3D Atomic-Scale Dynamics of Laser-Light-Induced Restructuring of Nanoparticles Unraveled by Electron Tomography
W Albrecht and EA Irmak and T Altantzis and A Pedrazo-Tardajos and A Skorikov and TS Deng and JES van der Hoeven and A van Blaaderen and S Van Aert and S Bals, ADVANCED MATERIALS, 33, 2100972 (2021).
Understanding light-matter interactions in nanomaterials is crucial for optoelectronic, photonic, and plasmonic applications. Specifically, metal nanoparticles (NPs) strongly interact with light and can undergo shape transformations, fragmentation and ablation upon (pulsed) laser excitation. Despite being vital for technological applications, experimental insight into the underlying atomistic processes is still lacking due to the complexity of such measurements. Herein, atomic resolution electron tomography is performed on the same mesoporous- silica-coated gold nanorod, before and after femtosecond laser irradiation, to assess the missing information. Combined with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations based on the experimentally determined 3D atomic-scale morphology, the complex atomistic rearrangements, causing shape deformations and defect generation, are unraveled. These rearrangements are simultaneously driven by surface diffusion, facet restructuring, and strain formation, and are influenced by subtleties in the atomic distribution at the surface.
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