Low-dimensional and nanostructured materials with precisely tunable architectures/compositions are needed to advance our understanding of materials nucleation and growth and to enable discovery of new properties vital to scientific and technological advances. Anisotropic or multi-component nanostructures are a promising material type and are sought after, because their broken symmetries engender unique optical, catalytic, and mechanical properties. Nevertheless, methods to synthesize such symmetry broken nanostructures are in short supply. We demonstrate a one-pot, high-yield synthesis of structurally anisotropic nanoscale dimers composed of noble metals and propose a mechanism for their formation. Detailed electron microscopy studies, in conjunction with electrochemical, nuclear magnetic resonance, and optical spectroscopies, suggest these symmetry broken structures may possess unique catalytic and plasmonic properties. Through rational modifications to our synthetic strategy, we also access a range of unique material polymorphs and alloys.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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