Core-Satellite Gold Nanoparticle Complexes Grown by Inert Gas-Phase Condensation

JL Zhao and A Mayoral and L Martinez and MP Johansson and F Djurabekova and Y Huttel, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, 124, 24441-24450 (2020).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.0c07346

Spontaneous growth of complexes consisted of a number of individual nanoparticles in a controlled manner, particularly in demanding environments of gas-phase synthesis, is a fascinating opportunity for numerous potential applications. Here, we report the formation of such core-satellite gold nanoparticle structures grown by magnetron sputtering inert gas condensation. Combining high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy and computational simulations, we reveal the adhesive and screening role of H2O molecules in formation of stable complexes consisted of one nanoparticle surrounded by smaller satellites. A single layer of H2O molecules, condensed between large and small gold nanoparticles, stabilizes positioning of nanoparticles with respect to one another during milliseconds of the synthesis time. The lack of isolated small gold nanoparticles on the substrate is explained by Brownian motion that is significantly broader for small-size particles. It is inferred that H2O as an admixture in the inert gas condensation opens up possibilities of controlling the final configuration of the different noble metal nanoparticles.

Return to Publications page