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Title: Advancements and understanding of Blister-Based Laser-Induced Forward-Transfer
Author: Goodfriend, Nathan Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 3922
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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Blister-Based Laser-Induced Forward-Transfer (BB LIFT) is a new method of particle transfer, capable of projecting complex and fragile particles into the gas phase. The technique uses a laser pulse to deform a metal or polymer film on a transparent substrate. The deformation of the film creates a blister which can mechanically desorb particles adhered to the surface. This thesis covers the study of the underlying mechanisms of blister formation in relation to laser pulse duration and film properties, whilst also advancing upon the technique by developing new methods for particle transfer of 0-dimensional point particles, 1-dimensional nanotubes, and 2-dimensional crystals. Study of the blister formation was carried out on uncoated 200-400 nm Titanium films, using 120 fs and 7 ns laser pulses. The blisters were studied by Atomic Force Microscopy and optical analysis. Furthermore a theoretical model for the blister formation using ns laser pulses was developed using a linear heat transfer model, showing a good agreement between experiment and theory. From this model mechanisms for blister formation under both of these pulse durations were developed. It was concluded that ns laser pulses heat the thin film causing it to undergo thermal expansion where the temperature and thermal expansion properties of the film define the blister. Femtosecond pulses form blisters due to confined ablation of the film at the interface of the transparent substrate and the film. The expanding gas forces the metal to stretch, where the deformation is dictated by the Young’s modulus of the material with the major factor being the thickness of the titanium film. The velocity distribution of the desorbed material was studied by means of mass spectroscopy. An ionising laser pulse was focused a known distance from the donor film. The ejected particles crossed the laser beam, and with a controlled delay of the time between the blister pulse and ionisation pulse the velocities could be determined for fullerenes (C60) and gold coated silicon nanoparticles (Auroshells). Utilising C60 as the desorbed material we could identify that for ns BB-LIFT the C60 was emitted at a velocity mostly dependent upon the heat expansion coefficient for the titanium film, resulting in a velocity approximating 100 ms-1 with a secondary emission of fullerenes due to evaporation from the hot surface. However, for fs BB-LIFT this evaporated emission was not present and the velocities could be adjusted from 7-70 ms-1 by varying the Ti film thickness from 360 nm to 210 nm respectively. These results are consistent with the mechanisms proposed earlier. The spread of the desorbed particle beam was also studied for nanosecond and femtosecond laser-induced blisters utilising auroshells and C60. This was accomplished by placing a receiver platform at a known distance in front of the donor film in order to collect the desorbed particles. The radial spread was then analysed indicating a flat deposit approximately the size of the initial blister with a 5 degree spread from that point. This indicates that the desorbed beam is highly directional. From this it could be ascertained that the blisters do not form from a single point position on the film but expand uniformly with the area of laser irradiation defining the growth point of the blister. A problem with many molecular beam techniques is that large fragile molecules or nanoparticles cannot be introduced to the gas phase without causing damage to the particles. Studies into the desorption of Auroshells (150 nm diameter), C60 (1 nm), PCBM (a fragile exohedral fullerene), carbon nanotubes (1x1000 nm), and 2D films (1x10000x10000 nm) showed that these materials were successfully transferred from the donor film to a receiver plate without causing damage to the particles. This was determined via Raman, NMR, AFM, and SEM measurements. Lastly a technique that allowed the growth of carbon nanotubes directly on the donor film utilising a a multi-layered substrate was developed, enabling the removal and deposition of the nanotubes, without exposing them to any chemical treatment.
Supervisor: Campbell, Eleanor ; Alexander, Andrew Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: nanofabrication ; computational modeling ; Carbon nanotubes ; Blister-Based Laser-Induced Forward-Transfer ; BB LIFT ; laser pulse ; desorbed particle beams