Laser ablative technology was used to prepare monodisperse nanoparticles (4-20 nm in diameter) of lead zirconate titanate (PZT). Laser ablation of a PZT ceramic target in oxygen ambience produced amorphous and irregularly shaped PZT nanoparticles. A subsequent on-line thermal treatment performed on the PZT nanoparticles dispersed in the gas phase brought about compaction and crystallization of the nanoparticles without additional particle growth. It was found that the amorphous nanoparticles began to crystallize above 600°C, and they became a perovskite structure at 900°C. The crystallized nanoparticles were then size classified by a differential mobility analyzer to yield monodisperse, highly pure, and single-crystalline PZT nanoparticles.
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