In the spark ablation process, a carrier gas is required in addition to electrodes made of the material one would like to obtain nanoparticles of. The role of the carrier gas is to facilitate controlled sparking and transport the produced nanoparticles out of the system. In general, noble gasses as well as nitrogen may be used as carrier gases for the spark ablation process. Currently, the most used carrier gases are nitrogen (N) and argon (Ar), but others have been used as well.

The key differences between the various gases with respect to spark ablation is a property known as the breakdown voltage of a gas. The various noble gases and nitrogen have different breakdown voltages that affect the characteristics of the sparks in the process and thereby affect the formation of nanoparticles. For example, a carrier gas with a higher breakdown voltage allows for more power per spark, ablating more of the electrode material.

Elements such as hydrogen and oxygen may be added to the carrier gas used to create hydride and oxide nanoparticles or to prevent oxidation. For example, a common combination is to use argon as carrier gas with a small fraction of hydrogen to strip the gas of any oxygen, preventing the oxidation of the nanoparticles.

Basic data

NameNitrogen (N)
Configuration2s2 2p3
Group15 (Pnictogens)
Magnetic typeDiamagnetic
Melting point-210 ℃
Boiling point-196 ℃

Interesting reads

We have no relevant literature available yet on this element with respect to nanoparticle synthesis or functionality. Please help expand our database by letting us know about relevant publications!


The pie chart presented here is based on the distribution of research literature across various fields of application research over the period 1992 to 2017. The value listed is the number of papers discussing Nitrogen related to nanoparticles, sorted by application field. This gives an indication which applications are being or have been researched and where the core interest is. However, the distribution does not correct for the total publications in a given application field. So, a high score for a given application field indicates there is considerable interest in the element in that field, but it may also mean the field itself has considerable more publications than other fields. Therefore, the pie chart gives a general overview only. The application fields themselves are discussed in more detail on our Nanoparticles page.

Additionally, the total number of publications provides some insight in the amount of research into Nitrogen used in nanoparticles in general. Typically, a well-researched element will show 1000 or more publications over the 1992-2017 period.

Alloys and composites

The graph below presents an analysis of literature on core-shell, alloy and composite particles with nitrogen as a component of such nanoparticles. It shows possible combinations for alloy or composite nanoparticles and reflects research interest during the 1992-2017 period.