Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Materials Science and Engineering


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Ludovico Cademartiri


Removing the organic fraction from hybrid nanostructures is a crucial step in most

bottom-up materials fabrication approaches. It is usually assumed that calcination is an

effective solution, especially for thin films. This assumption has led to its application in

thousands of papers. We here test this assumption using a relevant and highly controlled

model system consisting of thin films of ligand-capped ZrO2 nanocrystals. Consistently with

carbonization, while Raman characterization fails to detect the ligands after calcination, EBS

characterization demonstrates that ~20% of the original carbons are left behind even after

calcination at 800C for 12hrs. By comparison plasma processing successfully removes the

ligands. Our growth kinetic analysis shows that the leftover carbon can significantly affect

interfacial properties.

We then employ plasma processing to remove ligands from synthesized colloidal

silicon nanoparticle (nc-Si) assemblies to form crack free thin films. We also compare the

Reactive Ion etching characteristics of these plasma processed thin films with single

crystalline silicon (sc-Si). The ligand free nc-Si thin films etch a rate twice as fast as sc-Si.

The faster etch rates are expected owing to the porous structure of the colloidal nanostructure

assemblies compared to sc-Si.

Copyright Owner

Pratyasha Mohapatra



File Format


File Size

60 pages