Published: June 16th, 2023
Ultrafast laser ablation in liquid is a precise and versatile technique for synthesizing nanomaterials (nanoparticles [NPs] and nanostructures [NSs]) in liquid/air environments. The laser-ablated nanomaterials can be functionalized with Raman-active molecules to enhance the Raman signal of analytes placed on or near the NSs/NPs.
The technique of ultrafast laser ablation in liquids has evolved and matured over the past decade, with several impending applications in various fields such as sensing, catalysis, and medicine. The exceptional feature of this technique is the formation of nanoparticles (colloids) and nanostructures (solids) in a single experiment with ultrashort laser pulses. We have been working on this technique for the past few years, investigating its potential using the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) technique in hazardous materials sensing applications. Ultrafast laser-ablated substrates (solids and colloids) could detect several analyte molecules at the trace levels/mixture form, including dyes, explosives, pesticides, and biomolecules. Here, we present some of the results achieved using the targets of Ag, Au, Ag-Au, and Si. We have optimized the nanostructures (NSs) and nanoparticles (NPs) obtained (in liquids and air) using different pulse durations, wavelengths, energies, pulse shapes, and writing geometries. Thus, various NSs and NPs were tested for their efficiency in sensing numerous analyte molecules using a simple, portable Raman spectrometer. This methodology, once optimized, paves the way for on-field sensing applications. We discuss the protocols in (a) synthesizing the NPs/NSs via laser ablation, (b) characterization of NPs/NSs, and (c) their utilization in the SERS-based sensing studies.
Ultrafast laser ablation is a rapidly evolving field of laser-material interactions. High-intensity laser pulses with pulse durations in the femtosecond (fs) to picosecond (ps) range are used to generate precise material ablation. Compared to nanosecond (ns) laser pulses, ps laser pulses can ablate materials with higher precision and accuracy due to their shorter pulse duration. They can generate less collateral damage, debris, and contamination of the ablated material due to fewer thermal effects. However, ps lasers are typically more expensive than ns lasers and need specialized expertise for operation and maintenance. The ultrafast laser pulses enable precise contr....
A typical protocol flowchart of the application of ultrafast ablated NPs or NSs in the trace detection of molecules via SERS is shown in Figure 1A.
1. Synthesizing metal NPs/NSs
NOTE: Depending on the requirement/application, choose the target material, the surrounding liquid, and the laser ablation parameters.
Target materials: Ag
Surrounding liquid: 10 mL of DI
Laser parameters: 35.......
Silver NPs were synthesized via ps laser ablation in liquid technique. Here, a ps laser system with a pulse duration of ~30 ps operating at a 10 Hz repetition rate and with a wavelength of one of 355, 532, or 1,064 nm was used. The input pulse energy was adjusted to 15 mJ. The laser pulses were focused using a plano-convex lens with a focal length of 10 cm. The laser focus should be exactly on the material surface during laser ablation because the laser energy is most concentrated at the focal point, where it ca.......
In ultrasonication cleaning, the material to be cleaned is immersed in a liquid and high-frequency sound waves are applied to the liquid using an ultrasonic cleaner. The sound waves cause the formation and implosion of tiny bubbles in the liquid, generating intense local energy and pressure that dislodge and remove dirt and other contaminants from the surface of the material. In laser ablation, a Brewster polarizer and a half-wave plate combination were used to tune the laser energy; the polarizer is typically placed bef.......
We thank the University of Hyderabad for support through the Institute of Eminence (IoE) project UOH/IOE/RC1/RC1-2016. The IoE grant obtained vide notification F11/9/2019-U3(A) from the MHRD, India. DRDO, India is acknowledged for funding support through ACRHEM [[#ERIP/ER/1501138/M/01/319/D(R&D)]. We acknowledge the School of Physics, UoH, for the FESEM characterization and XRD facilities. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Prof SVS Nageswara Rao and his group for their valuable collaboration contributions and support. We would like to express our appreciation to past and present lab members Dr. P Gopala Krishna, Dr. Hamad Syed, Dr. Chandu Byram, Mr.....
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Wavelength of excitation-785 nm,632 nm, 532 nm, 325 nm;
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