Formation of Superlattices of Gold Nanoparticles Using Ostwald Ripening in Emulsions: Transition from fcc to bcc Structure

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An efficient method to form 3D superlattices of gold nanoparticles inside oil emulsion droplets is presented. We demonstrate that this method relies on Ostwald ripening, a well-known phenomenon occurring during the aging of emulsions. The key point is that the nanoparticle concentration inside the smaller droplets is increasing very slowly with time, thus inducing the crystallization of the nanoparticles into superlattices. Using oil-in-water emulsions doped with hydrophobic gold nanoparticles, we demonstrate that this method is efficient for different types of oils (toluene, cyclohexane, dodecane, and hexadecane). 3D superlattices of the nanoparticles are obtained, with dimensions reaching a hundred nanometers. The kinetics of the crystallization depends on the solubility of the oil in water but also on the initial concentration of the gold nanoparticles in oil. This method also provides an innovative way to obtain the complete phase diagram of nanoparticle suspensions with concentration. Indeed, during this slow crystallization process, a transition from a disordered suspension to a fcc structure is observed, followed by a transition toward a bcc structure. This evolution with time provides key results to understand the role played by the ligands located at the surface of the nanoparticles in order to control the type of superlattices which are formed.


  • Julien Schmitt
  • Stéphanie Hajiw
  • Amélie Lecchi
  • Jéril Degrouard
  • Anniina Salonen
  • Marianne Impéror-Clerc
  • Brigitte Pansu
External organisations
  • University of Paris-Sud
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5759-5766
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 30
Publication categoryResearch