed in order to derive fundamental information, such as chemical composition, crystal structure, size and its distributions, morphology and surface effects. At this purpose, an innovative approach of Unified Small Angle X-ray Scattering and Wide Angle X-ray Total Scattering, UXS, is here proposed.
This frontier method will be applied to benchmark cases, such as highly monodisperse colloidal semiconducting NPs.
Accordingly, the definition and implementation of new experimental, theoretical and analytical protocols for a full quantitative characterization of nanomaterials by UXS will be accomplished. Furthermore, this work will allow extracting information on an important class of materials that will be helpful in guiding future synthetic approaches.