Gold nanoparticle array formation on dimpled Ta templates using pulsed laser-induced thin film dewetting
Here we show that pulsed laser-induced dewetting (PLiD) of a thin Au metallic film on a nano-scale ordered dimpled tantalum (DT) surface results in the formation of a high quality Au nanoparticle (NP) array. In contrast to thermal dewetting, PLiD does not result in deformation of the substrate, even when the Au film is heated to above its melting point. PLiD causes local heating of only the metal film and thus thermal oxidation of the Ta substrate can be avoided, also because of the high vacuum (low pO2) environment employed. Therefore, this technique can potentially be used to fabricate NP arrays composed of high melting point metals, such as Pt, not previously possible using conventional thermal annealing methods. We also show that the Au NPs formed by PLiD are more spherical in shape than those formed by thermal dewetting, likely demonstrating a different dewetting mechanism in the two cases. As the metallic NPs formed on DT templates are electrochemically addressable, a longer-term objective of this work is to determine the effect of NP size and shape (formed by laser vs. thermal dewetting) on their electrocatalytic properties.