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Ultrathin-shell epitaxial Ag@Au core-shell nanowires for high-performance and chemically-stable electronic, optical, and mechanical devices


Silver nanowires (AgNWs) hold great promise for applications in wearable electronics, flexible solar cells, chemical and biological sensors, photonic/plasmonic circuits, and scanning probe microscopy (SPM) due to their unique plasmonic, mechanical, and electronic properties. However, the lifetime, reliability, and operating conditions of AgNW-based devices are significantly restricted by their poor chemical stability, limiting their commercial potentials. Therefore, it is crucial to create a reliable oxidation barrier on AgNWs that provides long-term chemical stability to various optical, electrical, and mechanical devices while maintaining their high performance. Here we report a room-temperature solution-phase approach to grow an ultra-thin, epitaxial gold coating on AgNWs to effectively shield the Ag surface from environmental oxidation. The Ag@Au core-shell nanowires (Ag@Au NWs) remain stable in air for over six months, under elevated temperature and humidity (80 °C and 100% humidity) for twelve weeks, in physiological buffer solutions for three weeks, and can survive overnight treatment of an oxidative solution (2% H2O2). The Ag@Au core-shell NWs demonstrated comparable performance as pristine AgNWs in various electronic, optical, and mechanical devices, such as transparent mesh electrodes, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrates, plasmonic waveguides, plasmonic nanofocusing probes, and high-aspect-ratio, high-resolution atomic force microscopy (AFM) probes. These Au@Ag core-shell NWs offer a universal solution towards chemically-stable AgNW-based devices without compromising material property or device performance.


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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under gant No. CHE-1654794. The authors acknowledge Prof. Yadong Yin from the Department of Chemistry, UC Riverside for helpful discussion.

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Correspondence to Ruoxue Yan.

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Ultrathin-shell epitaxial Ag@Au core-shell nanowires for high-performance and chemically-stable electronic, optical, and mechanical devices

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Zhu, Y., Kim, S., Ma, X. et al. Ultrathin-shell epitaxial Ag@Au core-shell nanowires for high-performance and chemically-stable electronic, optical, and mechanical devices. Nano Res. 14, 4294–4303 (2021).

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  • epitaxial growth
  • core-shell nanowire
  • plasmonic waveguides
  • atomic force microscopy (AFM) probe
  • transparent electrode
  • wearable electronics