Nanoparticles are fabricated in the gas phase using a particular kind of sputter gas aggregation source, called multiple ion cluster source that works in ultra-high vacuum and, thus, ensure a high purity of the systems fabricated. This equipment has three magnetrons of 2” that allows the generation of complex nanoparticles combining the materials of the three targets. In addition, the MICS has different entrances for injecting reactive gases (like O2, as depicted in the TEM images below, where the stoichiometry of the oxides can be controlled), some of them in the back part of the magnetrons and others halfway in the aggregation zone. This last entrance can also be used for plasma monitoring.
This MICS is a scaled-up system, which enables the generation of high nanoparticle rates. In addition, it is the first module of the Stardust machine, which means that the nanoparticles fabricated can be manipulated, processed and analysed by many different experimental techniques.
“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.