Noble metallic nanoparticles with unique plasmonic properties are useful in a variety of applications including bio-imaging, sensing, cancer therapy, etc. The properties of metallic nanoparticles can be tuned in multiple ways, among which laser welding is a highly efficient method. In this study, laser-induced inter-welding of Ag-Au nanoparticle (NP) dimers was investigated using in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). For the first time, the welding process was directly visualized. The structural and compositional evolution of Ag-Au dimers was studied in detail, and several typical nanostructures formed during the welding process, including two types of core-shell structures, were discovered. Based on these observations, we proposed a complete mechanism explaining how welding proceeds under the influence of a laser. Finite difference time domain (FDTD) simulations demonstrated that the plasmonic properties of welded Ag-Au dimers were different from those of pure Au-Au or Ag-Ag dimers and can be tuned by forming shells, alloying or changing the size ratio of Ag and Au NPs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Young Investigator Program of Department of Defense Office of Naval Research (CBET-1437219).