Dewetting dynamics of a gold film on graphene: implications for nanoparticle formation

S Namsani and JK Singh, FARADAY DISCUSSIONS, 186, 153-170 (2016).

DOI: 10.1039/c5fd00118h

The dynamics of dewetting of gold films on graphene surfaces is investigated using molecular dynamics simulation. The effect of temperature (973-1533 K), film diameter (30-40 nm) and film thickness (0.5-3 nm) on the dewetting mechanism, leading to the formation of nanoparticles, is reported. The dewetting behavior for films <= 5 angstrom is in contrast to the behavior seen for thicker films. The retraction velocity, in the order of similar to 300 m s(-1) for a 1 nm film, decreases with an increase in film thickness, whereas it increases with temperature. However at no point do nanoparticles detach from the surface within the temperature range considered in this work. We further investigated the self-assembly behavior of nanoparticles on graphene at different temperatures (673-1073 K). The process of self-assembly of gold nanoparticles is favorable at lower temperatures than at higher temperatures, based on the free-energy landscape analysis. Furthermore, the shape of an assembled structure is found to change from spherical to hexagonal, with a marked propensity towards an icosahedral structure based on the bond-orientational order parameters.

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