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Understanding the thermal stability of silver nanoparticles embedded in a-Si

Gould, Anna L., Kadkhodazadeh, Shima, Wagner, Jakob B., Catlow, Charles Richard ORCID:, Logsdail, Andrew ORCID: and Di Vece, Marcel 2015. Understanding the thermal stability of silver nanoparticles embedded in a-Si. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 119 (41) , pp. 23767-23773. 10.1021/acs.jpcc.5b07324

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The inclusion of silver plasmonic nanoparticles in silicon is highly relevant for photovoltaics as it may enhance optical absorption. We report an investigation of the stability of such pristine silver nanoparticles embedded in a-Si upon heat treatment. We have investigated the morphological changes via in situ and ex situ high-resolution and high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM and HAADF STEM). The melting of Ag particles and subsequent interdiffusion of Ag and Si atoms are strongly related to the size of the Ag nanoparticles, as well as the presence of surface imperfections. Partial voids in the amorphous-Si framework are formed where sections of the Ag nanoparticles are found preferentially to diffuse away due to geometric instability. Computational simulations using ensemble molecular dynamics confirm the experimental results: the structural properties of the amorphous-Si environment are important as well as incomplete packing of the Ag nanoparticle surfaces. These factors affect the melting temperature, causing some parts of the Ag nanoparticles to dissolve preferentially and other areas to remain stable at high temperatures.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Additional Information: ACS AuthorChoice - This is an open access article published under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the author and source are cited. Abstract
Publisher: American Chemical Society
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 16:16

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