Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Iowa State, Ames Laboratory scientists advance the understanding of the big getting bigger

05.11.2010
Patricia Thiel of Iowa State University and the Ames Laboratory put a box of tissues to the right, a stack of coasters to the middle and a trinket box to the left.

"Nature," she said of her table-top illustration, "doesn't want lots of little things." So Thiel grabbed the smaller things and slid them into a single pile next to the bigger tissue box. "Nature wants one big thing all together, like this."

Thiel, an Iowa State Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and a faculty scientist for the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, and James Evans, an Iowa State professor of physics and astronomy and a faculty scientist for the Ames Laboratory, describe that process in the Oct. 29 issue of the journal Science.

The paper, "A Little Chemistry Helps the Big Get Bigger," is in the journal's Perspectives section. It describes a process called coarsening. That's when "a group of objects of different sizes transforms into fewer objects with larger average size, such that 'the big get bigger,'" says the paper. Examples of the process include the geologic formation of gemstones, the degradation of pharmaceutical suspensions and the manufacture of structural steels.

Thiel and Evans were invited to write the paper after Thiel delivered a talk at an American Chemical Society meeting about their studies of coarsening, an emerging field in surface chemistry.

Thiel worked with Mingmin Shen, a former Iowa State doctoral student who is now a post-doctoral research associate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., on the experimental side of the coarsening research. Evans worked with Da-Jiang Liu, an associate scientist at the Ames Laboratory, on the theoretical side of the project.

The researchers, with the support of grants from the National Science Foundation, have been using scanning tunneling microscope technology – an instrument that allows them to see individual atoms – to study how coarsening happens on the surface of objects.

They've studied nanoscale particles grown on the surface of silver and how adding sulfur can increase coarsening. They're trying to learn the mechanism of that increase and understand the nature of the messengers that move atoms during the coarsening process.

What Thiel and Evans are looking for is a general principle that explains what they call additive-enhanced coarsening. To do that, Thiel said they still need to collect and analyze data from more coarsening systems.

Evans said a better understanding of the coarsening process can help researchers develop small structures – including nanoscale technologies, catalysts or drug suspensions – that resist coarsening and are therefore more durable. A better understanding could also help researchers manipulate coarsening to develop structures with a very narrow distribution of particle sizes, something important to some nanotechnologies.

"When we're building something on a small scale, for it to be useful, it has to be robust, it has to survive," Evans said. "And one thing we're looking at is the stability of the very tiny structures that are crucial to nanoscale technologies."

Patricia Thiel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ameslab.gov
http://www.iastate.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>