Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

Nicholas Roberts

Abstract

Nanoparticles on a substrate have numerous applications in nanotechnology, from enhancements to solar cell efficiency to improvements in carbon nanotube growth. Producing nanoparticles in a cheap fashion with some control over size and spacing is difficult to do, but desired. This work presents a novel method for altering the radius and pitch distributions of nickel and gold nanoparticles in a scalable fashion. The introduction of alumina capping layers to thin nickel films during a pulsed laser-induced dewetting process has yielded reductions in the mean and standard deviation of radii and pitch for dewet nanoparticles. Carbon nanotube mats grown on these samples show a much thicker mat for the capped case. The same capping layers have produced an opposite effect of increased nanoparticle size and spacing during a solid state dewetting process of a gold film. These results also show a decrease in the magnitude of the effect as the capping layer thickness increases. Since the subject of research interest for using these nanoparticles has shifted towards producing ordered arrays with size and spacing control, the uncertainty in the values of these distributions needs to be quantified for any form of meaningful comparison to be made between fabrication methods. Presented here is a first step in the uncertainty analysis of such samples via synthetic images producing error distributions.

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