We report the evolution of titanium dioxide nanostructures when Au nanoparticles, supported on single crystal TiO2 substrates, were heated under ∼260 Pa of flowing O2 in an environmental transmission electron microscope. Nanostructures with different morphologies were first observed around 500°C. Our measurements show that temperature, oxygen pressure, and the electron beam control the nanostructure growth. We propose a reaction-controlled growth mechanism where mobile Ti atoms generated by the electron- beam-induced reduction of TiO2 are preferentially reoxidized at the Au-TiO2 interface.
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