Static and in situ TEM investigation of phase relationships, phase dissolution, and interface motion in Ag-Au-Cu alloy nanoparticles

K. Chatterjee, J. M. Howe, W. C. Johnson, M. Murayama

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Ternary nanoparticles of Ag-Au-Cu alloy were fabricated by physical vapor deposition of a ternary alloy source onto a heated amorphous carbon film in ultra-high vacuum. The as-cooled nanoparticles were studied using bright-field imaging, selected-area diffraction, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and high-resolution imaging in the transmission electron microscope (TEM). These analyses revealed the presence of two phases in the 20-50 nm diameter nanoparticles: a Ag-rich fcc α1 phase and an ordered L1 2 phase (AuCu3 prototype). The phases were found to have a cube-on-cube (or parallel) orientation relationship with α1- L12 interfaces that were parallel to {1 0 0}. In situ heating of the particles in the TEM showed that the α1-L12 {1 0 0} interface dissolved by steps one moiré-fringe spacing high, consistent with recent theories of interface movement. In contrast to previous studies on the stability of ordered phases in Au-Cu alloys, the ordered L12 phase in the Ag-Au-Cu alloy remained at temperatures several hundred degrees higher than predicted from the equilibrium bulk phase diagram. This may be caused by elastic stabilization of the phase due to the small size of the particles and/or composition modulations induced by the surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2923-2935
Number of pages13
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Jun 7 2004
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys

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