Long-pulse laser launch and ionization of tailored large neutral silver nanoparticles with atomic mass assignment†
We explore the synthesis, characterization, neutral launch and vacuum ultraviolet ionization of massive perfluorinated-alkyl-capped nanoparticles. The presence of the ligand coating in solution is corroborated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and the particle size distribution is analyzed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry identifies perfluoralkyl coated silver nanoparticles as the most stable species among the materials studied here. They can be launched in high vacuum using long-pulse low-power laser heating – orders of magnitude below typical thresholds for laser desorption. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) of the recaptured silver clusters confirms the expected elemental distribution. Volatilization with subsequent ionization of the neutral nanoparticle beam in high vacuum by 157 nm light allows analyzing their mass with atomic resolution.