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Title: Charging and Heating Dynamics of Nanoparticles in Nonthermal Plasmas

The focus of this award was to understand the interactions of nanometer-sized particles with ionized gases, also called plasmas. Plasmas are widely used in the fabrication of electronic circuits such as microprocessors and memory devices, in plasma display panels, as well as in medical applications. Recently, these ionized gases are finding applications in the synthesis of advanced nanomaterials with novel properties, which are based on nanometer-sized particulate (nanoparticles) building blocks. As these nanoparticles grow in the plasma environment, they interact with the plasmas species such as electrons and ions which critically determines the nanoparticle properties. The University of Minnesota researchers conducting this project performed numerical simulations and developed analytical models that described the interaction of plasma-bound nanoparticles with the plasma ions. The plasma ions bombard the nanoparticle surface with substantial energy, which can result in the rearrangement of the nanoparticles’ atoms, giving them often desirable structures at the atomic scale. Being able to tune the ion energies allows to control the properties of nanoparticles produced in order to tailor their attributes for certain applications. For instance, when used in high efficiency light emitting devices, nanoparticles produced under high fluxes of highly energetic ions may show superior light emission to particlesmore » produced under low fluxes of less energetic ions. The analytical models developed by the University of Minnesota researchers enable the research community to easily determine the energy of ions bombarding the nanoparticles. The researchers extensively tested the validity of the analytical models by comparing them to sophisticated computer simulations based on stochastic particle modeling, also called Monte Carlo modeling, which simulated the motion of hundreds of thousands of ions and their interaction with the nanoparticle surfaces. Beyond the scientific intellectual merits, this award had significant broader impacts. Two graduate students received their doctoral degrees and both have joined a U.S. manufacturer of plasma-based semiconductor processing equipment. Four undergraduate students participated in research conducted under this grant and gained valuable hands-on laboratory experience. A middle school science teacher observed research conducted under this grant and developed three new course modules that introduce middle school students to the concepts of nanometer scale, the atomic structure of matter, and the composition of matter of different chemical elements.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
University of Minnesota
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
42 ENGINEERING; Dusty plasma, nanoparticles, charging, heating