Disappearing Nano-Particles Bryan D. Huey, University of Connecticut, DMR 0909091. Outcome : Scientists at the University of Connecticut have directly observed silver nanoparticles ‘disappearing’ from a glass surface upon illumination .
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Outcome: Scientists at the University of Connecticut have directly observed silver nanoparticles ‘disappearing’ from a glass surface upon illumination.
Impact: High fidelity photomasks are crucial to the continued advancement of semiconductor devices. In this silver nanoparticle-chalcogenide glass system, illumination causes the silver from the particles to completely diffuse into the film, with a corresponding change in color and transparency. This ceramic system is inherently more robust than traditional organic mask coatings.
Upon exposure, Ag ions from Ag nanoparticles begins to diffuse into the underlying chalcogenide film due to optically generated charge gradients. Over the first 4 minutes this causes moderate faceting and roughening of the particles, but in the next 1 minute (3 consecutive AFM images) a completely smooth surface emerges.
Nanoparticles in a 20 um by 1.25 µm region completely disappearing due to diffusion into the underlying glass film, excited by patterned illumination. (courtesy B. Huey, University of Connecticut)