Nucleation and growth of silver nanoparticles by AB and ABC-type atomic layer deposition

Sicelo S. Masango, Lingxuan Peng, Laurence D. Marks, Richard P. Van Duyne, Peter C. Stair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, we report synthesis strategies to produce Ag nanoparticles by AB-type and ABC-type atomic layer deposition (ALD) using trimethylphosphine(hexafluoroacetylacetonato) silver(I) ((hfac)Ag(PMe 3)) and formalin (AB-type) and (hfac)Ag(PMe3), trimethylaluminum, and H2O (ABC-type). In situ quartz crystal microbalance measurements reveal a Ag growth rate of 1-2 ng/cm2/cycle by ABC-type ALD at 110 °C and 2-10 ng/cm2/cycle for AB-type ALD at 170-200 °C. AB-type Ag ALD has a nucleation period before continuous linear growth that is shorter at 200 °C. Transmission electron microscopy reveals that AB-type Ag ALD particles have an average size of ∼1.8 nm after 10 cycles. ABC-type Ag ALD particles have an average size of ∼2.2 nm after 20 cycles. With increasing ALD cycles, ABC-type Ag ALD increases the metal loading while maintaining the particle size but AB-type Ag ALD results in the formation of bigger particles in addition to small particles. The ability to synthesize supported metal nanoparticles with well-defined particle sizes and narrow size distributions makes ALD an attractive synthesis method compared to conventional wet chemistry techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17655-17661
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - Aug 7 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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