Bottom-Up Mechanical Nanometrology of Granular Ag Nanoparticles Thin Films

G Benetti and C Caddeo and C Melis and G Ferrini and C Giannetti and N Winckelmans and S Bals and MJ Van Bael and E Cavaliere and L Gavioli and F Banfi, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, 121, 22434-22441 (2017).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b05795

Ultrathin metal nanoparticles coatings, synthesized by gas-phase deposition, are emerging as go-to materials in a variety of fields ranging from pathogens control and sensing to energy storage. Predicting their morphology and mechanical properties beyond a trial-and-error approach is a crucial issue limiting their exploitation in real-life applications. The morphology and mechanical properties of Ag nanoparticle ultrathin films, synthesized by supersonic cluster beam deposition, are here assessed adopting a bottom-up, multi technique approach. A virtual film model is proposed merging high resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy, supersonic cluster beam dynamics, and molecular dynamics simulations. The model is validated against mechanical nano-metrology measurements and is readily extendable to metals other than Ag. The virtual film is shown to be a flexible and reliable predictive tool to access morphology-dependent properties such as mesoscale gas-dynamics and elasticity of ultrathin films synthesized by gas-phase deposition.

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