two distinct branch–stem interfacial structures of silver dendrites with vertical and slanted...

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    1. Introduction

    Much effort has been devoted to undegrowth phenomena theoretically and expersuch phenomena, dendrites are one of thetigated topics due to their attractive struc

    ationsrs [5]scriptioerlyingesignab

    ing interface in the oriented attachment of nanoparticles [7,8].As for growth under non-equilibrium conditions, the distance

    from equilibrium is important [11,12] but generally not easily con-trolled [13]. Electrochemistry is in this context especially conve-nient, because the distance can be tuned continuously andreversibly by the electrode potential. Particular attention has beenfocused on the study of the formation and growth of silver

    dendrites by various sonoelectrochemical methods with the assis-

    2. Experiment

    Silver dendrites were fabricated by a sonoelectrochemical reac-tion with silver perchloride solutions as electrolytes. The simpletwo-electrode setup was described previously [1619]. Two iden-tical silver sheets (2 cm 2 cm) were cleaned with acetone, hydro-chloric acid and distilled water to remove surface contamination.The sheets were xed on the two opposing sides of an electro-chemical cell 4 cm apart in order to serve as the working cathodeand counter anode. The electrolyte concentration (C), current den-sity (J), and the reaction time (t) were about 1.0 104 to 5 103

    * Corresponding author. Fax: +86 25 8359 5535.

    Chemical Physics Letters 477 (2009) 179183

    Contents lists availab


    .e lE-mail address: (X. Meng).well dened branchstem angles) resulting in desired properties.Many studies have focused on the mechanisms of dendritic growth[1,2,710]. Some novel growth scenarios have been recently pro-posed. Ding et al. [9] reported a double-interface growth mode ofsilver in a replacement reaction where dendritic growth was con-trolled by the formation of an amorphous phase and its crystalliza-tion. Cheng et al. [8] demonstrated that dendritic structure canemerge from oriented attachment of nanoparticles. Ostwald ripen-ing forms the initial particles and also smoothes the morphologyafter attachment. Dislocations are known to originate at the bond-

    sonoelectrochemical process involving silver: the surfactant-free,constant-current method leads to both, vertical branching and alsoa slanted growth, sometimes even along the same stem. High res-olution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) reveals twodistinct microstructures underlying the different interfaces. Theorigin of such dissimilar interfacial structures will be discussedin light of the many new proposals concerning non-equilibriumgrowth.area [3], both leading to many applicsis [4], chemical/biochemical sensoRaman scattering [6]. Detailed deimportant to understand the undwhich in turn is crucial to achieve d0009-2614/$ - see front matter 2009 Elsevier B.V. Adoi:10.1016/j.cplett.2009.06.087rstand non-equilibriumimentally [1,2]. Amongmost intensively inves-tures and large surface, for example in cataly-and surface-enhancedn of the structure isgrowth mechanisms,le structures (e.g. with

    tance of organic capping agents such as nitrilotriacetate [14], gela-tin [15] and poly (vinyl pyrrolidone) [16]. Generally, branchingangles vary in a range from 15 to 90 [5]. Many factors affectingstructure have been discussed [2,13,16], but the detailed growthmechanisms are still unknown. It remains unclear how thebranches emerge from the stems; how the interplay of nucleationand growth at the microscopic scale results in specic densities,branching angles and so on.

    In this work, we describe the discovery and investigation of twobranchstem interfacial structures occurring simultaneously in aTwo distinct branchstem interfacial struand slanted branchings

    Shaochun Tang, Sascha Vongehr, Xiangkang Meng *

    National Laboratory of Solid State Microstructures, Department of Materials Science and

    a r t i c l e i n f o

    Article history:Received 12 May 2009In nal form 26 June 2009Available online 1 July 2009

    a b s t r a c t

    Silver dendrites synthesizetron microscopy (TEM) indrites are found to formbranching. Investigation oattach at a characteristic trning induced dislocations.growth leads to obliquenrealignment results in ver

    Chemical Ph

    journal homepage: wwwll rights reserved.tures of silver dendrites with vertical

    ineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, Peoples Republic of China

    y sonoelectrochemical deposition are investigated via transmission elec-r to clarify the formation of specic branching angles. Two kinds of den-ultaneously; one has slanted angles while the other shows orthogonale branchstem interfacial structures reveals that the vertical branchesition layer around the main stem, while the slanted growth involves twin-suggested that oriented attachment of nanoparticles followed by epitaxialwhile crystallization of amorphous phase involving grain rotation andbranching.

    2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    le at ScienceDirect

    sics Letters

    sevier .com/ locate /cplet t

  • mol/L, 1.25 to 2.5 mA/cm2 and 10 to 20 min, respectively. Electrol-ysis was conducted at room temperature under continuous 40 kHzultrasonic vibration at 50 W power. Products were precipitatedand puried by ve centrifugation/rinsing/redispersion steps withdeionized water and ethanol.

    The products were collected, dried at 40 C for 12 h in anoven, and characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) with a D/Max-RA X-ray diffractometer (using Cu Ka = 1.5418 radiation).Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) samples were preparedby dripping suspensions of the dendrites onto a carbon lmcovering a copper grid and subsequent drying. TEM measurementwas performed with an FEI TECNAI F20 microscope operating at200 kV.

    3. Results and discussion

    Fig. 1 shows an XRD pattern of the as-synthesized product from

    180 S. Tang et al. / Chemical Physics L30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80



    (200)(220) (311)a typical experiment (C, V and t were 1.1 103 mol/L, 1.25 mA/cm2 and 20 min). The XRD pattern reveals that these Ag dendritesare cubic Ag (a = 4.09 , JCPDS 04-0783). The diffraction peaks ob-served can be indexed as (1 1 1), (2 0 0), (2 2 0) and (3 1 1) planesof the face-centered cubic (fcc) structure, respectively. An absenceof other peaks indicates a high purity of the silver.

    Over the whole range of investigated conditions, the sonoelect-rochemical reaction always produces two types of dendrites. In theTEM images they are easily distinguished by their specic anglesbetween branches and the main stem. TEM images of two typicaldendritic structures in the product (Fig. 1) are shown in Fig. 2aand b. In Fig. 2a, the branches are approximately parallel to eachother and attach basically perpendicular to the stem (branchingangle is 90). Also, most branches point towards one side of thestem. The structure looks two dimensional although it grew insolution. It is known that the growth happened in solution, becausewithout ultrasound irradiation, all the products adhere to the cath-ode while the electrolyte remains clear, and our TEM observations(not shown) evidenced that the products adhering to the cathodeare large conglomerates totally different from the dendrites shownin Fig. 2a. The branches of the dendrite in Fig. 2b show angles of5361 towards the main stem; coinciding with many previousreports [5,20,21]. Such angles indicate that the growth is globallydiffusion-controlled. This slanted branching is more commonlyobserved under non-equilibrium conditions [5,16,21,22] and alsohappens to be the more prominent in our products. The insets inFig. 2a and b magnify the areas inside the white dashed squares

    (111) (degrees)

    Fig. 1. XRD pattern of as-synthesized silver dendrites.and exhibit the branching angles more clearly, i.e. a vertical (insetof Fig. 2a) and a slanted growth (inset of Fig. 2b) clearly distin-guishes the dendrites. Sometimes, both types of growth evenappear on different sections of the same individual dendrite(Fig. 2c). The areas representing vertical and slanted growth aredenoted as area V and S, respectively.

    To reveal the origin of such dissimilar branchings, the branchstem interfacial structure was analyzed with much higher resolu-tion. Fig. 3a shows a magnication of the area V, and the insetfurther magnies the squared area (black dashed). The strong con-trast between the innermost and subsequent outer parts of thestem in area V suggests a coreshell structure. We henceforth callthis subsequent shell transition layer, because there is yet anotheroutermost coating. That outermost surface of the dendrite is lessobvious (has less contrast) and is therefore specically labeled inthe inset of Fig. 3a. A HRTEM image (Fig. 3b) magnifying the areainside the larger dashed square in the inset of Fig. 3a reveals thatthe outermost layer is amorphous, which indicates that an amor-phous phase or growth front may have been forming rst in thissonoelectrochemical growth process. A few very small crystalliteswith different crystallographic orientations are present in theamorphous layer (arrows in the inset of Fig. 3a and white dashedcircles in 3b). Such an amorphous layer has been observed in thegrowth of silver dendrites fabricated by a replacement reaction[9]. Similar amorphous regions involving InAs dendrites were re-ported by May et al. [23]. It is clearly seen (Fig. 3b) that the transi-tion layer is single-crystalline. The fringe spacing of 0.23 nmimplies that these are interplanar spacings of (1 1 1) planes. More-over, these fringes run continuously through both the transitionlayer and the branch. Both belong to a single crystal and the con-nection between branch and stem is not simply a physical contactbut rather like an epitaxial growth. The branches are not perpen-dicular to the s