Self-assembly of thin carbon micro-shells through pulsed laser irradiation of a ferrocene/benzene solution


Thin (30–60 nm) self-assembled carbon micro-shells (4–25 μm diameter) have been synthesized by irradiating a solution of ferrocene/benzene with femtosecond laser pulses. These structures, which include large spherical, hemispherical, and tubular forms, are created through a previously unreported synthesis mechanism. This process involves the catalytic growth of organized carbon structures at the surface of hot plasma bullets produced during the laser-induced decomposition of the liquid. The plasma appears to act as a scaffold for growth, and consequently the morphology of the shells captures the hydrodynamic interactions occurring as the bullet propagates through the solution. This qualitatively simple technique should be robust enough to be applied to many chemical systems and opens a new avenue for the synthesis of self-assembled nanomaterials.

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The authors would like to acknowledge S.D. Peterson, S. Yarusevych, and C. Morton for use of the high speed optics. This study was financially supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

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Correspondence to M. J. Wesolowski.

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Wesolowski, M.J., Kuzmin, S., Wales, B. et al. Self-assembly of thin carbon micro-shells through pulsed laser irradiation of a ferrocene/benzene solution. J Mater Sci 48, 6212–6217 (2013).

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  • Ferrocene
  • Prolate Spheroid
  • High Speed Imaging
  • Supplementary Video
  • Hemispherical Shell