A thin layer of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) was deposited on glass substrates followed by subsequent deposition of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on it. Both AuNPs and AgNPs layers were fabricated by DC magnetron sputtering with inert gas condensation technique. The effect of initial thin layer of AuNPs have on the transformation of AgNPs surface structure by post annealing at 500 °C and 600 °C in air was investigated. The influence of post annealing temperature on the surface morphology was studied by atomic force microscopy and post annealing at 500 °C reduce the size of AgNPs along with the formation of some AgNPs inside the glass matrix. At 600 °C, aggregation of AuNPs on the surface was observed and increased in the number of AgNPs that diffused into the glass matrix. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy was employed to study the surface composition and chemical states. The temperature dependence of Ag diffusion into the glass matrix was characterised and observed by UV–visible absorption spectroscopy and cross sectional transmission electron microscopy. Furthermore, ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy revealed a new shoulder related to Au 6 s hybridized with Au 5d and Ag 4d bands in the 1–4 eV regions, which affirmed the metallic character of AgNPs/AuNPs/glass system at higher annealing temperature. By introducing AuNPs on glass prior to AgNPs deposition, novel properties such as limited Ag ion diffusion and evaporation were found and problems previously encountered in AgNPs/glass system were avoided. The proposed AgNPs/AuNPs/glass system can be useful in plasmonic applications such as chroma filters and photonic devices.
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