Structural evolution of nanoporous gold during thermal coarsening

Yu Chen Karen Chen-Wiegart*, Steve Wang, Yong S. Chu, Wenjun Liu, Ian McNulty, Peter W. Voorhees, David C. Dunand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


The three-dimensional evolution of nanoligaments of nanoporous gold created by Ag-Au dealloying was studied during isothermal coarsening by X-ray nanotomography and microbeam Laue diffraction. The surface normal orientation, curvature and size of the gold nanoligaments were measured as a function of coarsening time (from 2 to 320 min). The following observations were made at 550, 600 and 650 °C. First, the distribution of orientations for the surfaces of the nanoligaments becomes more anisotropic with coarsening time, with an increasing area of the surfaces having a low surface energy, consistent with the growth of facets. Second, the curvature distribution of the nanoligaments (scaled by their size) also evolves during coarsening. The evolution of both surface orientation and scaled surface curvature indicates that coarsening does not occur in a self-similar manner, i.e. the interfacial shape distribution of the gold nanoligaments is not self-similar over time as they coarsen. This is consistent with the ligament size not being described by a classical temporal power law for coarsening systems. All three effects, and in particular the increased prevalence of surfaces with a low surface energy at long coarsening times, may affect the surface functionalities and properties of nanoporous gold in various applications, e.g. as catalysts, sensors and actuators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4972-4981
Number of pages10
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Isothermal heat treatments
  • Metal foam
  • Three-dimensional characterization
  • Transmission X-ray microscopy
  • X-ray computed tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys

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