Structural transformations in Cu, Ag, and Au metal nanoclusters

M Settem and C Roncaglia and R Ferrando and A Giacomello, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 159, 094303 (2023).

DOI: 10.1063/5.0159257

Finite-temperature structures of Cu, Ag, and Au metal nanoclusters are calculated in the entire temperature range from 0 K to melting using a computational methodology that we proposed recently M. Settem et al., Nanoscale 14, 939 (2022). In this method, Harmonic Superposition Approximation (HSA) and Parallel Tempering Molecular Dynamics (PTMD) are combined in a complementary manner. HSA is accurate at low temperatures and fails at higher temperatures. PTMD, on the other hand, effectively samples the high temperature region and melts. This method is used to study the size- and system-dependent competition between various structural motifs of Cu, Ag, and Au nanoclusters in the size range 1-2 nm. Results show that there are mainly three types of structural changes in metal nanoclusters, depending on whether a solid-solid transformation occurs. In the first type, the global minimum is the dominant motif in the entire temperature range. In contrast, when a solid-solid transformation occurs, the global minimum transforms either completely to a different motif or partially, resulting in the co-existence of multiple motifs. Finally, nanocluster structures are analyzed to highlight the system-specific differences across the three metals.

Return to Publications page