Direct in situ observation of the electron-driven synthesis of Ag filaments on alpha-Ag2WO4 crystals

Scientific Reports Volume: 3 Published: 2013

Series of in situ FE-SEM images of the Ag growth after the absorption of energetic electrons by the a-Ag2WO4 crystal surface at 30 kV without a heating holder. (a) FE-SEM image focused on the a-Ag2WO4 crystal surface with rapid acquisition, time zero and modelled a-Ag2WO4 crystals before receiving electrons; (b) FE-SEM image focused on the same a-Ag2WO4 crystal surface region after 6 min of image acquisition and modelled surface defects on the a-Ag22xWO4 crystal, with several points related to the appearance of Ag nanoparticles; (c) FE-SEM image focused on the same a-Ag2WO4 crystal surface region after 10 min of acquisition and modelled surface defects on the a-Ag22xWO4 crystal, with several points related to the appearance of Ag nanorods.

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.

See PDF: Direct in situ observation of the electron-driven synthesis of Ag filaments on alpha-Ag2WO4 crystals

DOI: 10.1038/srep01676

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