Size effect on the melting temperature of gold particles
Recently, small particles have been shown to exhibit a melting temperature which depends on the particle size. The various possible experimental methods have been compared and measurements of the melting points of small gold particles have been made using a scanning electron-diffraction technique. This method was applied to particles having diameters down to 20 Å. Consideration of the size distribution over an entire sample makes it necessary to carry out a careful analysis of the experimental results in order to deduce the melting temperature of particles having a well-defined diameter. The experimental results are quantitatively in good agreement with two phenomenological models. The first model describes the equilibrium condition for a system formed by a solid particle, a liquid particle having the same mass, and their saturating vapor phase. The second model assumes the preexistence of a liquid layer surrounding the solid particle and describes the equilibrium of such a system in the presence of the vapor phase. In order to permit a better comparison between both models, a new expression for the thermodynamic equilibrium condition has been derived in the present work. In the case of the first model, the agreement was obtained using only the physical constants of massive gold. In applying the second model, however, one is compelled to assume the existence of a liquid layer having a thickness of about 6 Å.