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Interface-mediated Kirkendall effect and nanoscale void migration in bimetallic nanoparticles during interdiffusion

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Abstract

At elevated temperatures, bimetallic nanomaterials change their morphologies because of the interdiffusion of atomic species, which also alters their properties. The Kirkendall effect (KE) is a well-known phenomenon associated with such interdiffusion. Here, we show how KE can manifest in bimetallic nanoparticles (NPs) by following core–shell NPs of Au and Pd during heat treatment with in situ transmission electron microscopy. Unlike monometallic NPs, these core–shell NPs did not evolve into hollow core NPs. Instead, nanoscale voids formed at the bimetallic interface and then, migrated to the NP surface. Our results show that: (1) the direction of vacancy flow during interdiffusion reverses due to the higher vacancy formation energy of Pd compared to Au, and (2) nanoscale voids migrate during heating, contrary to conventional assumptions of immobile voids and void shrinkage through vacancy emission. Our results illustrate how void behavior in bimetallic NPs can differ from an idealized picture based on atomic fluxes and have important implications for the design of these materials for high-temperature applications.

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Chee, S. W., Wong, Z. M., Baraissov, Z., Tan, S. F., Tan, T. L., & Mirsaidov, U. (2019). Interface-mediated Kirkendall effect and nanoscale void migration in bimetallic nanoparticles during interdiffusion. Nature Communications, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10623-0

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