Astor Lectures: Nanoparticles - from thermodynamics and shape to plasmonics and catalysis

Understanding the structure of nanoparticles is a problem with over a century of history from the first analysis by Wulff which was proved during WWII by von Laue. Given the growth of nanotechnology in the last decades, significant advances in synthesis and characterization methods using advanced electron microscopy have been made so it is time to return to some of these topics and look further. There is still a large amount of science left to be done. At the fundamental level there are Wulff shapes for alloys, a start to understanding strain-induced segregation at the nanoscale, and new tools to understanding the growth shapes of nanoparticles based upon a kinetic variant of the modified Wulff construction as well as was to understand concave shapes. For more applied problems we can now start to employ these theoretical methods combined with optical microscopies to understand in detail nanoparticle plasmonics. A third area is where we can combine understanding and control of oxide surfaces in order to deliberately engineer heterogeneous catalysts to have unique properties.
In this talk I will provide an overview of some of the new possibilities in nanoparticles where we combine theory and experiment to go in new directions and open the door to new science as well as technological applications.