Electroless synthesis of 3nm wide alloy nanowires inside Tobacco mosaic virus
We show that 3nm wide cobaltiron alloy nanowires can be synthesized by simple wet chemical electroless deposition inside tubular Tobacco mosaic virus particles. The method is based on adsorption of Pd(II) ions, formation of a Pd catalyst, and autocatalytic deposition of the alloy from dissolved metal salts, reduced by a borane compound. Extensive energy-filtering TEM investigations at the nanoscale revealed that the synthesized wires are alloys of Co, Fe, and Ni. We confirmed by high-resolution TEM that our alloy nanowires are at least partially crystalline, which is compatible with typical Co-rich alloys. Ni traces bestow higher stability, presumably against corrosion, as also known from bulk CoFe. Alloy nanowires, as small as the ones presented here, might be used for a variety of applications including high density data storage, imaging, sensing, and even drug delivery. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd.