Examination of well ordered nanonetwork materials by real- and reciprocal-space imaging


The development of well ordered nanonetwork materials (in particular gyroid-structured materials) has been investigated using a block-copolymer template for templated electroless plating as an example system for the examination of network formation using X-ray scattering. By taking advantage of the nucleation and growth mechanism of templated electroless plating, gyroid-structured Au was successfully fabricated through the development of Au nanoparticles, then tripods and branched tripods, and finally an ordered network. Each stage in the development of the network phase could then be examined by combining real-space transmission electron microscopy observations with reciprocal-space small-angle X-ray scattering results. The fingerprint scattering profile of the building block for the network (i.e. the tripod of the gyroid) could be well fitted with the form factor of an effective sphere, and the diffraction results from the ordered network could thus be reasonably addressed. As a result, the examination of well ordered network materials can be simplified as the scattering from the form factor of a sphere convoluted with the nodes of its structure factor, providing a facile method of identifying the network phases from X-ray scattering data.
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