Interior Melting of Rapidly Heated Gold Nanoparticles

JX Chen and XF Fan and JL Liu and CZ Gu and YF Shi and WT Zheng and DJ Singh, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY LETTERS, 12, 8170-8177 (2021).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.1c02081

Normal melting invariably starts from surfaces or interfaces due to the weaker bonding constraints in these regions. However, we show that melting can be initiated from the interior of gold nanoparticles with high heating rates. We find that melting starts from the surface with the formation of a premelting layer, as usual, but that the premelting layer does not extend to the interior under certain conditions. Instead, liquid nucleation occurs in the core of the nanoparticle. This unexpected interior melting is connected to the slower melting kinetics, which is related to heat transfer near the premelted surface. The required conditions for interior melting are a suitable size of the nanoparticle and a sufficiently fast heating rate. The present results point to a novel melting regime in nanoparticles. We note that the time scales are now accessible using ultrafast tools such as X-ray lasers that can probe dynamical structure changes, suggesting opportunities for experiments.

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