(105d) Spinodal Dewetting to Create Self-Assembled and Organized Nanoparticles: A High-Throughput Approach

Michalak, W. D., Carnegie Mellon University
Miller, J. B., Carnegie Mellon University
Gellman, A. J., Carnegie Mellon University

Metal nanoparticles on structured supports are used in many technological
applications such as biosensing, energy harvesting,
and electronics.  In every case, the functions and properties of the
metallic nanostructures depend on their composition and structure (i.e. size,
shape, and spatial distribution).  Challenges to using metal nanoparticles
in these applications are the difficulties of optimizing the structure-property
functionality over a large structural domain.  In this work, a new method
is described to create a morphological gradient of particles on a substrate in
a repeatable and controlled manner over a relatively large spatial domain using
Pd on silicon nitride.  The approach, suited for high-throughput
fabrication and characterization, is based on inducing precursor thin films to
dewet from a substrate through spinodal dewetting.  Spinodal dewetting
allows the creation of particles that have well-defined structural properties
by adjusting a few variables: initial film thickness, annealing temperature and
annealing time.  The morphologies of the particles were characterized
using scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopies, and hydrodynamic
stability and integral geometry analyses to confirm the dewetting
mechanism.  In addition, the hydrodynamic instability theory provides a
connection to the thermophysical properties of the system.  The dewetting
approach is general to any metal/support system and provides an alternative,
inexpensive, and robust means to rapidly create metal nanostructures.  It
shows promise for large scale production of the metal structures, as well as
understanding basic material properties.