Shape-controlled growth of metal nanoparticles: an atomistic view

M Konuk and S Durukanoglu, PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 18, 1876-1885 (2016).

DOI: 10.1039/c5cp03902a

Recent developments in shape-controlled synthesis of metallic nano- particles present a promising path for precisely tuning chemical activity, selectivity, and stability of nano-materials. While previous studies have highlighted the macroscopic description of synthesis processes, there is less understanding as to whether individual atomic- scale processes possess any significant role in controlling the growth of nano-products. The presented molecular static and dynamic simulations are the first simulations to understand the underlying atomistic mechanisms of the experimentally determined growth modes of metal nano- clusters. Our simulations on Ag nano-cubes confirm that metal nano-seeds enclosed by 100 facets can be directed to grow into octopods, concave, truncated cubes, and cuboctahedra when the relative surface diffusion and deposition rates are finely tuned. Here we further showed that atomic level processes play a significant role in controllably fine tuning the two competing rates: surface diffusion and deposition. We also found that regardless of temperature and the initial shape of the nanoseeds, the exchange of the deposited atom with an edge atom of the seed is by far the governing diffusion mechanism between the neighboring facets, and thus is the leading atomistic process determining the conditions for fine tuning of macroscopic processes.

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