Only minimum amounts of carbon can be incorporated into silver, gold, and copper in a thermodynamically stable form. Here, the structure of stable silver carbon alloys is described, which are produced by thermoelectrically charging molten silver with carbon ions. Transmission electron microscopy and Raman scattering are combined to establish that large amount of carbon is accommodated in the form of epitaxial graphene-like sheets. The carbon bonds covalently to the silver matrix as predicted from density functional theory (DFT) calculations with bond energies in the range 1.1-2.2 eV per atom or vacancy. Graphitic-like sheets embedded in the crystal lattice of silver form 3D epitaxial structures with the host metal with a strain of ≈13% compared to equilibrium graphene. The carbon nanostructures persist upon remelting and resolidification. A DFT-based analysis of the phonon density of states confirms the presence of intense vibration modes related to the Ag-C bonds observed in the Raman spectra of the alloy. The solid silver-high carbon alloy, termed "Ag-covetic," displays room temperature electrical conductivity of 5.62 × 10<sup>7</sup> S m<sup>-1</sup> even for carbon concentrations of up to ≈6 wt% (36 at%). This process of incorporation of carbon presents a new paradigm for electrocharging assisted bulk processing.
- hybrid materials
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials