The structure of AgN clusters (N=1–4, 6, 8, 10), both in the gas phase and grown on the MgO(1 0 0) surface containing Fs-defects, has been investigated by a density functional basin-hopping (DF-BH) approach. In analogy with what observed in the case of gold clusters, it is found that the presence of the defect implies a double frustration and a cylindrical invariance of the metal–surface interaction, causing small Ag clusters growing around the Fs defect to be highly fluxional. Nevertheless, two different structural crossovers are found to be induced by the metal–defect interaction for the adsorbed clusters such that: 1) planar structures prevail for N≤4 (as in the gas phase); 2) noncrystalline (fivefold symmetric) structures, which are the lowest energy ones in the gas phase for medium sized AgN clusters (N≥7), prevail for N=6 and N=8; 3) distorted face-centered cubic (fcc) structures grown pseudomorphically on the defected surface prevail for N=10. The transition from fivefold to fcc motifs is rationalized in terms of the double-frustration effect, which increases the bond strain of the noncrystalline structures. Detrapping energies from the defect were also calculated; the lowest energy pathway corresponds to the detachment of a dimer.
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