Direct observation of nanowire growth and decomposition

Simas Rackauskas, Sergey D. Shandakov, Hua Jiang, Jakob B. Wagner, Albert G. Nasibulin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Fundamental concepts of the crystal formation suggest that the growth and decomposition are determined by simultaneous embedding and removal of the atoms. Apparently, by changing the crystal formation conditions one can switch the regimes from the growth to decomposition. To the best of our knowledge, so far this has been only postulated, but never observed at the atomic level. By means of in situ environmental transmission electron microscopy we monitored and examined the atomic layer transformation at the conditions of the crystal growth and its decomposition using CuO nanowires selected as a model object. The atomic layer growth/decomposition was studied by varying an O2 partial pressure. Three distinct regimes of the atomic layer evolution were experimentally observed: growth, transition and decomposition. The transition regime, at which atomic layer growth/decomposition switch takes place, is characterised by random nucleation of the atomic layers on the growing {111} surface. The decomposition starts on the side of the nanowire by removing the atomic layers without altering the overall crystal structure, which besides the fundamental importance offers new possibilities for the nanowire manipulation. Understanding of the crystal growth kinetics and nucleation at the atomic level is essential for the precise control of 1D crystal formation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number12310
    JournalScientific Reports
    Volume7
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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