The reconstructed vicinal (high index) silicon surfaces, such as, Si (5 5 12) composes row-like structures that can be used as templates for growing aligned nanowires. By using a sub-monolayers of Ag, prior to Au deposition on reconstructed Si (5 512) surface, intermixing of Au and Ag, enhancement of aspect ratio of bimetallic Au–Ag nanowires with tunable morphology is reported. This is attributed to a combined effect of pre-grown Ag strips as nucleation centers for incoming Au ad-atoms and anisotropic Au–Ag intermixing. To achieve optimum conditions for the growth of larger aspect ratio Au–Ag nanostructures, the growth kinetics have been studied by varying growth and annealing temperatures. At ≈400 °C, the Ag diffused into silicon substrate and the inter-diffusion found to inhibit the formation of Au–Ag bimetallic nanostructures. Controlled experiments under ultra-high vacuum condition in a molecular beam epitaxy system and in-situ scanning tunneling microscopy measurements along with ex-situ scanning transmission and secondary electron microscopy measurements have been carried out to understand the bimetallic nanostructure growth. Kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC) simulations based on kinematics of ad-atoms on an anisotropic template with a solid on solid model in which the relative ratios of binding energies (that are obtained from the Density Functional Theory) have been used and the KMC simulations results agree with the experimental observations. Advantage of having bimetallic structures as effective substrates for Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy application is demonstrated by detecting Rhodamine 6 G (R6G) molecule at the concentration of 10−7 M.
- Au–Ag bimetallic nanostructure
- Kinetic Monte Carlo simulations
- Si (5512)
- Vicinal surfaces