The Strange Chemical Composition of Nanoparticles

Chemists from Russia and China studied the so-called “magic” nanoparticles and found that their structure has many similarities with the structure of atoms. According to the specialized scientific publication Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, this fact explains the surprisingly high stability of the “magic” nanoparticles.

“We were surprised to find out that nanoparticles, like atomic nuclei, have“ ridges ”and“ islands ”of stability, as well as“ seas ”of instability. “around which, for example, crystal growth takes place. Personally, I have been very interested in this topic since my youth,” says Artem Oganov, an employee of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and Skoltech.

In recent decades, scientists have been using nanoparticles to solve a wide variety of practical problems  this is the creation of new catalysts, the treatment of cancer, the development of new electronic gadgets, and much more.

However, the study of the properties of nanoparticles is still carried out mainly “by touch” – that is, exclusively experimentally. This approach has its advantages, but there are also disadvantages -the “blind” search does not allow creating new materials any quickly, because scientists often do not know which direction to take.

Scientists from MIPT and Skoltech, as well as their colleagues from China, are interested in the so-called. “magic” nanoparticles, that is, particles that demonstrate unusually high stability. The USPEX algorithm, applied to the study of stable particles, showed that the whole thing is in some interesting features of their structure.