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Quantitative 3D Characterization of Elemental Diffusion Dynamics in Individual Ag@Au Nanoparticles with Different Shapes

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journal contribution
posted on 25.10.2019, 14:47 by Alexander Skorikov, Wiebke Albrecht, Eva Bladt, Xiaobin Xie, Jessi E. S. van der Hoeven, Alfons van Blaaderen, Sandra Van Aert, Sara Bals
Anisotropic bimetallic nanoparticles are promising candidates for plasmonic and catalytic applications. Their catalytic performance and plasmonic properties are closely linked to the distribution of the two metals, which can change during applications in which the particles are exposed to heat. Due to this fact, correlating the thermal stability of complex heterogeneous nanoparticles to their microstructural properties is of high interest for the practical applications of such materials. Here, we employ quantitative electron tomography in high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) mode to measure the 3D elemental diffusion dynamics in individual anisotropic Au–Ag nanoparticles upon heating in situ. This approach allows us to study the elemental redistribution in complex, asymmetric nanoparticles on a single particle level, which has been inaccessible to other techniques so far. In this work, we apply the proposed method to compare the alloying dynamics of Au–Ag nanoparticles with different shapes and compositions and find that the shape of the nanoparticle does not exhibit a significant effect on the alloying speed whereas the composition does. Finally, comparing the experimental results to diffusion simulations allows us to estimate the diffusion coefficients of the metals for individual nanoparticles.