Controlled Deposition, Soft Landing, and Glass Formation in Nanocluster-Surface Collisions

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Science  28 May 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5112, pp. 1304-1307
DOI: 10.1126/science.260.5112.1304


Molecular dynamics simulations have been used to investigate the dynamics and redistribution of energy during the impact of a nanocrystal with adsorbed liquid films. Although impact of a 32-molecule NaCl cluster on a solid surface at 3 kilometers per second leads to melting, disordering, fragmentation, and rebounding, the same size cluster colliding with a liquid neon film transfers its energy efficiently to the liquid for a controlled soft landing. Impact on a higher density film (argon) leads to rapid attenuation of the cluster velocity, accompanied by fast heating. Subsequent disordering, melting, and fast cooling by evaporation of argon quench the cluster to a glassy state. These results suggest a method for the controlled growth of nanophase materials.