Structural Characterisation of a Layered Double Hydroxide Nanosheet
N P Funnell, Q Wang, L Connor, M G Tucker, D O’Hare and A L Goodwin
Nanoscale 6, 8032-8036 (2014)

We report the atomic-scale structure of a Zn2Al-borate layered double hydroxide (LDH) nanosheet, as determined by reverse Monte Carlo (RMC) modelling of X-ray total scattering data. This study involves the extension of the RMC method to enable structural refinement of two-dimensional nanomaterials. The refined LDH models show the intra-layer geometry in this highly-exfoliated phase to be consistent with that observed in crystalline analogues, with the reciprocal-space scattering data suggesting a disordered arrangement of the Zn2+ and Al3+ cations within the nanosheet. The approach we develop is generalisable and so offers a method of characterising the structures of arbitrary nanosheet phases, including systems that support complex forms of disorder within the nanosheets themselves.