Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A mathematical equation that explains the behavior of nanofoams

25.03.2014

A research study, participated in by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), has discovered that nanometric-size foam structures follow the same universal laws as does soap lather: small bubbles disappear in favor of the larger ones.

The scientific team, made up of researchers from the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spanish National Research Council) - CSIC, the Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid- UPCO, and UC3M, reached this conclusion after producing and characterizing nanofoam formed by ion radiation on a silicon surface. This study, recently published in the journal, Physical Review Letters, describes the evolution of these nanostructures during the time of irradiation.


For this purpose, the scientists carried out an experiment that consisted in “bombardment” of a small silicon plate with energetic particles from a plasma. The objective was to observe how the surface of this crystal reacted to these different “attacks” from this type of ion radiation (ions are used: atoms of a gas that have lost an electron).

“At the outset, we were studying other methods of erosion and looking for a rippled structure at the edge of our sample after applying this technique, but when we looked at its center we observed a cellular structure that got our attention because of its similarity to many other natural and artificial systems,” one of the authors of the study, Mario Castro, UPCO Professor, revealed.

Cellular structures that are more or less disordered can be found in many natural systems: from the hides of animals, such as a giraffe, to bath froth or beer foam, to microscopic fluid convection, basalt column landscapes or diverse crystalline materials. This particular order is also evident in artificial structures and even political ones, such as modern architecture or demarcation of provinces on maps.

“It is of interest to confirm that the same universal laws which regulate the cellular structures in other systems are also regulating at the nanoscale,” Rodolfo Cuerno from the UC3M Mathematics Department noted.

“Furthermore,” he added “it is the first time that the evolution of a system of this kind is reproduced quite well by a single differential equation,” which also is applied to other systems. The validity of the model in this study means that the formation of certain self-organized patterns and the dynamics of the foam would be different manifestations of a same principle.

“The results of this study help us to understand how certain material systems evolve in the presence of an external agent, as in this case of ion radiation. In addition, there exists interest of a practical nature because of the importance of the technological applications of silicon as well as for the nanometric dimensions in which the phenomenon unfolds,” explained Luis Vázquez, from the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales (Materials Science Institute) de Madrid at the CSIC.

The experimental observations have been carried out using an atomic force microscope, a machine with great precision. This type of microscope has enormous spatial resolution: it distinguishes variations in height up to a nanometer (the millionth part of a millimeter) and movements on a horizontal plane of up to 10 nanometers.

This research could have further future applications, since in general, methods are being sought to produce structures with nanometric dimensions for diverse uses, according to the scientists: for example, in order to obtain favorable conditions in certain catalytic chemical reactions, to optimize displacement of fluids in circuits on such small scale or in optoelectronics, to generate laser light if certain structures are sufficiently ordered.

Further information:

Pattern-Wavelength Coarsening from Topological Dynamics in Silicon Nanofoams
M. Castro, R. Cuerno, M. M. García-Hernández y L. Vázquez
Physical Review Letters 112, 094103. Published March 7, 2014.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.094103
http://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.094103
UC3M e-Archivo: http://hdl.handle.net/10016/18605

OIC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://portal.uc3m.es/portal/page/portal/actualidad_cientifica/noticias/nanofoams

Further reports about: CSIC Nanofoams UC3M artificial foam nanostructures structure structures

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight
16.08.2017 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Tracking a solar eruption through the solar system
16.08.2017 | American Geophysical Union

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>