Inoculation of silicon nanoparticles with silver atoms

Cathal Cassidy, Vidyadhar Singh, Panagiotis Grammatikopoulos, Flyura Djurabekova, Kai Nordlund, Mukhles Sowwan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Silicon (Si) nanoparticles were coated inflight with silver (Ag) atoms using a novel method to prepare multicomponent heterostructured metal-semiconductor nanoparticles. Molecular dynamics (MD) computer simulations were employed, supported by high-resolution bright field (BF) transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) with a resolution ≤0.1â≤..nm in high angle annular dark field (HAADF) mode. These studies revealed that the alloying behavior and phase dynamics during the coating process are more complex than when attaching hetero-atoms to preformed nanoparticles. According to the MD simulations, Ag atoms condense, nucleate and diffuse into the liquid Si nanoparticles in a process that we term "inoculation", and a phase transition begins. Subsequent solidification involves an intermediate alloying stage that enabled us to control the microstructure and crystallinity of the solidified hybrid heterostructured nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3083
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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