Size-dependent melting modes and behaviors of Ag nanoparticles: a molecular dynamics study

TS Liang and DJ Zhou and ZH Wu and PP Shi, NANOTECHNOLOGY, 28, 485704 (2017).

DOI: 10.1088/1361-6528/aa92ac

The size-dependent melting behaviors and mechanisms of Ag nanoparticles (NPs) with diameters of 3.5-16 nm were investigated by molecular dynamics (MD). Two distinct melting modes, non-premelting and premelting with transition ranges of about 7-8 nm, for Ag NPs were demonstrated via the evolution of distribution and transition of atomic physical states during annealing. The small Ag NPs (3.5-7 nm) melt abruptly without a stable liquid shell before the melting point, which is characterized as non-premelting. A solid-solid crystal transformation is conducted through the migration of adatoms on the surface of Ag NPs with diameters of 3.5-6 nm before the initial melting, which is mainly responsible for slightly increasing the melting point of Ag NPs. On the other hand, surface premelting of Ag NPs with diameters of 8-16 nm propagates from the outer shell to the inner core with initial anisotropy and late isotropy as the temperature increases, and the close-packed facets 111 melt by a side-consumed way which is responsible for facets 111 melting in advance relative to the crystallographic plane 111. Once a stable liquid shell is formed, its size-independent minimum thickness is obtained, and a three-layer structure of atomic physical states is set up. Lastly, the theory of point defectpair (vacancy-interstitial) severing as the mechanism of formation and movement of the solidliquid interface was also confirmed. Our study provides a basic understanding and theoretical guidance for the research, production and application of Ag NPs.

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