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Size-controlled, magnetic, and core-shell nanoparticles synthesized by inert-gas condensation

Mark A Koten, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Interest in nanoparticles (2 to 100 nm in diameter) and clusters of atoms (0.5 to 2 nm in diameter) has heightened over the past two and a half decades on both fundamental and functional levels. Nanoparticles and clusters of atoms are an exciting branch of materials science because they do not behave like normal bulk matter, nor do they act like molecules. They can have shockingly different physical, chemical, optical, or magnetic properties from the same material at a larger scale. In the case of nanoparticles, the surface-to-volume ratio can change fundamental properties like melting temperature, binding energy, or electron affinity. The definitions of markers used to distinguish between metallic, semiconducting, and insulating bulk condensed matter, such as the band gap and polarizability, can even be blurred or confused on the nanoscale. Similarly, clusters of atoms can form in structures that are only stable at finite sizes, and do not translate to bulk condensed matter. Thermodynamics of finite systems changes dramatically in nanovolumes such as wires, rods, cubes, and spheres, which can lead to complex core-shell and onion-like nanostructures. Consequently, these changes in properties and structure have led to many new possibilities in the field of materials engineering. Inert-gas condensation (IGC) is a well-established method of producing nanoparticles that condense from the gas phase. Its first use dates back to the early 1990s, and it has been used to fabricate nanoparticles both commercially and in research and development for applications in magnetism, biomedicine, and catalysts. In this dissertation, IGC was used to produce a wide variety of nanoparticles. First, control over the size distributions of Cu nanoparticles and how it relates to the plasma properties inside the nucleation chamber was investigated. Next, the formation of phase pure WFe2 nanoparticles revealed that this Laves phase is ferromagnetic instead of non-magnetic. Finally, core-shell nanoparticles were produced using three thermodynamically different systems, which showed that IGC could be used to produce a wide variety of core-shell particles. These three projects are presented in the context of size-dependent structural and magnetic properties.

Subject Area

Materials science

Recommended Citation

Koten, Mark A, "Size-controlled, magnetic, and core-shell nanoparticles synthesized by inert-gas condensation" (2015). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3718093.