Nonthermal plasmas have emerged as a viable synthesis technique for nanocrystal materials. Inherently solvent and ligand-free, nonthermal plasmas offer the ability to synthesize high purity nanocrystals of materials that require high synthesis temperatures. The nonequilibrium environment in nonthermal plasmas has a number of attractive attributes: energetic surface reactions selectively heat the nanoparticles to temperatures that can strongly exceed the gas temperature; charging of nanoparticles through plasma electrons reduces or eliminates nanoparticle agglomeration; and the large difference between the chemical potentials of the gaseous growth species and the species bound to the nanoparticle surfaces facilitates nanocrystal doping. This paper reviews the state of the art in nonthermal plasma synthesis of nanocrystals. It discusses the fundamentals of nanocrystal formation in plasmas, reviews practical implementations of plasma reactors, surveys the materials that have been produced with nonthermal plasmas and surface chemistries that have been developed, and provides an overview of applications of plasma-synthesized nanocrystals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas