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Dewetting of Au nanoparticle assemblies

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Haya Alhummiany
  • Samuel Jarvis
  • Richard A. J. Woolley
  • Andrew Stannard
  • Matthew Blunt
  • Philip Moriarty
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/09/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Materials Chemistry
Issue number42
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)16983-16989
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Atomic force microscopy measurements as a function of annealing temperature, time of exposure to a high relative humidity environment, and scan duration/parameters have been used to ascertain the stability of assemblies of thiol-passivated Au nanoparticles on silicon substrates. Striking changes in the morphology of self-organised nanoparticle patterns are observed following the exposure of samples to atmospheres with a relative humidity of 80%. The nanoparticle film dewets the underlying silicon substrate on exposure to water, forming locally thicker regions. Time-lapse imaging shows that the dewetting proceeds via layer-by-layer growth, and there is no evidence for classical coarsening mechanisms involving self-similar film morphologies. Annealing at temperatures between 100 degrees C and 160 degrees C produces a rather different dewetting effect for the highest temperatures and/or annealing times, where significant nanoparticle sintering promotes the break-up of the two-dimensional assembly. The morphology of the initial 2D film plays a key role in determining the time scale on which annealing promotes nanoparticle dewetting. Dewetting can also be induced by a scanning probe such that localised (micron-scale) areas of the nanoparticle assembly can be converted from 2D to 3D character.