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Atomic Dust

  1. Sep 20, 2005 #1
    I wanted to do some research on Atomic dust.

    The process would take a metal and vaporize it by a high powered LASER in a vacuum and then allow the metal vapor to cool in the vacuum an then fall to the bottem of the chamber as Atomically fine dust particles of the metal.

    Is there any research out there that is attemting the study of this?

    The only thing I have researched so far that's even close to this is the making of nanotubes with Carbon from vaporization techniques.

    I wanted to see if Atomically fine metal dust could be Hydrolically pressed with materials that have lower melting points on an Atomically even mixture ratio and it's properties, Possibly making some odd dielectrics.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 20, 2005 #2


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    Sounds an awful lot like vacuum vapor deposition to me.

    For example, when the mirror of a big telescope needs to be replaced - they put it in
    a vacuum chamber and vaporize aluminum in the chamber. As the chamber is cooled,
    the aluminum vapor "plates out" on all the interior surfaces including the mirror.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
  4. Sep 20, 2005 #3
    You will have trouble with this. The atoms move way to fast to fall and they
    will end up hitting the walls like little bullets.
  5. Sep 20, 2005 #4


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    I do see a problem trying to vaporize in a vacuum. As Morbius points out, the vapor simply plates out on the nearest cold surface.

    On the other hand, possibly doing this in a partial vacuum with a noble gas like Xe or Kr might help cool the metal particles, and it will probably be particles rather than atoms.

    There are various folks doing metal vaporization and nanoparticle manufacturing. Penn State has some folks doing physical vapor deposition using electron beam heating, and I am quite sure there are many more folks doing this too. NASA Glenn is a possibility, and so are the DOE Labs like Argonne, Oak Ridge, and perhaps Los Alamos and Livermore - but I am just speculating.

    There is a trade group that does powder metallurgy, and I would expect they use PVD techniques. Most applications involve pressing metal and mechanically-blended alloy mixtures in power form to near net shape and then sintering. This approach is particularly useful for refractory metals and alloys which are extremely difficult to machine.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2005
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