An electro-elastic theory for the mechanically-assisted photo-induced spin transition in core–shell spin-crossover nanoparticles†
The development of heterostructure materials may lead to new features that cannot be obtained with natural materials. Here we simulate a model structurally hybrid core–shell nanoparticle with different lattice parameters between an electronically inert shell and an active spin crossover core. The nanoparticle consists of a 2D core with 20 × 20 size with square symmetry, surrounded by a shell made of 10 atomic layers. The low temperature photoexcitation of the core shows a significant environment-dependent behavior. In particular, we demonstrate that a shell with a large lattice parameter accelerates the low-spin to high-spin photoexcitation process of the core through the single domain nucleation mechanism while a moderate shell lattice parameter leads to spatially-homogeneous growth of the high-spin fraction. We found that the mechanical retro-action of the shell may cause elastic instability of the core leading to efficient control and manipulation of its photo-conversion.