Molecular dynamics study on structural and atomic evolution between Au and Ni nanoparticles through coalescence

BQ Li and J Li and XQ Su and YM Cui, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 11, 15432 (2021).

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-94822-0

Motivated by the structure evolution experiments of Janus NiAu nanoparticles (NPs), we present a detailed study on the thermodynamic evolution of Ni and Au NPs with different ratios of Au and Ni through the molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. It is found that, for fixed Ni particle size (5.8 nm in diameter), the energy variation with the increasing temperature is related to the Au sizes (1.5-9.6 nm in diameter), due to the diverse atomic segregation modes. For a small Au particle, due to lattice induction, the structure will change from order to disorder and then to order. The interface defects of the merging NPs could be automatically eliminated by coalescence processes. The change in energy as the temperature increases is similar to that of monometallic NPs. For larger Au particles, the irregular variation of energy occurs and the atomic energy experience one or two reductions at least with the increase of the temperature. The segregation of Au atoms to the surface of Ni particle is dominant during the continuous heating process. The coalescence processes of Au atoms strongly determine the final morphology of the particles. Dumbbell-like, Janus and eccentric core-shell spherical structures could be obtained during the heating process. Our results will provide an effective approach to the design of novel materials with specific properties through thermal control.

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