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 Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>