Nanoporous structures are widely used for many applications and hence it is important to investigate their thermal stability. We study the stability of spherical nanoporous aggregates using phase-field simulations that explore systematically the effect of grain boundary diffusion, surface diffusion, and grain boundary mobility on the pathways for microstructural evolution. Our simulations for different combinations of surface and GB diffusivity and GB mobility show four distinct microstructural pathways en route to 100% density: multiple closed pores, hollow shells, hollow shells with a core, and multiple interconnected pores. The microstructures from our simulations are consistent with experimental observations in several different systems. Our results have important implications for rational synthesis of hollow nanostructures or aggregates with open pores, and for controlling the stability of nanoporous aggregates that are widely used for many applications.
ACS Nano 03/2011; 5(4):2700-6. DOI:10.1021/nn103036q · 12.03 Impact Factor