The Stardust machine has been constructed to simulate the formation of dust grains in the atmospheres of Asymptotic Giant Branch Stars (AGBs), their evolution and further interaction with the ambient UV radiation.
On May 8, 2018, the first paper on the NANOCOSMOS Stardust machine has been published at the “Scientific Reports” journal (Scientific Reports, volume 8, Article number: 7250 (2018)).
After almost 4 years of hard work at the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM-CSIC), the article comprises the stages of the design, development, commissioning and first-light experiments of this innovative experimental station.
Stardust integrates a precise tool to fabricate high quantities of complex nanoparticles, perform in-flight manipulation and in-situ characterization, all through five Ultra-High Vacuum (UHV) modules assembled. The article presents the precise fabrication, manipulation and in-situ analysis of Cu nanoparticles, as part of the commissioning of the machine.
To the best of our knowledge, several milestones have been achieved, such as:
– The new design of the scaled-up Multiple Ion Cluster Source (MICS) addresses a significant step-forward towards industrial implementation of gas aggregation sources, for applications with special requirements such as controlled purity, size distribution, stoichiometry and structure of the nanoparticles.
– First-time accurate control of the Cu oxidation state through reactive sputtering using gas aggregation sources that avoids poisoning of the target by injecting large amounts of oxygen.
– Integration of several techniques that combine the fine control of nanoparticle fabrication with high throughputs, in-flight manipulation (i.e.: gas injection at different stages, heating, accelerating, …) and in-situ characterization (electron spectroscopy techniques and thermal desorption spectroscopy).
This research was presented in the paper “Precisely controlled fabrication, manipulation and in-situ analysis of Cu based nanoparticles“, published in Scientific Reports 8, 7250 (13pp), 2018 May 8. The authors are: Lidia Martínez (Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid, ICMM-CSIC, Madrid, Spain), Koen Lauwaet (ICMM-CSIC), Gonzalo Santoro (ICMM-CSIC), Jesús M. Sobrado (Centro de Astrobiología, CSIC-INTA, Torrejón de Ardoz, Spain), Ramón J. Peláez (Instituto de Estructura de la Materia, IEM-CSIC, Madrid, Spain), Víctor J. Herrero (IEM-CSIC), Isabel Tanarro (IEM-CSIC), Gary J. Ellis (Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de Polímeros, ICTP-CSIC, Madrid, Spain), José Cernicharo (Instituto de Física Fundamental, IFF-CSIC, Madrid, Spain), Christine Joblin (Université de Toulouse, UPS-OMP, IRAP; CNRS, IRAP, Toulouse, France), Yves Huttel (ICMM-CSIC) and Jose Angel Martín-Gago (ICMM-CSIC).