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Appropriate salt concentration of nanodiamond colloids for electrostatic self-assembly seeding of monosized individual diamond nanoparticles on silicon dioxide surfaces

: Yoshikawa, T.; Zürbig, V.; Gao, F.; Hoffmann, R.; Nebel, C.E.; Ambacher, O.; Lebedev, V.


Langmuir. The ACS journal of surfaces and colloids 31 (2015), No.19, pp.5319-5325
ISSN: 0743-7463
ISSN: 1520-5827
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IAF ()

Monosized (∼4 nm) diamond nanoparticles arranged on substrate surfaces are exciting candidates for single-photon sources and nucleation sites for ultrathin nanocrystalline diamond film growth. The most commonly used technique to obtain substrate-supported diamond nanoparticles is electrostatic self-assembly seeding using nanodiamond colloidal suspensions. Currently, monodisperse nanodiamond colloids, which have a narrow distribution of particle sizes centering on the core particle size (∼4 nm), are available for the seeding technique on different substrate materials such as Si, SiO2, Cu, and AlN. However, the self-assembled nanoparticles tend to form small (typically a few tens of nanometers or even larger) aggregates on all of those substrate materials. In this study, this major weakness of self-assembled diamond nanoparticles was solved by modifying the salt concentration of nanodiamond colloidal suspensions. Several salt concentrations of colloidal suspensions were prepared using potassium chloride as an inserted electrolyte and were examined with respect to seeding on SiO2 surfaces. The colloidal suspensions and the seeded surfaces were characterized by dynamic light scattering and atomic force microscopy, respectively. Also, the interaction energies between diamond nanoparticles in each of the examined colloidal suspensions were compared on the basis of the Derjaguin–Landau–Verwey–Overbeek (DLVO) theory. From these investigations, it became clear that the appropriate salt concentration suppresses the formation of small aggregates during the seeding process owing to the modified electrostatic repulsive interaction between nanoparticles. Finally, monosized (<10 nm) individual diamond nanoparticles arranged on SiO2 surfaces have been successfully obtained.