Author(s) Farrell, Z.J.; Tabor, C.
Journal Langmuir
Date Published 2018 Jan 09

Eutectic gallium-indium alloy (EGaIn, a room-temperature liquid metal) nanoparticles are of interest for their unique potential uses in self-healing and flexible electronic devices. One reason for their interest is due to a passivating oxide skin that develops spontaneously on exposure to ambient atmosphere which resists deformation and rupture of the resultant liquid particles. It is then of interest to develop methods for control of this oxide growth process. It is hypothesized here that functionalization of EGaIn nanoparticles with thiolated molecules could moderate oxide growth based on insights from the Cabrera-Mott oxidation model. To test this, the oxidation dynamics of several thiolated nanoparticle systems were tracked over time with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. These results demonstrate the ability to suppress gallium oxide growth by up to 30%. The oxide progressively matures over a 28 day period, terminating in different final thicknesses as a function of thiol selection. These results indicate not only that thiols moderate gallium oxide growth via competition with oxygen for surface sites but also that different thiols alter the thermodynamics of oxide growth through modification of the EGaIn work function.

DOI 10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b03384
ISSN 1520-5827
Citation Langmuir. 2018;34(1):234240.

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