Resonant Infrared and Ultraviolet Matrix-Assisted Pulsed Laser Evaporation of Titanium Oxide/Graphene Oxide Composites: A Comparative Study
Pure titanium dioxide (TiO2) and graphene oxide (GO) as well as TiO2/GO composite structures were grown by matrix-assisted pulsed laser evaporation (MAPLE) in a controlled oxygen atmosphere. The MAPLE target dispersions were prepared using distilled water as solvent matrix, with TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) and GO platelets serving as host materials. Two laser sources, a free-running IR Er:YAG (λ = 2940 nm, τfwhm ≅ 350 μs, ν = 10 Hz) and a UV KrF* excimer (λ = 248 nm, τfwhm ≅ 25 ns, ν = 10 Hz) laser, were used for the transfer and immobilization experiments by infrared (IR)- and ultraviolet (UV)-MAPLE, respectively. The potential physical mechanisms implied in both the IR- and UV-MAPLE processes are discussed, based on numerical simulations of temperature evolution of the distilled water matrix, TiO2 NPs, and GO platelets. Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of IR- and UV-MAPLE processes for the immobilization of nanoentities onto solid substrates. During IR-MAPLE, the laser radiation is primarily absorbed by the water matrix. The materials transferred to the substrate surface resemble the initial starting materials used for the preparation of the MAPLE target dispersions. Conversely, during UV-MAPLE the UV radiation is mainly absorbed by the nanoentities dispersed in the water matrix. The structural transformation of the nanoentities deposited by UV-MAPLE is significant as compared to the starting materials.