The never-ending quest to build faster, more efficient and more reliable electronic devices starts deep down below the molecular level, where nanoparticles – far too small for the human eye to detect – make up the building blocks of the latest processing hardware. In pursuit of this goal, scientists and engineers are constantly investigating new materials and better methods of developing or assembling these materials.
The researchers’ nanoparticles, made of gold and deposited onto silicon substrates by a unique chemical process, are nontoxic and inexpensive to make and have superior dimensions, densities and distribution when compared to other nanoparticles and conventional methods of producing nanoparticles. The unique deposition technique has the further advantage of being able to rapidly coat fragile, three-dimensional and internal surfaces at the temperature and pressure of its surroundings without requiring conductive substrates or expensive, sophisticated equipment.
“Using successive thermal treatments, we characterized optical and structural features of an inexpensive, molecule-to-molecule, bottoms-up approach to create thermally stable, gold-nanoparticle ensembles on silica,” said Keith Roper, associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas. “Images and analysis from scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy revealed that particle densities are the highest reported to date. Our method also allows faster preparation than self-assembly or lithography and allows directed assembly of nanoparticle ensembles on 3D surfaces.”
The researchers’ unique approach improves upon a method that involves depositing atoms from a solution onto a substrate with a tin-sensitized surface. The researchers use a novel continuous-deposition process and then heat these deposited atoms to transform “islands” of nanoparticle material into desired forms. The resulting spherical nanoparticles can have diameters between 5 and about 300 nanometers. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter. A human hair typically has a diameter of 70,000 nanometers.
Roper said that microscopic images and spectroscopic data suggest that ultrathin films prepared by their new approach are smoother than conventional “sputtered” or evaporated gold films and may exhibit better optical features, such as reduced surface-roughness scattering. These features are desirable in devices such as photovoltaic cells in which narrow metal layers significantly affect local electromagnetic fields. Smoother thin films also could improve the limits of detection, sensitivity and photocurrent, respectively, in such applications.
The researchers’ recent studies in this area have been published in Langmuir and Journal of Physical Chemistry C, journals of the American Chemical Society. The researchers were awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,097,295 on Jan. 17 for the development.
Roper is holder of the Charles W. Oxford Professorship of Emerging Technologies. He is also assistant director of the graduate program in microelectronics/photonics.CONTACTS:
Matt McGowan | Newswise Science News
What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering