Thesis topic

Low-pressure plasma — based sputtering onto liquids for nanoparticle synthesis

  • Type
    Doctorate Post-doctorate


This research project aims at contributing towards the better understanding of the interaction of sputtering plasmas with liquid substrates to control the growth mechanism and properties of the as-obtained nanoparticles and colloidal suspensions.

Methods to synthesize nanoparticles (NP) can be classified as physical and chemical. Both routes offer advantages and disadvantages. However, the method based on the sputtering of a metal target by the cold plasma ions, which allows producing a vapor of metal that condenses on a liquid substrate, combines the best of both worlds.

Although many articles have already been published on this topic hence highlighting the possibility to synthesize nanoparticles showing interesting optical, catalytic, … properties, little is known about the interaction of the plasma with the liquid surface and the growth mechanisms involved.

To achieve our goal, we use various plasma diagnostic tools to determine what are the particle fluxes reaching the liquid surface as well as analysis techniques to quantify the important physico-chemical parameters of the obtained colloidal suspensions and nanoparticles. This way, we better understand the relationship between the working conditions, the plasma properties, and the characteristics of the obtained colloids and nanoparticles. Such tailored colloidal suspensions may be utilized in (printed) electronics, catalysis, photonics, and other advanced applications.

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