On Self-Limiting Rotation and Diffusion Mechanisms during Sintering of Silver Nanowires

MN Jahangir and H Devaraj and R Malhotra, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, 124, 19849-19857 (2020).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.0c05716

Understanding the mechanisms and kinetics of thermal sintering between silver nanowires (NWs) is critical for multiple emerging applications. We use molecular dynamics simulations to reveal the kinetics and mechanisms of sintering between stacked silver NW pairs with nonparallel axes, which realistically mimics geometric configurations in experimentally relevant NW networks. Relative NW orientation has a hitherto-unknown but significant and nonlinear influence on inter-NW neck growth. This is due to a dynamic interaction between surprisingly high rigid-body rotation of the NWs, atomic diffusion, and dislocation generation that demarcates diffusion-dominated and dislocation-dominated regimes of neck growth. Thus, the current assumption that the relative orientation of NWs has a purely geometric and quasi-static effect on NW sintering is incomplete. Our findings also stress the need to consider the effect of large local rotations and the consequently large spatial gradients in neck growth on sintering-driven properties (e.g., electrical) of NW networks, yielding new knowledge that will play a key role in the rational design and processing of NW networks.

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