New process to make nanospheres could enable advances across multiple industries


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8(Nanowerk News) A patent-pending technology to produce  nanospheres developed by a research team at North Dakota State University,  Fargo, could enable advances across multiple industries, including electronics,  manufacturing, and biomedical sectors.

 

The environmentally-friendly process produces polymer-based  nanospheres (tiny microscopic particles) that are uniform in size and shape,  while being low-cost and easily reproducible. The process developed at NDSU  allows scale-up of operation to high production levels, without requiring  specialized manufacturing equipment.

NANOSPHERES
The environmentally-friendly process oxidizes ozone in water to produce  polymer-based nanospheres, ranging from 70 to 400 nanometers in diameter, that  are uniform in size and shape, stay suspended in solution, and are easily  removed using a centrifuge. The scanning electron microscopy image depicts the  uniform spherical morphology of these nanospheres.

A 3 a.m. Eureka! moment

Dr. Victoria Gelling, associate professor in the Department of  Coatings and Polymeric Materials at NDSU, had a “Eureka!” moment when she woke  early one morning – 3 a.m., to be precise, an hour when most of us are still  sleeping. Dr. Gelling used early morning creativity to imagine a new way to  oxidize monomers, which are relatively small and simple molecules, into  polymers, which are larger, more complex molecules that can be used to create  synthetic materials. Dr. Gelling hypothesized that oxidizing ozone in water  might accomplish this task.

Later that day in the lab, Dr. Gelling and her team tested the  hypothesis. On the first try, they created a suspension of nearly perfectly  rounded, uniformly-sized nanospheres, ranging from 70 to 400 nanometers in  diameter. In addition to their uniform size, the nanospheres stay suspended in  the solution, and are easily removed using a centrifuge.

“The synthesis of the nanospheres is rather simple, with no  other chemicals required other than water, ozone, and the small molecules which  will become the polymers,” said Dr. Gelling. “We also have tight control of the  size, as they are beautiful, perfect marbles.”

Given their uniform size and shape, the nanospheres could have  uses across multiple industries. According to Dr. Gelling, such nanospheres  could be used to:

  • Produce  high-performance electronic devices and energy-efficient digital displays
  • Create  materials with high conductivity and smaller parts for consumer electronics
  • Deliver  medicine directly to diseased cells in the body
  • Provide  antibacterial coating on dressing for wounds
  • Develop  nanosensors to aid in early disease detection
  • Create  coatings that provide increased protection against corrosion and  abrasion

Watch the Video Here: http://youtu.be/ndK-NzULfAk

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