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Bottom-Up Mechanical Nanometrology of Granular Ag Nanoparticles Thin Films

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journal contribution
posted on 11.09.2017 by Giulio Benetti, Claudia Caddeo, Claudio Melis, Gabriele Ferrini, Claudio Giannetti, Naomi Winckelmans, Sara Bals, Margriet J. Van Bael, Emanuele Cavaliere, Luca Gavioli, Francesco Banfi
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, multitechnique 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 nanometrology 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.