An ultrathin film containing 1-nanometer thick clay particles has been created for the first time, an accomplishment that may yield new materials and devices for medicine, electronics and engineering, according to Purdue University and Belgian scientists.
Cliff Johnston uses a laser to look at a clay particle in his Purdue University lab. The laser helps Johnston study the structure and orientation of the clay. This particular layer is approximately 1 million times the thickness of the one nanometer-thick layer researchers recently developed. (Purdue Agricultural Communications photo/Tom Campbell)
Cliff Johnston peers through a model of a 1 nanometer-thick layer of clay at his Purdue University laboratory. It would take 70,000 of the clay layers to equal the thickness of one human hair. Using these ultrathin films, researchers hope to develop new materials that will benefit medicine, electronics and engineering. Johnston, an environmental chemist in the agronomy department, also is a researcher in Purdues Birck Nanotechnology Center. (Agricultural Communications photo/Tom Campbell – model courtesy of Darrell Schulze)
Using a method that captures clay particles on a crystal, Purdue and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven research partners were able to produce, see and manipulate a single layer of clay. It would take 70,000 of these layers to equal the thickness of a human hair. The thickness of one clay particle is about 1 nanometer, and being able to see one of these layers is equivalent to standing on Earth and being able to see footprints on the moon.
The researchers joint findings will be reported in the May 27 issue of the journal Langmuir, a publication of the American Chemical Society. The report is currently on the publications Web site .
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