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Title: Monitoring nanoparticle synthesis in a carbon arc discharge environment, in situ
Authors: Mitrani, James
Advisors: Shneider, Mikhail
Stratton, Brentley C
Contributors: Astrophysical Sciences Department
Subjects: Plasma physics
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This work presents experimental and theoretical studies of gas-phase synthesis of fullerenes and carbon nanoparticles in the presence of an atmospheric-pressure, arc discharge plasma. Carbon arc discharges have been used for synthesizing carbon nanotubes for over 25 years, and have the potential for economically synthesizing industrial-scale quantities of fullerenes. However, the efficiency and selectivity of fullerene synthesis with carbon arc discharges are quite low. Optimizing carbon arc discharges for fullerene synthesis requires a thorough understanding of the dynamics behind gas-phase nanoparticle synthesis in the presence of an arc discharge plasma. We built a carbon arc discharge setup to study nanoparticle and fullerene synthesis. The laser-induced incandescence (LII) diagnostic was applied for monitoring nanoparticle synthesis, in situ. The LII diagnostic had previously been applied as a combustion diagnostic for in situ measurements of concentrations and sizes of soot particles in flame environments. Prior to the present study, it had never been applied for studying fullerenes, nor had it been applied to study nanoparticles in the presence of an atmospheric-pressure plasma. Therefore, experiments were designed that allowed for the calibration of the LII diagnostic with research-grade, arc-synthesized soot particles and carbon nanotubes. Additionally, the theory and models underpinning the LII diagnostic were adapted to include the presence of an atmospheric-pressure, arc-discharge plasma. Results presented in this work confirm the ability of the LII diagnostic to measure sizes of arc-synthesized nanoparticles in situ, and show the spatial location of high densities of arc-synthesized nanoparticles with respect to the arc discharge plasma. Determining the spatial location of nanoparticle synthesis and growth is crucial for understanding the background conditions (e.g. background gas temperature, electron densities ...) in which nanoparticles nucleate and grow in the arc discharge environment. Future work would involve combining the LII diagnostic with other laser-based diagnostics (e.g. Rayleigh scattering, laser-induced fluorescence) for a more comprehensive study of gas-phase nanoparticle synthesis and investigating fundamental basic-science questions related to low temperature plasma physics, and laser-nanoparticle interactions.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Plasma Physics

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