Nanoparticles can be produced with non-thermal plasmas (NPTs). They can process materials that are difficult or even impossible to handle with other processing schemes, making them particularly useful for the synthesis of a wide range of materials in nanoparticle form. The nonequilibrium environment enables the synthesis of nanocrystals with excellent crystallinity and narrow size distributions. NPTs can overcome many limitations of other processes and produce silicon nanoparticles with excellent precursor utilization and good control over size and size distribution.
Silicon nanoparticles produced via non-thermal plasmas can be easily dispersed in carbon-based matrices, leading to structures with promising performance as anodes for lithium-ion batteries. NPT synthesis can generate doped nanocrystals. NPTs can negatively charge particles due to the high flux of electrons compared to ions, which slows down agglomeration and enables the production of ultra-fine powders. NPTs lead to intense heating of nanoparticles due to electron–ion recombination and other surface-driven reactions, enabling the production of nanocrystals of high melting point materials such as silicon and titanium nitride. In summary, NPTs have emerged as a viable alternative to nanocrystal synthesis in the liquid phase or by other gas phase based methods. EHT’s nanosecond pulsers can produce the NPTs necessary for nanoparticle production.