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Issue 13, 2013
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Mechanism of morphology transformation during annealing of nanostructured gold films on glass

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Nanostructured, just-percolated gold films were prepared by evaporation on bare glass. Annealing of the films at temperatures close to or higher than the softening temperature of the glass substrate induces morphological transformation to discrete Au islands and gradual embedding of the formed islands in the glass. The mechanism and kinetics of these processes are studied here using a combination of in situ high-temperature optical spectroscopy; ex situ characterization of the island shape by high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (HRSEM), atomic force microcopy (AFM) and cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy (TEM); and numerical simulations of transmission spectra using the Multiple Multipole Program (MMP) approach. It is shown that the morphological transformation of just-percolated, 10 nm (nominal thickness) Au films evaporated on glass and annealed at 600 °C, i.e., in the vicinity of the substrate glass transition temperature (Tg = 557 °C), proceeds via three processes exhibiting different time scales: (i) fast recrystallization and dewetting, leading to formation of single-crystalline islands (minutes); the initial spectrum characteristic of a continuous Au film is transformed to that of an island film, displaying a surface plasmon (SP) absorption band. (ii) Reshaping and faceting of the single-crystalline islands accompanied by formation of circumferential glass rims around them (first few hours); the overall optical response shows a blue shift of the SP band. (iii) Gradual island embedding in the glass substrate (tens of hours), seen as a characteristic red shift of the SP band. The influence of the annealing atmosphere (air, vacuum) on the embedding process is found to be minor. Numerical modeling of the extinction cross-section corresponding to the morphological transformations during island recrystallization and embedding is in qualitative agreement with the experimental data.

Graphical abstract: Mechanism of morphology transformation during annealing of nanostructured gold films on glass

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 Jan 2013, accepted on 07 Feb 2013 and first published on 25 Feb 2013

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3CP50198A
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013,15, 4656-4665

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    Mechanism of morphology transformation during annealing of nanostructured gold films on glass

    T. Karakouz, A. B. Tesler, T. Sannomiya, Y. Feldman, A. Vaskevich and I. Rubinstein, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013, 15, 4656
    DOI: 10.1039/C3CP50198A

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