Self-organization of bimetallic PdAu nanoparticles on SiO2 surface
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- Ruffino, F. & Grimaldi, M.G. J Nanopart Res (2011) 13: 2329. doi:10.1007/s11051-010-9992-4
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Bimetallic PdAu nanoparticles on SiO2 substrate were produced by a sequential room-temperature sputtering deposition method. By the atomic force microscopy technique we studied the nanoparticles self-organization mechanisms in various conditions. First, Pd nucleation and growth proceeds at the substrate defects and the Pd nanoparticles density increase rapidly. During the second sputtering deposition, Au atoms adsorb on the SiO2 and diffuse toward Pd nanoparticles without forming new nuclei. The Au atoms are trapped by the preformed Pd nanoparticles, forming PdAu bimetallic nanoparticles which size increases. Furthermore, fixing the amount of deposited Pd and increasing the amount of deposited Au, we analyzed the evolution of the PdAu film surface morphology: we observe that the PdAu grows initially as three-dimensional islands; then the PdAu film morphology evolves from compact three-dimensional islands to partially coalesced worm-like structures, followed by a percolation morphology and finally to a continuous and rough film. The application of the interrupted coalescence model allowed us to evaluate the critical mean island diameter Rc ≈ 2.8 nm for the partial coalescence process. The application of the dynamic scaling theory of growing interfaces allowed us to evaluate the dynamic growth exponent β = 0.21 ± 0.01 from the evolution of the film surface roughness. Finally, fixing the amount of deposited Pd and Au we studied the self-organization mechanism of the PdAu nanoparticles induced by thermal processes performed in the 973–1173 K temperature range. The observed kinetic growth mechanism is consistent with a surface diffusion-limited ripening of the nanoparticles with a temperature-dependent growth exponent. The dependence of the growth exponent on the temperature is supposed to be linked to the variation with the temperature of the characteristics of the PdAu alloy. The activation energy for the surface diffusion process was evaluated in 0.54 ± 0.03 eV.