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Nanoscale. 2015 Jan 14;7(2):492-9. doi: 10.1039/c4nr04768k.

Tailored synthesis of nanostructures by laser irradiation of a precursor microdroplet stream in open-air.

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Universidad de Málaga, Andalucía Tech, Departamento de Física Aplicada I, The Nanotech Unit, Campus de Teatinos, s/n, 29071 Málaga, Spain.


A method to synthesize multicomponent nanostructures in open-air is presented. A microdroplet precursor target is irradiated with a nanosecond laser pulse to induce plasma. At low droplet dispensing rates, the precursor and solvent are fully atomized without debris to produce nanoparticles and nanofilaments during plasma cooling. More complex structures like nanolayers or nanofoams can be synthetised at kilohertz droplet dispensing rates as additional droplets in the vicinity of the target droplet are subjected to the laser-induced plasma and its associated shockwave. Examples of both low- and fast-rate mechanisms are presented for Mn-Fe bi-metal oxide nanoparticles and zinc oxide nanoparticles, nanofilaments and nanofoams. Real-time diagnostics were carried out with time-resolved imaging, atomic emission spectroscopy, light scattering and shadowgraphy. In addition to overcoming some of the difficulties associated with pulsed-laser deposition (PLD), the use of a liquid precursor whose composition can be tailored on a droplet-to-droplet basis opens a number of possibilities.


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