European patent filed
24 January 2024
Juan José Vilatela García, Miguel Vázquez Pufleau
IMDEA Materials Institute
License of technology
Spark ablation device used for generating large concentrations (108 particles/cm3) of very small conductive nanoparticles (<5 nm geometric mean size).
Synthesizing nanoparticles in such a way that their concentration and size distribution does not change over time is a challenging task.
Among the different methods for synthesizing nanoparticles, spark discharge is quite promising due to its stability, reliability, and reproducibility. Spark discharge nanoparticle generators (SDGs), also known as spark ablation devices, are based on electrode vaporization by a spark discharge.
Disadvantages of state-of-the-art devices and methods for spark ablation are: (a) their limited nanoparticle production rates due to low spark repetition frequencies (typically in the range of milligrams per hour and with sizes lower than 5 nm up to atomic clusters); (b) emission of large particles formed from dispersions of melted material; and (c) continuous discharge above a certain frequency, stopping particle generation or losing desired particle characteristics. To prevent particles growth, high quenching is necessary, but this is not a very efficient procedure for industrial synthesis.
IMDEA Materials has developed a spark ablation device capable of generating large concentrations (108 particles/cm3) of very small conductive nanoparticles (<5 nm geometric mean size), increasing at least 10-fold the sparking frequency of the SDG as compared to conventional designs.
Knowledge & Technology Transfer Department, IMDEA Materials Institute
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