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Low temperature solid-state wetting and formation of nanowelds in silver nanowires

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Goebelt,  Manuela
Christiansen Research Group, Research Groups, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Christiansen,  Silke
Christiansen Research Group, Research Groups, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;
Helmoltz-Center Berlin for Materials & Energy (HZB);
Free University of Berlin, Phys Dept;

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Citation

Radmilovic, V. V., Goebelt, M., Ophus, C., Christiansen, S., Spiecker, E., & Radmilovic, V. R. (2017). Low temperature solid-state wetting and formation of nanowelds in silver nanowires. NANOTECHNOLOGY, 28(38): 385701. doi:10.1088/1361-6528/aa7eb8.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-8873-5
Abstract
This article focuses on the microscopic mechanism of thermally induced nanoweld formation between silver nanowires (AgNWs) which is a key process for improving electrical conductivity in NW networks employed for transparent electrodes. Focused ion beam sectioning and transmission electron microscopy were applied in order to elucidate the atomic structure of a welded NW including measurement of the wetting contact angle and characterization of defect structure with atomic accuracy, which provides fundamental information on the welding mechanism. Crystal lattice strain, obtained by direct evaluation of atomic column displacements in high resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy images, was shown to be non-uniform among the five twin segments of the AgNW pentagonal structure. It was found that the pentagonal cross-sectional morphology of AgNWs has a dominant effect on the formation of nanowelds by controlling initial wetting as well as diffusion of Ag atoms between the NWs. Due to complete solid-state wetting, at an angle of similar to 4.8 degrees, the welding process starts with homoepitaxial nucleation of an initial Ag layer on (100) surface facets, considered to have an infinitely large radius of curvature. However, the strong driving force for this process due to the Gibbs-Thomson effect, requires the NW contact to occur through the corner of the pentagonal cross-section of the second NW providing a small radius of curvature. After the initial layer is formed, the welded zone continues to grow and extends out epitaxially to the neighboring twin segments.