Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers create freestanding nanoparticle films without fillers

10.06.2009
Nanoparticle films are no longer a delicate matter: Vanderbilt physicists have found a way to make them strong enough so they don¹t disintegrate at the slightest touch.
­In the last 25 years, ever since scientists figured out how to create nanoparticles ­ ultrafine particles with diameters less than 100 nanometers ­ they have come up with a number of different methods to mold them into thin films which have a variety of interesting potential applications ranging from semiconductor fabrication to drug delivery, solid state lighting to flexible television and computer displays.

Until now these films have had a common problem: lack of cohesion.
Nanoparticles typically consist of an inorganic core coated with a thin layer of organic molecules. These particles are not very sticky so they don¹t form coherent thin films unless they are encapsulated in a polymer coating or mixed with molecules called chemical ³cross-linkers² that act like glue to stick the nanoparticles together.

³Adding this extra material can complicate the fabrication of nanoparticle films and make them more expensive. In addition, the added material, usually a polymer, can modify the physical properties that make these films so interesting,² says James Dickerson, assistant professor of physics at Vanderbilt, who headed the research group that developed freestanding nanoparticle films without any additives.

The properties of the new films and the method that the researchers use to create them is described in the article ³Sacrificial layer electrophoretic deposition of freestanding multilayered nanoparticle films² published online in the journal Chemical Communications on May 27, 2009.

³Our films are so resilient that we can pick them up with a pair of tweezers and move them around on a surface without tearing,² says Dickerson. ³This makes it particularly easy to put them into microelectronic devices, such as computer chips.²

Dickerson considers the most straightforward applications for his films to be in semiconductor manufacturing to aid in the continued miniaturization of digital circuitry and in the production of flexible television and computer screens.

A key component in the transistors in integrated circuits is an insulating layer that separates the gate, which turns current flow on and off, from the channel through which the current flows. Traditionally, semiconductor manufacturers have used silicon dioxide for this purpose. As transistors have shrunk, however, they have been forced to make this layer thinner and thinner until they reached the point where electrons leak through and sap the power from the device. This has led semiconductor manufacturers to retool their process to use ³high-k² dielectric materials, such as hafnium oxide, because they have much higher electrical resistance.

³We have made high-k nanoparticle films that could be cheaper and more effective than the high-k materials the manufacturers are currently using,² Dickerson says.

In addition, the physicist argues that the films have properties that make them ideal for flexible television and computer screens. They are very flexible and don¹t show any signs of cracking when they are flexed repeatedly. They are also made using a technique called electrophoretic deposition (EPD) that is well suited for creating patterned material and is compatible with fluorescent materials that can form the red, green and blue pixels used in flat panel television screens and computer displays.

EDP is a wet method. Nanoparticles are placed in a solution along with a pair of electrodes. When an electric current is applied, it creates an electrical field in the liquid that attracts the nanoparticles, which coat the electrodes. Using colloids, mixtures with particles 10 to 1,000 times larger than nanoparticles, EDP is widely used to apply coatings to complex metal parts such as automobile bodies, prosthetic devices, appliances and beverage containers. It is only recently that researchers like Dickerson have begun applying the technique to nanoparticles.

³The science of colloidal EDP is well known but the particles are substantially larger than the solvent molecules. Many nanoparticles, however, are about the same size as the solvent molecules, which makes the process considerably more complicated and difficult to control,² Dickerson explains.

To get the method to work, in fact, Dickerson and his colleagues had to invent of new form of EDP, which they call sacrificial layer electrophoretic deposition. They added a spun-cast layer of polymer to the electrodes that serves as a pattern that organizes the nanoparticles as they are deposited.
Then, after the deposition process is completed, they dissolve (sacrifice) the polymer layer to free the nanoparticle film.

According to the researchers, films made in this fashion stick together because the electrical field slams the nanoparticles into the film with sufficient force to pack the particles together tightly enough to allow naturally attractive inter-particle forces to bind the particles together.

So far the Dickerson group has used the technique to make films out of two different types of nanoparticles ­ iron oxide and cadmium selenide ­ and they believe the technique can be used with a wide variety of other nanoparticles.

³The technique is liberating because you can make these films from the materials you want and use them where you want,² Dickerson says.

The co-authors on the paper are graduate students Saad A. Hasan and Dustin W. Kavich. The research was funded by a grant from Vanderbilt University.

David F. Salisbury | Vanderbilt University
Further information:
http://www.vanderbilt.edu/News

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth
17.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected
16.11.2017 | University of California - Santa Cruz

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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>