Expansion-limited aggregation of nanoclusters in a single-pulse laser-produced plume




Gamaly, Eugene G
Madsen, Nathan
Goldberg, D.
Rode, Andrei V

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American Physical Society


Formation of carbon nanoclusters in a single-laser-pulse created ablation plume was studied both in vacuum and in a noble gas environment at various pressures. The developed theory provides cluster radius dependence on combination of laser parameters, properties of ablated material, and type and pressure of an ambient gas in agreement with experiments. The experiments were performed on carbon nanoclusters formed by laser ablation of graphite targets with 12 picosecond 532 nm laser pulses at MHz-range repetition rate in a broad range of ambient He, Ar, Kr, and Xe gas pressures from 2× 10-2 to 1500 Torr. The experimental results confirmed our theoretical prediction that the average size of the nanoparticles depends weakly on the type of the ambient gas used, and is determined exclusively by the single laser pulse parameters even at the repetition rate as high as 28 MHz with the time gap 36 ns between the pulses. The most important finding relates to the fact that in vacuum the cluster size is mainly determined by hydrodynamic expansion of the plume while in the ambient gas it is controlled by atomic diffusion in the gas. We demonstrate that the ultrashort pulses can be used for production of clusters with the size less than the critical value, which separates the particles with properties drastically different from those of a material in a bulk. The presented results of experiments on formation of carbon nanoclusters are in close agreement with the theoretical scaling. The developed theory is applicable for cluster formation from any monatomic material, such as silicon for example.





Physical Review B: Condensed Matter and Materials


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