MgO nanocube hydroxylation by nanometric water films.

Luong NT, Holmboe M, Boily JF

Nanoscale 15 (24) 10286-10294 [2023-06-23; online 2023-06-23]

Hydrophilic nanosized minerals exposed to air moisture host thin water films that are key drivers of reactions of interest in nature and technology. Water films can trigger irreversible mineralogical transformations, and control chemical fluxes across networks of aggregated nanomaterials. Using X-ray diffraction, vibrational spectroscopy, electron microscopy, and (micro)gravimetry, we tracked water film-driven transformations of periclase (MgO) nanocubes to brucite (Mg(OH)2) nanosheets. We show that three monolayer-thick water films first triggered the nucleation-limited growth of brucite, and that water film loadings continuously increased as newly-formed brucite nanosheets captured air moisture. Small (8 nm-wide) nanocubes were completely converted to brucite under this regime while growth on larger (32 nm-wide) nanocubes transitioned to a diffusion-limited regime when (∼0.9 nm-thick) brucite nanocoatings began hampering the flux of reactive species. We also show that intra- and inter-particle microporosity hosted a hydration network that sustained GPa-level crystallization pressures, compressing interlayer brucite spacing during growth. This was prevalent in aggregated 8 nm wide nanocubes, which formed a maze-like network of slit-shaped pores. By resolving the impact of nanocube size and microporosity on reaction yields and crystallization pressures, this work provides new insight into the study of mineralogical transformations induced by nanometric water films. Our findings can be applied to structurally related minerals important to nature and technology, as well as to advance ideas on crystal growth under nanoconfinement.

Integrated Microscopy Technologies Umeå [Service]

PubMed 37194306

DOI 10.1039/d2nr07140a

Crossref 10.1039/d2nr07140a

Publications 9.5.0