The structural characteristics of silver nanoparticles embedded in glass by various routes of fabrication were studied in detail using high-resolution electron microscopy to find out if they are influenced by interaction with the surrounding glass matrix. Besides the formation conditions, the strength of the interaction between metal and glass governs the size-dependent changes of lattice spacings in such nanoparticles. However, determination of these changes is not straightforward because of complicated particle configurations and the interference nature of the lattice imaging technique. Imaging of lattice plane fringes and careful diffractogram analysis allowed the exclusion of any kind of tetragonal lattice distortion or transformation to hexagonal lattice type that may be deduced at first sight. Instead, the formation of twin faults in these nanoparticles turned out to be the essential structural feature and the main source of confusion about the lattice structure observed. The variety of particle forms is comparable to particles supported on oxide carriers. It is composed of single-crystalline particles of nearly cuboctahedron shape, particles containing single twin faults, multiple twinned particles containing parallel twin lamellae, and multiple twinned particles composed of cyclic twinned segments arranged around axes of 5-fold symmetry. The more twin planes involved in the particle composition, the more complicated is the interpretation of lattice spacings and lattice fringe patterns due to superposition of several twin segments.
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Hofmeister, H., Tan, G.L. & Dubiel, M. Shape and internal structure of silver nanoparticles embedded in glass. Journal of Materials Research 20, 1551–1562 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1557/JMR.2005.0197