TSU physicists accelerated the process of producing nanoparticles

Scientists of Tomsk State University SPhTI have optimized the technology of synthesizing unique nanoparticles using pulsed laser ablation in liquids, which makes it possible to receive hundreds of liters of colloidal solutions of nanoparticles or dozens of grams of different nanopowders in a month. Until now no one in the world has managed to achieve such productivity. This achievement will allow Russian researchers greater use of such nanomaterials in practice and get significant results in biology, medicine, chemistry, and other areas.

Laser ablation in a liquid allows obtaining nanosized particles in the solution without the addition of impurities and without wastes, so-called pure nanocolloids. The method was applied for the first time in 1993 and now is widely used for the synthesis of nanoparticles in basic research. But because of low productivity, it was not considered by experts for practical purposes. Studies at the Laboratory of New Materials and Advanced Technologies of SPhTI allowed significantly increasing the productivity.

The method itself consists of a target that is placed in a fluid and irradiated with focused laser pulses. The result is rapid heating and explosive evaporation of target material from the surface in the form of ionized plasma. This process is called laser ablation. During cooling of the plasma, nanoparticles in the form of colloidal solution are formed in the liquid.

- In the course of research, we have established a number of regularities between the thermophysical properties of target materials, solvents, optical properties of nanoparticles, and features of the ablation process, thanks to which high efficiency of synthesis is achieved over a long period of time, - said Valery Svetlichniy, deputy head of the Laboratory of New Materials and Advanced Technologies.

Test samples of nanoparticles are used for research in physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine, for example for the study of their toxicity and environmental impact and of their use as antiseptics and biostimulants. In particular, by using nanoparticles of precious and heavy metals that are produced in the laboratory, TSU biologists simulate their dissemination from soil and water into the food chains of different organisms. This allows scientists to develop environmental biotechnology that cleans nanoimpurities for the environment.