Through thin film ablation of iron-nickel pixel target

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Materials Engineering


Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering


Advisor: P. Terrence Murray


A novel multi-element nanoparticle synthesis technique, noted pixel target ablation (PTA) is reported here. In the experiments described here, Iron-Nickel pixel targets were prepared on a transparent disc by sputtering and by photolithography. By irradiating the target materials from the backside, the laser energy breaks the target materials into metal atoms, which then forms nanoparticles by recombination in the gas phase. The nanoparticles were subsequently captured by a substrate. The degree of interaction between the two metals species and the plume dynamics of this method were examined. The average composition and size distribution of synthesized nanoparticles were studied using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) respectively. The results show that this process has congruent transformation of target materials weight ratio to particle composition, and controllable particle size distribution with no agglomeration. Additionally, the structure of the particles was determined by the use of X-ray diffraction (XRD). Samples were prepared by ablation in vacuum and in the presence of a background gas. A mixture of single-metallic and alloyed nanoparticles were collected. The implications of these observations for multi-element nanoparticle synthesis are discussed.


Laser ablation, Photolithography, Nanoparticles Synthesis, Through thin film ablation

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