Nanostructures of Graphite and Amorphous Carbon - Fabrication and Properties
Doctoral thesis, 2009
Nanoscience is a well-established research area, which concerns properties and fabrication of objects with typical dimensions on the 1-100 nanometer length scale. A central issue has been the development of techniques for fabrication and characterization of nanometer sized objects, which have contributed considerably to progress in both practical applications and fundamental research. Still, a standing challenge in nanofabrication is to further decrease the size limit and increase the precision in structure fabrication, with a simultaneous increase in reliability and cost-efficiency. Other goals are to facilitate fabrication of nanostructures in a variety of materials, with different geometries and spatial distributions. Examples of practical applications of nanofabrication are, electronic devices, nanoparticle reinforced composite materials, materials for extraction and storage of energy, sensors and biomedical applications.
In this thesis, the development and application of a nanofabrication technique termed hole-mask colloidal lithography (HCL) is described. The technique is based on self-assembly of nanospheres in combination with spin coating and thin film evaporation to produce supported nanostructured masks for etch and/or deposition processes. HCL relies on a parallel process and uses relatively simple laboratory equipment. Therefore it is fast and cost-effective and can be used to structure large surface areas in a reasonable time. Furthermore, HCL is suited for fabrication of nanostructures with a variety of different shapes, with well-defined sizes and in a large variety of different materials. Demonstrated examples include discs, ellipses, bi-metallic particle pairs, cones and inverted ring structures in Au, Ag, Cr. Specifically, the use of HCL to fabricate nanostructures in three different carbon materials, highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG), glassy carbon (GC) and amorphous carbon, is described. Such nanostructured materials are relevant both in technical applications and in model studies of e.g. soot particles. The manufactured nanostrucutres have been characterized with respect to their geometrical, mechanical, and optical properties, using microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, and their reactivity towards oxidation has been explored.
From studies of such samples, it is concluded that the etch rate in oxygen plasma is different for HOPG and GC, which influences the resulting size and shape of the nanostructures after the applied oxidation treatment. It is also shown that the atomic arrangement of the HOPG nanostructures is similar to that of the bulk material. Investigations of the optical properties reveal resonant absorption and scattering of light for nanostructures in all three materials, i.e. peak position, amplitude and width of the measured optical spectra are shown to correlate with the nanostructure sizes. This correlation is used to optically monitor oxidation, and the resulting decrease in volume, of carbon nanostructures under high temperature oxidation conditions and is proposed as a general sensing method to study oxidation/combustion of soot and other carbon nanostructures.
GC amorphous carbon