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Clusters under Laser Ablation


Cluster Synthesis under Pulsed Laser Ablation

Tech Area / Field

  • MAT-SYN/Materials Synthesis and Processing/Materials

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Rudneva V Ya

Leading Institute
Institute of Thermophysics, Russia, Novosibirsk reg., Novosibirsk

Supporting institutes

  • VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov


  • CNRS / Universite de la Mediterranee, France, Marseille\nChalmers University of Technology, Sweden, Göteborg

Project summary

The project proposes a comprehensive study of cluster formation during pulsed laser ablation (PLA) of solid targets. The study is planned for nanosecond laser pulses of moderate intensity in the range of 1 – 10 J/cm2. Such conditions of vaporization of solids are typical for many scientific and technical applications, such as thin film deposition, cluster synthesis, material processing, and chemical analysis of surfaces. The study of cluster formation during PLA is a topical problem in several respects. Refined control of the ablation process will expedite the development of new nanomaterials. Cluster formation has to be studied for the aims of film deposition because the presence of clusters in the PLA plume strongly affects the quality of the films. Clusters, generated at the early stage of laser ablation, can absorb laser radiation, thus reducing the ablation efficiency. Despite considerable success in producing cluster beams using the PLA technique and a large body of experimental data on different characteristics of the laser plume, a detailed understanding of cluster formation mechanisms in the laser plasma has yet to be reached. This is conditioned by the complexity of the PLA problem, which represents a boundary of solid state physics, gas dynamics, chemical kinetics and plasma physics.

In the framework of the project, the interrelation between material vaporization conditions, expansion dynamics of ablation products, ionization kinetics and cluster formation in the PLA plume is proposed to be studied in an attempt to establish general principles for the synthesis of new nanomaterials. The experiments on laser ablation of various types of materials (metal, dielectric, semiconductor) will be performed in vacuum and ambient gas. Composition and expansion dynamics of the ablation products (size and velocity distributions of the clusters) under different irradiation conditions will be analyzed using a time-of-flight mass-spectrometer in combination with molecular beam techniques. Special attention will be concentrated on the investigation of charge-induced condensation. To study laser-induced plume dynamics, a method of pulsed laser visualization with high temporal and spatial resolution (10ns, 10m) will be used. On the basis of the experimental data, a model describing the cluster formation kinetics under the actual plume dynamics, taking into account condensation energy release to the plume and excitation of the internal degrees of freedom of the clusters, will be developed. The proposals on optimization of the film deposition process and cluster synthesis with the PLA technique will form the principle outcome of the project.

Experimentalists on plasma physics (IT CD RAS), physicists-theoreticians (IT SD RAS and VNIIEF) and mathematicians (VNIIEF), which specialize in the theory and numerical modeling of the dynamics of complicated processes in hot and low-temperature plasmas, are involved in the Project. Many of them have been noted for their research in this field, in particular, for works published on the Project subject. Papers written by the Project scientific leader and manager N.M. Bulgakova on laser plasma dynamics and cluster formation during PLA have won a wide recognition in Russia and abroad. Sub-manager and scientific leader in VNIIEF, Professor L P. Babich is has worldwide recognition for his works on physics of non-local processes in plasma.


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