Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

‘There’s Gold In Them That Exhausts!’

30.08.2007
Leicester discovery paves way for extraordinary applications including targeted drug delivery and cleaner fuels

A University of Leicester research team is working on a new technique for growing nanoparticles which could have extraordinary implications in electronics, medicine, the measurement of atmospheric air and the cleansing of car exhausts.

Dr Andrew Ellis and Dr Shengfu Yang, both of the University’s Department of Chemistry, have discovered a niche way of making nanoparticles that cannot be formed in any other way.

Working with Professor Chris Binns and Dr Klaus von Haeften in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, they are developing a technique involving the use of helium nanodroplets.

These are droplets of superfluid liquid helium, consisting of thousands, even millions, of helium atoms loosely bound together.

Atoms and molecules can enter these droplets and can be assembled into structures that cannot be made by any conventional chemical synthesis.

Dr Ellis explained: “The technique gives us the ability to design nanoparticles layer by layer. These layers can be a solid, such as a metal, or a gas or liquid. So we could have a liquid or gaseous core with a solid shell round it.

“We are still exploring what uses this might have. We hope that it will enable us to design new types of catalysts for improved manufacture of chemicals. Other possibilities include the construction of nanoparticles for storing information in smaller hard disk drives in PCs, or maybe even a useful way of introducing small drug molecules into specific locations in the human body.”

The layer-by-layer growth of nanoparticles inside ultra-cold helium droplets will allow the researchers to synthesise entirely new classes of nanoparticles.

Some possibilities include:

Catalysis. An example is gold, which can already be obtained as pure nanoparticles with interesting properties as catalytic converters for cleaning carbon monoxide from car exhausts. Their efficiency depends on the size of the gold nanoparticles. Dr Ellis’s research team can not only control the size of the nanoparticles, but can also attempt to ‘tune’ the scrubbing efficiency by coating the gold onto a ‘core’ built from a different material.

Medicine. It is possible to trap a drug molecule in a water-filled shell and wrap it in a thin protective layer. This could then be injected to the site of interest in a body and the drug could be selectively released at the point desired, for instance by illumination with light sufficient to disrupt the protective shell.

Ather Mirza | alfa
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property
26.07.2017 | City College of New York

nachricht Large, distant comets more common than previously thought
26.07.2017 | University of Maryland

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: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

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

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Getting closer to porous, light-responsive materials

26.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

Large, distant comets more common than previously thought

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>