New method of using laser ablation for film deposition that can be called as concurrent multi-beam multi-target matrix-assisted pulsed laser evaporation and pulsed laser deposition (MBMT-MAPLE/PLD) is described. Practical MBMT-MAPLE/PLD system built at Dillard University has three separate laser beams, three targets and the remotely controlled plume overlapping mechanism that provides even mixing of the target materials during their deposition on the substrate. The system accommodates MAPLE targets in the form of polymer solutions frozen with flowing liquid nitrogen. The feasibility of the method was demonstrated when it was used for making polymer nano-composite films with two inorganic additives: upconversion fluorescent phosphor NaYF4:Yb3+, Er3+ and aluminum-doped ZnO (AZO). Three laser beams, an infrared 1064-nm beam for the MAPLE and two 532-nm beams for the PLD targets, were concurrently used in the process. The fabricated nano-composite films were characterized using X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), optical fluorescent spectroscopy, and the measurement of the quantum efficiency (QE) of the upconversion fluorescence. The size of the inorganic nanoparticles varied in the range 10–200 nm. The AZO additive increased QE by 1.6 times. The conclusion was made on the feasibility of MBMT-MAPLE/PLD method for making multi-component nano-composite films for various applications.
Part of the book: Applications of Laser Ablation
In comparison with metallic thermoelectric films, oxide films with artificial nanodefects have been seldom studied. And there has been no report on the incorporation of island-shaped organic nanoparticles. We describe a new approach to introduce nanometer-sized phonon scatterers in aluminum-doped ZnO (AZO) thermoelectric thin films–concurrent multi-beam multi-target-pulsed laser deposition and the matrix-assisted pulsed laser evaporation (MBMT-PLD/MAPLE). The approach was used to make nanocomposite thin films of AZO matrix with evenly dispersed poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) nanoparticles. The introduction of the nanoparticles enhanced phonon scattering with consequent decrease of thermal conductivity by 20%. The electrical conductivity did not decrease after the addition of the second phase, as it would be predicted by Wiedemann-Franz law, but improved by 350% over pure AZO film. The thermoelectric figure of merit of the nanocomposite film became twice that of the pure AZO film. Taking advantage of room-temperature deposition, optimized AZO nanocomposite films are expected to be used in real applications, such as thin film modules deposited on flexible polymeric substrates for ubiquitous harvesting of the waste heat.
Part of the book: Laser Ablation