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Photo-Deposition of Metal Nanoparticles on Surfaces

BYU SPD 300x202

Through a new process of photo-deposition, researchers Richard K. Watt of Brigham Young University and Robert J. Hilton discovered that metal nanoparticles can be deposited to a predetermined site on a substrate using small volumes of ferritin.

The method includes depositing ferritin, an iron storage protein, to precise locations on the target surface. The deposition can include ink-jet deposition for precise patterns. With the ferritin deposited, a solution is placed over the material that includes gold ions and an electron donor, and illumination of the sample is initiated. Then, through a photochemical reaction, the gold (or other metal ions) is reduced to its elemental form and deposited on the surface where the ferritin is located.

The photochemical reactions make this reaction very clean as far as byproducts that are produced. One reducing agent is oxalate, which will be oxidized to carbon dioxide, and the gas will be released from the solution to eliminate any byproduct. The solution chemistry is also an advantage in that it does not require the expensive equipment required for chemical vapor deposition reactions.

The present method is useful in any application where nucleation of metal nanoparticles is desired. In particular, those applications that require highly precise organization of the metal particles would benefit from the current invention. For example, this deposition technique could be useful for positioning electrical leads on a printed circuit board.

For more information, contact Dee Anderson, 801-422-6266.

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