Symmetry Breaking During the Synthesis of Nanoparticles
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Symmetry breaking is a ubiquitous phenomenon that occurs spontaneously when a system is subjected to variations in size and/or perturbations in terms of thermodynamic parameters. As a stochastic process, even small fluctuations acting on a system can arbitrarily push it downward one of the branches of a bifurcation. In this talk, we will use nanoparticle synthesis to illustrate the concept of symmetry breaking. Our aim is to convey its importance from a mechanistic perspective, by which one can rationally alter the experimental conditions to manipulate the growth pattern (symmetric vs. asymmetric) and thus generate colloidal nanoparticles with controlled shapes, structures, and properties for various applications, including the production of the famous Janus nanoparticles.
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