Aspects of nanoparticle formation during pulsed laser ablation

R. F. Wood, J. N. Leboeuf, D. B. Geohegan, A. A. Puretzky, Kuan-Ren Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Laser ablation is one of the most effective ways of making single-wall carbon nanotubes. Although the process is poorly understood, the importance of nanoparticle formation to initiate tube growth is evident. While some groups have concluded that nanoparticles can form in vacuum, we have argued that this is unlikely because the expansion of the plume is so rapid that the `freezing limit' is reached too rapidly for nucleation and growth to the observed size. A background gas changes the dynamics completely. Calculations show that in a few microseconds the ablated plume is dramatically slowed by the `snowplowing' of the background gas into a peak whose density is much greater than its initial density. The ablated material is trapped within this peak. The question then arises as to how this peak dissipates by diffusion. A simple calculation shows that it is at this point that a drastic change in the timescale of the process occurs so that there is ample time (milliseconds) for nanoparticles to nucleate and grow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Jan 1
EventLaser Plasma Generation and Diagnostics - San Jose, CA, USA
Duration: 2000 Jan 272000 Jan 27

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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