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How interface properties control the equilibrium shape of core–shell Fe–Au and Fe–Ag nanoparticles

Abstract : While combining two metals in the same nanoparticle can lead to remarkable novel applications, the resulting structure in terms of crystallinity and shape remains difficult to predict. It is thus essential to provide a detailed atomistic picture of the underlying growth processes. In the present work we address the case of core–shell Fe–Au and Fe–Ag nanoparticles. Interface properties between Fe and the noble metals Au and Ag, computed using DFT, were used to parameterize Fe–Au and Fe–Ag pairwise interactions in combination with available many-body potentials for the pure elements. The growth of Au or Ag shells on nanometric Fe cores with prescribed shapes was then modelled by means of Monte Carlo simulations. The shape of the obtained Fe–Au nanoparticles is found to strongly evolve with the amount of metal deposited on the Fe core, a transition from the polyhedral Wulff shape of bare iron to a cubic shape taking place as the amount of deposited gold exceeds two monolayers. In striking contrast, the growth of silver proceeds in a much more anisotropic, Janus-like way and with a lesser dependence on the iron core shape. In both cases, the predicted morphologies are found to be in good agreement with experimental observations in which the nanoparticles are grown by physical deposition methods. Understanding the origin of these differences, which can be traced back to subtle variations in the electronic structure of the Au/Fe and Ag/Fe interfaces, should further contribute to the better design of core–shell bimetallic nanoparticles.
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Ségolène Combettes, Julien Lam, Patrizio Benzo, Anne Ponchet, Marie-José Casanove, et al.. How interface properties control the equilibrium shape of core–shell Fe–Au and Fe–Ag nanoparticles. Nanoscale, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2020, 12 (35), pp.18079-18090. ⟨10.1039/D0NR04425C⟩. ⟨hal-02989677⟩

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