Mechanisms of Nanoparticle Generation by Laser Ablation of Thin Films in Liquids

Project Details


This grant will support a well-integrated collaborative experimental ? computational study of the mechanisms of nanoparticle generation in short pulse laser ablation of thin metal films and multi-layers in a liquid environment. The key processes that control the generation of nanoparticles will be investigated in large-scale atomistic simulations and experiments performed for thin film targets embedded in common liquids, such as water, acetone, and toluene, and irradiated by short (femtosecond to nanosecond) laser pulses. The detailed microscopic information on highly non-equilibrium processes of laser ablation and nanoparticle formation, revealed in the simulations, will be used to guide the experimental exploration of conditions that ensure fine control over the nanoparticle size distribution, structure and composition. The role of the spatial confinement of the deposited laser energy within the irradiated films and the interaction of the ejected ablation plume with liquid environment are among the key questions to be investigated computationally and in experiments.

The results of this study will provide guidance for the design of experimental setups optimized for the generation of nanoparticles with structure and composition meeting the needs of particular applications. This will enable individual researchers to produce nanoparticles for their research projects that are not readily available commercially, or if they are, at a great cost. The generation of nanoparticles with a narrow size distribution and free of contaminants has a good potential to impact many applications, including biomedical research, nanoengineering of advanced materials, optoelectronics, and surface catalysis. The close interaction between Rutgers-Camden, a predominantly undergraduate institution, and the University of Virginia, a research-oriented institution, will provide unique educational opportunities to a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students.

Effective start/end date6/1/135/31/16


  • National Science Foundation: $396,735.00


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