Metal nanoparticle arrays are excellent candidates for a variety of applications due to the versatility of their morphology and structure at the nanoscale. Bottom-up self-assembly of metal nanoparticles provides an important complementary alternative to the traditional top-down lithography method and makes it possible to assemble structures with higher-order complexity, for example, nanospheres, nanocubes, and core-shell nanostructures. Here we present a mechanism study of the self-assembly process of 1-D noble metal nanoparticles arrays, composed of Au, Ag, and AuAg alloy nanoparticles. These are prepared within an encapsulated germanium nanowire, obtained by the oxidation of a metal-germanium nanowire hybrid structure. The resulting structure is a 1-D array of equidistant metal nanoparticles with the same diameter, the so-called nanobead (NB) array structure. Atom-probe tomography and transmission electron microscopy were utilized to investigate the details of the morphological and chemical evolution during the oxidation of the encapsulated metal-germanium nanowire hybrid-structures. The self-assembly of nanoparticles relies on the formation of a metal-germanium liquid alloy and the migration of the liquid alloy into the nanowire, followed by dewetting of the liquid during shape-confined oxidation where the liquid column breaks-up into nanoparticles due to the Plateau-Rayleigh instability. Our results demonstrate that the encapsulating oxide layer serves as a structural scaffold, retaining the overall shape during the eutectic liquid formation and demonstrates the relationship between the oxide mechanical properties and the final structural characteristics of the 1-D arrays. The mechanistic details revealed here provide a versatile tool-box for the bottom-up fabrication of 1-D arrays nanopatterning that can be modified for multiple applications according to the RedOx properties of the material system components.
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© 2017 American Chemical Society.
- One-dimensional dewetting
- atom-probe tomography
- germanium oxide nanowire
- hybrid nanostructure
- metal nanobeads (NBs)