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Journal of Student Scholarship

Journal of Student Scholarship

Abstract

ZnO nanoparticles exhibit attractive optical properties that are important in the realm of catalysis and nanotechnology involving the developments of solar cells, chemical sensors and other optoelectronic devices. The main objective of this project was to create zinc oxide nanoparticles of less than 10 nm size by using an Nd: YAG laser and characterize the particle diameter. Zinc oxide nanoparticles were prepared by vaporizing zinc in neat deionized water by laser ablation, aided by a physical 2D-motional micro-stage programmed by Arduino. The addition of surfactant was explored to reduce aggregation of the nanoparticles. Various purification methods were applied to this process, including filtration and centrifugation, to reduce aggregation and improve the purity of zinc oxide nanoparticles. The ablated zinc oxide nanoparticles were analyzed with Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with Energy Dispersal Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) and Optical Profilometry (OP). The measured diameter of the nanoparticles is found at around 30-100 nm, with a peak around 35 nm, as analyzed by DLS method. Optical Profilometry allows estimation of thickness of ZnO films, while the elemental composition and large particle sizes can be detected by SEM/ EDS. We tested energy intensity, spot size, spot size overlap, and laser focusing setup of Zno nanoparticles. Future research will mainly focus on creating smaller Zinc Oxide nanoparticles i.e. (10±1) nm by the effective use of surfactant and purification methods.

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