New high-speed nanomaterial synthesis process uses laser beams

(Nanowerk News) Dr. Jun Yeop Yeo and the research team led by Professor Seung Hwan Ko (both of the Department of Mechanical Engineering) successfully developed a process enabling the location-determinable, ultra high speed synthesis of nanomaterials using laser beams. The result of the research effort have been published as the frontispiece in the July 9th edition of Advanced Functional Materials ("Rapid, One-Step, Digital Selective Growth of ZnO Nanowires on 3D Structures Using Laser Induced Hydrothermal Growth").
Application of the process reduced the time needed for nanomaterial synthesis from a few hours to a mere five minutes. In addition, unlike conventional nanomaterial synthesis processes, it is simple enough to enable mass production and commercialization. Conventional processes require high temperatures of 900~1000°C and the use of toxic or explosive vapors. Complex processes such as separation after synthesis, patterning, and etc. are needed for application in electronic devices. These multi-step, expensive and environmentally unfriendly characteristics of nanomaterial synthesis are major road blocks to mass production and commercialization.
Exposing the precursor to concentrated continuous laser beam (green wavelength) resulted in the synthesis of nanowires in the desired location; the first instance in the world to accomplish this feat. The process makes possible production, integration and patterning of nanomaterials using a single process. Applicable to various surfaces and substrates, nanowires have been successfully synthesized on flexible plastic substrates and controlled patterning on the surface of 3-dimensional structures.
Dr. Yeo commented that the research effort has “yielded the creation of a nanomaterial synthesis process capable of synthesis, integration, pattern, and material production using light energy” and has “reduced the synthesis process time of nanomaterial to one tenths of the conventional process.”
Dr. Yeo continues to devised steps to commercialize the new multifunctional electronic material and methods for mass production. The research effort, led by Dr. Yeo and Professor Ko, received contribution from Professor Hyung Jin, Sung (KAIST Department of Mechanical Engineering), Seok Joon, Hong, a Ph.D. candidate, Hyun Wook, Kang, also a Ph.D. candidate, Professor Costas Grigoropoulos of UC Berkeley, and Dr. Dae Ho, Lee.
Source: KAIST
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