Time-lapse studies of a film of passivated gold nanoparticles under electron beam irradiation have been performed using a transmission electron microscope, revealing the microscopic dynamics of the sintering process at the single nanoparticle level. It is found that the sintering of individual passivated gold nanoparticles under electron irradiation is local and mainly depends on the sensitivity of the passivating ligands to the electron beam. A multilayer film is less stable than monolayer film, consistent with the enhanced generation of secondary electrons. The observations also reveal a significant difference between the sintering of passivated nanoparticles and bare metal particles, especially regarding the size effect on the sintering rate. The formation of a neck between adjacent nanoparticles further indicates a mechanism driven by surface diffusion rather than Ostwald ripening at the initial sintering stage.
- physics' electon beam