Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Thin films of silicon nanoparticles roll into flexible nanotubes


By depositing nanoparticles onto a charged surface, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have crafted nanotubes from silicon that are flexible and nearly as soft as rubber.

"Resembling miniature scrolls, the nanotubes could prove useful as catalysts, guided laser cavities and nanorobots," said Sahraoui Chaieb, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Illinois and a researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

To create their flexible nanotubes, Chaieb and his colleagues – physics professor Munir Nayfeh and graduate research assistant Adam Smith – start with a colloidal suspension of silicon nanoparticles (each particle is about 1 nanometer in diameter) in alcohol. By applying an electric field, the researchers drive the nanoparticles to the surface of a positively charged substrate, where they form a thin film.

Upon drying, the film spontaneously detaches from the substrate and rolls into a nanotube. Nanotubes with diameters ranging from 2 to 5 microns and up to 100 microns long have been achieved.

Using an atomic force microscope, the researchers found that the Young’s modulus (a measure of a material’s elasticity) of the film was about 5,000 times smaller than that of bulk silicon, but just 30 times larger than that of rubber.

"We suspect that the nanotubes consist of silicon nanoparticles held together by oxygen atoms to form a three-dimensional network," Chaieb said. "The nanotubes are soft and flexible because of the presence of the oxygen atoms. This simple bottom-up approach will give other researchers ideas how to build inexpensive active structures for lab-on-chip applications."

"Because the silicon nanoparticles – which are made using a basic electrochemical procedure – have properties such as photoluminescence, photostability and stimulated emission, the resulting nanotubes might serve as nanodiodes and flexible lasers that could be controlled with an electric field," Nayfeh said.

James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First results of NSTX-U research operations
26.10.2016 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

nachricht Scientists discover particles similar to Majorana fermions
25.10.2016 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

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: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>