Vortex-induced aggregation in superfluid helium droplets
The formation of Ag nanoparticles by the addition of Ag atoms to helium droplets has been investigated. The resulting nanoparticles were then imaged by transmission electron microscopy after being deposited on a thin solid surface. In large helium droplets chains of Ag nanorods were observed similar to recently reported track-like deposits [Gomez et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., 2012, 108, 155302]. However, by adjusting the experimental conditions chains of spherical nanoparticles could also be seen with a nearly uniform inter-particle spacing. Given that spherical Ag nanoparticles have no intrinsic anisotropy, the only viable explanation is that these particles must be guided into position by interaction with a quantized vortex spanning the diameter of the helium droplet. Furthermore, addition of Si to the droplets immediately after Ag resulted in Si inserting between the Ag nanoparticles to form continuous nanowires. This eliminates the possibility that the segmented Ag nanostructures are the result of nanowire fragmentation when the helium droplets collide with the deposition substrate. Thus segmented Ag chains are shown to be an intrinsic feature of Ag aggregation in helium droplets in the presence of a quantized vortex.