Thin silica films containing Au nanoparticles were prepared by cosputtering. The kinetics of the growth of nanoparticles under 90MeV Ni ion irradiation was studied by in situ x-ray diffraction. The growth of nanoparticles from 4 (for pristine) to 9nm at a fluence of 1×1014ionscm2 was observed, in accordance with the observations made by transmission electron microscopy analyses. The present study shows that the ion irradiation is an effective tool for tailoring the size of nanoparticles. The results are discussed in the framework of thermal spike model.

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