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.
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.
UC3M e-Archivo: http://hdl.handle.net/10016/18605
OIC | EurekAlert!
Hubble observes one-of-a-kind star nicknamed 'Nasty'
22.05.2015 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Basel Physicists Develop Efficient Method of Signal Transmission from Nanocomponents
22.05.2015 | Universität Basel
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...
On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.
RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...
Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego developed a gel filled with toxin-absorbing nanosponges that could lead to an effective treatment for skin and wound infections caused by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This "nanosponge-hydrogel" minimized the growth of skin lesions on mice infected with MRSA - without the use of antibiotics. The researchers recently published their findings online in Advanced Materials.
To make the nanosponge-hydrogel, the team mixed nanosponges, which are nanoparticles that absorb dangerous toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli and other...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
26.05.2015 | Life Sciences
26.05.2015 | Materials Sciences
26.05.2015 | Studies and Analyses