The Stardust machine constitutes a unique experimental setup designed for simulating in the laboratory cosmic dust formation and its evolution towards the ISM. Stardust consists of six UHV modules assembled together specially designed to mimic the conditions found in the atmosphere of AGBs. We have succeeded to scale-up a type of gas aggregation source, called a multiple ion cluster source, for the generation of complex, ultra-pure nanoparticles made of different materials. Stardust also includes in-flight manipulation and processing capabilities by annealing, acceleration, or interaction with background gases along with in-situ characterization of the clusters and nanoparticles fabricated. As an example to demonstrate some of the capabilities of this new equipment, we present the fabrication of copper nanoparticles and their processing, including the controlled oxidation (from Cu0 to CuO through Cu2O, and their mixtures) at different stages in the machine.
This work has been published in “Precisely controlled fabrication, manipulation and in-situ analysis of Cu based nanoparticles” L. Martínez, K. Lauwaet, G. Santoro, J. M. Sobrado, R. J. Peláez, V. J. Herrero, I. Tanarro, G. J. Ellis, J. Cernicharo, C. Joblin, Y. Huttel & J. A. Martín-Gago, Scientific Reports 8, (2018) 7250.