Office for Technology Commercialization

Plasma Synthesis of Nanocrystals

Technology #20160397-z07107-z03212

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Uwe Kortshagen, PhD
Professor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Science and Engineering
External Link (
Managed By
Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Patent Protection
US Patent 8,945,673
US Patent 7,446,335
US Patent 8,016,944

Gas-Phase Nanocrystal Synthesis Technologies Available for Licensing

Three cost effective technologies for creating nanocrystals via a gas-plasma, non-aqueous process are available to license. Gas phase production of these nanocrystals is faster, higher yield and more cost efficient than current processes. The technologies can be optioned for a six month trial period for a $10,000 Try fee to enable testing of the commercial viability of this process to produce nanocrystals for your application.

MN-IP Try and Buy
  • $10,000 for a six month trial
  • Trial fee is waived for MN companies or if sponsoring $50,000+ research with the University
  • No US patent costs during trial
  • $40,000 conversion fee (TRY to BUY)
  • Royalty rate of 3% (2% for MN company)
  • Royalty free for first $1M in sales

** View the Term Sheet **

The license includes these three technologies:

Core/Shell Nanocrystal Synthesis in Nonthermal Plasmas

An innovative gas-phase method uses a modified plasma reactor to generate core/shell nanocrystals in nonthermal plasmas by afterglow PECVD shell growth. The technology uses afterglow to react a secondary shell onto a primary (core) particle to synthesize group IV nanocrystals that could be used in a variety of applications such as biological imaging, photovoltaics, and energy conversion/storage. Using afterglow limits nanoparticle temperature, which may suppress interdiffusion at the core/shell interface and reduce the degree of alloying. This process, which generates minimal chemical waste, reduces particle agglomeration and does not use any additional ligands, produces epitaxial particles with improved photonic properties and allows for deliberate doping of the nanocrystal core and/or shell.

Nanoparticles Functionalized with Organic Molecules

A novel gas phase method and apparatus effectively grafts organic molecules onto silicon nanocrystals to form a passivation layer. The process produces grafted Group IV nanoparticles quickly, at room temperature and with minimal particle aggregation and diffusional losses. The plasma-treated particles are readily soluble in various nonpolar solvents.

High-Yield Plasma Synthesis of Luminescent Silicon Nanocrystals

A single-step continuous flow non-thermal plasma process produces luminescent silicon nanocrystals. The nanocrystals, which range between 2 and 8 nm, can be produced within milliseconds. The process involves passing an argon-silane (SiH4) precursor gas mixture through a quartz reactor tube upon which radio-frequency power is applied through copper ring electrodes, generating a radiofrequency (RF) plasma. The nanocrystals created in this unique plasma environment are collected downstream from the plasma and produce consistent, desirable yields, easily scalable through parallelizing.