A method is presented to directly measure the mass output of an impaction printer coupled with a spark ablation generator. It is based on a quartz crystal microbalance and shown to be reliable in quantifying mass deposition rate. Here, the method is demonstrated with an Au nanoparticle aerosol synthesized under several spark ablation and deposition settings. Changes in the deposition rate in response to changed synthesis conditions follow the spark ablation models on generation rate made in previous studies, validating this novel measurement method. In combination with the volume of a deposit, a good estimate of the film porosity can be made. The Au nanoparticle films synthesized here have a low porosity of 0.18 due to extensive restructuring and compaction on impact with the substrate. The porosity is found to be insensitive to deposition settings and is constant throughout the film. The simplicity and low cost of a quartz crystal microbalance setup make this an accessible method to determine porosity in porous thin films.

DOI 10.1088/1361-6528/ac7811

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