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Metal and Metal-oxide Nanoparticle Synthesis by Laser Ablation of Aqueous Aerosols

  • Kristofer L. Gleason (a1), John W. Keto (a2), Desiderio Kovar (a3) and Michael F. Becker (a1)

Abstract

We present a scalable, continuous manufacturing method of nanoparticle production based on laser ablation of an aerosol generated from an aqueous precursor solution. A Collison nebulizer is used to generate a mist of ~10 μm diameter water droplets containing dissolved transition metal salts, suspended in 1 atmosphere of buffer gas. Water from the droplets quickly evaporates, leaving solid particles ~2 μm in diameter for a typical solution concentration. These microparticles are then ablated by a pulsed KrF excimer laser (10 ns, λ = 248 nm, 2 J/cm2 at focus). Ablation results in plasma breakdown of the microparticle and photothermal decomposition of the precursor material. Following ablation, nanoparticles 5-20 nm in diameter are formed and collected. For AgNO3 ablated in He gas, metal Ag nanoparticles were produced. For Cu(NO3)2 ablated in He, crystalline Cu2O nanoparticles were produced. For Ni(NO3)2 ablated in He, crystalline NiO nanoparticles were produced. A combination of AgNO3 and Cu(NO3)2 ablated in a reducing atmosphere of 10% H2 and 90% He yielded Ag-Cu alloy nanoparticles. In contrast to conventional wet-chemical synthesis processes, our nanoparticles are formed ‘bare,’ without surfactants or organic material contaminating the surface. Owing to their small size and high free surface area, nanoparticles produced by this process are ideally suited for applications that include catalysis and facilitated transport membranes.

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Keywords

Metal and Metal-oxide Nanoparticle Synthesis by Laser Ablation of Aqueous Aerosols

  • Kristofer L. Gleason (a1), John W. Keto (a2), Desiderio Kovar (a3) and Michael F. Becker (a1)

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