Here, two mechanisms of fcc Au supracrystal (assembly of Au nanocrystals) growth are proposed. The sizes of the Au nanocrystals and the solvent in which they are dispersed are major parameters that determine the final morphology of nanocrystal assemblies; fi lms by layer-by-layer growth (heterogeneous growth), characterized by their plastic deformation, or well-defined shapes grown in solution (homogeneous growth). Experiments supported by simulations demonstrate that supracrystal nucleation is mainly driven by solvent-mediated interactions and not solely by the van der Waals attraction between nanocrystal cores, as widely assumed in the literature.
Source : Which forces do control the supracrystal nucleation in organic media ? N.Goubet, J.Richardi, P.A. Albouy and M.P.Pileni. Adv.Funct.Mater., 2011,21, 2693-2704.