Morphological evolution of nanocluster aggregates and single crystals in alkaline zinc electrodeposition

Divyaraj Desai, Damon E. Turney, Balasubramanian Anantharaman, Daniel Artemus Steingart, Sanjoy Banerjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The morphology of Zn electrodeposits is studied on carbon-coated transmission electron microscopy grids. At low overpotentials (η = -50 mV), the morphology develops by aggregation at two distinct length scales: ∼5 nm diameter monocrystalline nanoclusters form ∼50 nm diameter polycrystalline aggregates, and the aggregates form a branched network. Epitaxial (000̄2) growth above an overpotential of |ηc| > 125 mV leads to the formation of hexagonal single crystals up to 2 μm in diameter. Potentiostatic current transients were used to calculate the nucleation rate from Scharifker et al.'s model. The exp(η) dependence of the nucleation rates indicates that atomistic nucleation theory explains the nucleation process better than Volmer-Weber theory. A kinetic model is provided using the rate equations of vapor solidification to simulate the evolution of the different morphologies. On solving these equations, we show that aggregation is attributed to cluster impingement and cluster diffusion while single-crystal formation is attributed to direct attachment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8656-8666
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 24 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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