Development and applications of nanocomposite thin films  

Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) is a well-established technique for the development of high-quality thin films. An intense laser pulse irradiates the material to be deposited (the target) and creates a plasma plume, which expands in space and builds a thin film of the target material on a closely positioned substrate. The deposition can occur in vacuum or in the presence of a background gas, such as oxygen or nitrogen, for the fabrication of oxides, nitrides, etc. In collaboration with Dr. Michael Kompitsas, we employ a novel variation of PLD, where we use two synchronized lasers to simultaneously ablate two different target materials. This way we can achieve the deposition of thin films (ZnO, NiO, TiO2, SnO2, etc.) that contain nanoparticles from the second target material, in the bulk or on the surface. The presence of nanoparticles affects the properties of the films in a controlled fashion, paving the way for new exciting applications with improved performance. We also use PLD in combination with other thin-film fabrication methods, such as sol-gel chemistry and sputtering, for the development of nanocomposite thin films and applications.   

Schematic representation of the Pulsed Laser Deposition setup.

Nanocomposite metal-oxide gas sensors

We develop chemoresistive gas sensors based on metal-oxide thin films, such as ZnO and NiO,  doped with metallic nanoparticles, such as Au, Pd, etc., and other elements, e.g. Li. These films operate as highly sensitive gas sensors with low detection limit for the early detection of toxic and dangerous gases (e.g. hydrogen) as well as for gases contained in the human breath (e.g. acetone) for medical diagnostics. The principle of operation is based on variations of the electrical resistance of the films in the presence of the analyte gas. The metallic nanoparticles act both as nanoelectrodes between the metal-oxide film grains and as catalysts, reducing the film resistivity and enhancing the reaction with the analyte. This enables the operation of the sensors at low temperatures of 100 - 200 C, rendering them energy efficient and easy to power. We were able to detect hydrogen concentrations as low as 300 ppb with a NiO:Pd sensor operating at 145 C, which is at the lower end of the state of the art.        

Hydrogen sensing with NiO:Au and NiO:Pd thin films.

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Photocatalysis and thin-film solar cells

We develop TiO2 thin films, doped with noble metals (Au, Ag, Pd, Pt), for water purification via heterogeneous photocatalysis. Additionally, we develop nanocomposite metal oxide layers with embedded metallic nanoparticles as novel low-cost transparent electrodes, which allow for plasmonic-enhanced light absorption for solar cells and other optoelectronic applications.   

Related publications

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I. Fasaki, M. Kandyla, M.G. Tsoutsouva, and M. Kompitsas

Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 176, 103 (2013)

arXiv:1304.5364

I. Fasaki, M. Kandyla, and M. Kompitsas

Applied Physics A 107, 899 (2012)

arXiv:1304.5139

M. Kandyla, C. Chatzimanolis-Moustakas, E.P. Koumoulos, C. Charitidis, and M. Kompitsas

Materials Research Bulletin 49, 552 (2014)

arXiv:1312.0433

M. Kandyla, C. Chatzimanolis-Moustakas, M. Guziewicz, and M. Kompitsas

Materials Letters 119, 51 (2014)

arXiv:1401.5122

Schematic representation of a thin-film hydrogenated silicon solar cell.

I. Sta, M. Jlassi, M. Kandyla, M. Hajji, P. Koralli, R. Allagui, M. Kompitsas, and H. Ezzaouia

Journal of Alloys and Compounds 626, 87 (2015)

arXiv:1412.6554


I. Sta, M. Jlassi, M. Kandyla, M. Hajji, P. Koralli, F. Krout, M. Kompitsas, and H. Ezzaouia

International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 41, 3291 (2016)


A. Mellos, M. Kandyla, D. Palles, and M. Kompitsas

Physica Status Solidi C 14, 1600088 (2017)

arXiv:1704.04276


M. Alexiadou, M. Kandyla, G. Mousdis, and M. Kompitsas

Applied Physics A 123, 262 (2017)

arXiv:1704.04279

I. Sta, M. Jlassi, M. Hajji, M.F. Boujmil, R. Jerbi, M. Kandyla, M. Kompitsas, and H. Ezzaouia

Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology 72, 421 (2014)

open access

K. Sahbeni, I. Sta, M. Jlassi, M. Kandyla, M. Hajji, M. Kompitsas, and W. Dimassi

Journal of Physical Chemistry and Biophysics 7, 1000257 (2017)

C. Moslah, M. Kandyla, G.A. Mousdis, G. Petropoulou, and M. Ksibi

Physica Status Solidi A 215, 1800023 (2018)