Liquid metal for high-entropy alloy nanoparticles synthesis (HEA-NPs) shows great potential as functional materials. However, thus far, the realized high-entropy alloys have been restricted to palettes of similar elements, which greatly hinders the material design, property optimization and mechanistic exploration for different applications.
Multi-element nanoparticles can now be made with a more diverse array of metals, thanks to a new technique developed by researchers in China. These materials could find use in a wide range of applications due to their interesting and tuneable electronic, chemical and physical properties.
Herein, we discovered that liquid metal endowing negative mixing enthalpy with other elements could provide a stable thermodynamic condition and act as a desirable dynamic mixing reservoir, thus realizing the synthesis of HEA-NPs with a diverse range of metal elements in mild reaction conditions.
The involved elements have a wide range of atomic radii (1.24–1.97 Å) and melting points (303–3,683 K). We also realized the precisely fabricated structures of nanoparticles via mixing enthalpy tuning. Moreover, the real-time conversion process (that is, from liquid metal to crystalline HEA-NPs) is captured in situ, which confirmed a dynamic fission–fusion behaviour during the alloying process.