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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ultrashort XUV pulse absorption spectroscopy of partially oxidized cobalt nanoparticles

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High-order harmonic generation (HHG) based transient extreme ultraviolet (XUV) absorption spectroscopy is an emerging technique to trace photoinduced charge carrier dynamics in condensed phase materials with femtosecond and even attosecond temporal resolution and elemental specificity. However, its application to nanoparticulate samples that are relevant, for example, for novel photocatalytic light harvesting concepts, has been limited. This is in part due to the challenge to produce residual-free samples on ultrathin, XUV-transparent substrates as well as a widespread understanding that sparsely distributed nanoparticles do not provide sufficient contrast for XUV absorption measurements. Here, we present static XUV absorption spectra of partially oxidized Co nanowire-structures with diameters of approximately 4.5 nm and lengths between 10 and 40 nm, recorded with an ultrashort pulse HHG light source. Nanoparticles are synthesized by the agglomeration of Co atoms inside superfluid helium droplets, followed by surface deposition and oxidation in ambient air. The method is uniquely suited for residual-free synthesis of transition metal nanowires and their deposition on ultrathin substrates. Analysis by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy reveals the formation of CoO nanowires with regions of unoxidized Co in their interior. The nanoparticle samples are investigated in an HHG-driven ultrafast XUV absorption setup. Despite the low surface coverage of only 23%, the recorded spectrum exhibits a distinct absorption feature at the Co M2,3(2p) edge near 60 eV with a peak height of about 40 mOD. The results support the feasibility of table-top ultrafast transient XUV absorption studies of photoinduced dynamics in transition metal oxide nanoparticles with sub-monolayer surface coverage.

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