morphology of nanostructures (rus. наноструктур, морфология) — combined characteristics of nanoobjects including their size, shape and spatial organisation (aggregate structure).


Morphology of different nanostructures may vary significantly depending on their material composition, crystal structure and manufacturing method. Existing synthesis methods allow the production of nanoparticles with a variety of shapes (spheres, rods, tubes, needles, cubes, octahedrons, etc.) and sizes. For example, variation of such hydrothermal synthesis parameters as temperature, pressure, reagent concentration, treatment time and pH results in different morphologies, compositions and crystallinity ofproducts [1] (see fig.).

The morphological diversity of nanoscale objects built with organic molecules is almost infinite. For example, present-day biotechnologies using self-assembling duplex DNA as building blocks lead to the controllable synthesis of three-dimensional structures sized between 10 nm and 100 nm. One of these techniques was used to create nanoscale “DNA origami”: polygon frameworks, gears, bridges, bottles, etc. [2,3].

Morphology variation is an effective way of controlling functionality of nanomaterials that also affects their biocompatibility, because it is, in fact, a reflection of the product of surface (interface) evolution (transformation) in the process of making a material. Morphological diversity is of paramount importance specifically for nanomaterials, while these materials usually contain a large number of surface atoms that determine their physical and chemical properties. On the other hand, most nanomaterials are thermodynamically unstable, and their nonequilibrium morphologies (different from the shape of monocrystals of a given substance) correspond to local minimums of free energy of the system.


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Morphology of α-Fe2O3 nanoparticles generated through hydrothermal treatment of ferrous oxide (III) in different concentrations in the presence of a surfactant (CTAB) [1].


  • Borisenko Grigory G.
  • Goldt Anastasia E.
  • Goodilin Evgeny A.


  1. Pu Z. et al. Controlled synthesis and growth mechanism of hematite nanorhombohedra, nanorods and nanocubes // Nanotechnology.
  2. Dietz H., Douglas S.M., Shih W.M. Folding DNA into twisted and curved nanoscale shapes // Science. 2009. V. 325. P. 725–730.
  3. Douglas S.M., Dietz H., Liedl T. et al. Self-assembly of DNA into nanoscale three-dimensional shapes // Nature. 2009. V. 459. P. 414–418.