Writers: E. Longo, L. S. Cavalcante, D. P. Volanti, A. F. Gouveia, V. M. Longo, J. A. Varela, M. O. Orlandi, J. Andrés
Keywords: synthesis; crystals; materials science
Abstract: In this letter, we report, for the first time, the real-time in situ nucleation and growth of Ag filaments on α-Ag2WO4 crystals driven by an accelerated electron beam from an electronic microscope under high vacuum. We employed several techniques to characterise the material in depth. By using these techniques combined with first-principles modelling based on density functional theory, a mechanism for the Ag filament formation followed by a subsequent growth process from the nano- to micro-scale was proposed. In general, we have shown that an accelerated electron beam from an electronic microscope under high vacuum enables in situ visualisation of Ag filaments with subnanometer resolution and offers great potential for addressing many fundamental issues in materials science, chemistry, physics and other fields of science.