When discussing nanoparticles, “deposition” refers to how the particles adhere to solid surfaces known as substrates. This produces a coating of nanoparticles that may have a monolayer or multilayer and an organized or disorganized structure depending on the coating technique used. This article outlines the main characteristics of nanoparticle deposition systems.
NL-DX3 tripled headed source for alloy nanoparticles (left) and NL-UHV nanoparticle deposition source (right). Image Credit: Nikalyte Ltd
Numerous substances, including metals, ceramics, and polymers, can be used to create nanoparticles. Nanoparticles have very high surface energy due to their small size (1–100 nm), which is beneficial for catalysis and sensing. Nanoparticle stability can be challenging since nanoparticles often try to reduce their surface energy.
Nanoparticles typically self-stabilize by molecule sorption from their environment or by agglomerating and coagulating, which reduces their surface area and is often undesirable. This issue can be reduced by incorporating nanoparticles into a thin film or matrix.
Deposit nanoparticles with controlled size, composition and density using the Nikalyte's NL-UHV range. Image Credit: Nikalyte Ltd
Techniques of Nanoparticle Deposition Systems
Systems for depositing nanoparticles use a variety of coating techniques.
Gas Phase Synthesis
Gas-phase synthesis is a type of nanoparticle deposition that produces metallic and conducting oxide nanoparticles with a very narrow size distribution. In this procedure, a stream of cool inert gas is used to quench a hot metal vapor.
The vapor cools and condenses through repeated collisions with inert gas atoms to produce nanoparticles.1 Gas-phase synthesis transpires under high or ultra-high vacuum and generates high purity nanoparticle coatings. The Nikalyte NL50 and NL-UHV use gas phase synthesis to generate nanoparticles.
This technology is a physics-based process that creates pure particles in a controlled setting without chemicals. Carrier gas flows past two conductive electrodes where an electrical spark produces a plasma that ablates a small amount of material from an electrode.
This material produces a concentrated stream of nanoparticle aerosol, which combines to produce larger particles. The nanoparticles are subsequently impacted, diffused, or filtered onto a substrate.
What is Thin Film Deposition?
A compact two-dimensional layer is formed by generating and depositing atoms onto a substrate material during the thin film deposition process. Compounds, oxides, and metals are just a few components that can create these thin films.
The performance of the substrate can be improved or changed using various thin-film properties. Some coatings, for instance, are transparent, some improve signal conductivity, and others are scratch-resistant.
The Differences Between a Nanoparticle and Thin Film Deposition System
In contrast to thin films, coatings produced by nanoparticle deposition techniques are porous and three-dimensional. Compared to thin films, they also provide a rough surface with a larger surface area.
The nanoparticle size and structure strongly influence the properties of nanoparticle coatings, so they behave differently from thin-film coatings made from the same material.
The Benchtop Nanoparticle Deposition System from Nikalyte
NL50 benchtop nanoparticle deposition system. Image Credit: Nikalyte Ltd
The Nikalyte benchtop nanoparticle deposition system was developed for specific research applications. The device can produce a coating of ultra-pure nanoparticles that are not aggregated. Contact the Nikalyte team for more information on how this deposition technology could be used for nanoparticle coating applications.
- Nanoparticle Synthesis by Terminated Cluster Growth – Plasma Applications Group. (2022). Retrieved 21 March 2022, from http://pag.lbl.gov/Research-Topics/newsitem1
This information has been sourced, reviewed, and adapted from materials provided by Nikalyte Ltd.
For more information on this source, please visit Nikalyte Ltd.