Delft, The Netherlands, January 06, 2019 - Andreas Schmidt-Ott, high-tech pioneer and co-founder of VSParticle announces the launch of the book “Spark Ablation, Building Blocks for Nanotechnology.” The book represents a collective effort being written by a total of 28 researchers from nine different countries, reviewed and edited under Andreas penmanship. The subject deals with spark ablation, a versatile and elegant method of producing the necessary building blocks in nanotechnology. The method is applicable to many technological applications that could lead the way to important innovations in the near future.


In the 1970s and 1980s, Andreas Schmidt-Ott witnessed and contributed to a basic research in solid-state physics dealing with metal particles only a few nanometers in diameter.This size range had been identified as exciting because of the basic changes in the behavior of matter that occur here. The so called “size effects,” had been predicted from quantum theory and started to be experimentally verified at the time.

Below about 5 nm, the property–size relations changes discontinuously and spontaneously with every atom added or removed, which opens, in principle, a myriad of possible properties with applications in catalysis, chemical sensing, electronics, and many other fields. 

40 years later, surprisingly most available inorganic nano products are not yet available in the range of a few nanometers. One of the reasons for the rather slow pace with which we are moving toward the exploitation of size effects below 20 nm is the difficulty of producing well-defined, stable objects and structures in this size range.

Spark ablation, the subject of the book, offers unprecedented flexibility regarding composition and size, opening unlimited access to novel sets of properties. These are emerging properties important in domains like energy conversion and storage, the development of durable artificial leaves converting CO2 and water into fuels and other forms of technologies involved in assuring a sustainable future. Other examples include making use of inorganic particles as catalysts, saving energy in the chemical industry, and avoiding or removing emissions that are threatening to health and climate.

The book seeks to cover the most important application areas in which spark ablation can make a difference and it presents spark ablation as a research tool extremely versatile concerning particle size and composition but also in view of introducing into industry a scalable source of nanoparticulate material.

The book highlights the unique experiences of the authors in dealing with this method and their results so far.

All the chapters complement one another in an interesting way and they manage to create a complete picture of the subject - the broad applicability of spark ablation for scientific, engineering and manufacturing applications.

Mike Roco, Key architect of the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (2000–2020) launched under President Clinton, adorned the back cover with some very valuable comments:

“This book highlights the recent progress in design and spark-ablation-based manufacturing methods of nanoparticles, linking fundamental science to multiple applications from advanced materials to biomedicine. The approach is powerful and versatile and has promise of economic implementation in industry.”



About the Author

Andreas Schmidt-Ott, born in 1952, completed his Ph.D. thesis at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of ETH in Zurich, Switzerland in 1979. In 1988 he joined the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at Duisburg University, Germany as Assistant Professor and then became Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Dept. of the same university, where he was Deputy Faculty Chair 1998 - 2001. Subsequently, he accepted a full professorship in Nanoparticle Technology at the Chemical Engineering Department of Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, where he has an emeritus status since 2018. Since 2016 he is also Adjunct Professor at The Cyprus Institute in Nicosia. His main areas of expertise are Nanoparticle and Materials Technology. He temporarily served as Secretary General of the German Aerosol Association (GAeF) and Board Member of the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR). He is or was a member of several Editorial Boards of journals and advisor to the Health Council of The Netherlands.

In 2014 he co-founded the company VSPARTICLE (Delft, Netherlands), specialized in solutions for producing and applying particles a few nanometers in diameter, for which he is now working as an advisor. VSPARTICLE has based its technology on Spark Ablation, where the company has become the world leader. Spark ablation systems are already being used in research labs all over the world.  The company currently employs 20 people at its headquarters in Delft, and has an international distribution network in the USA, Europe and Asia. ( 


For ordering the book please click here.


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Alessandra Soro

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