Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NC State’s New Molecular Template Makes a Virtue of Variation

30.07.2002


Why would an uneven coating of gold on a silica surface excite any interest, much less earn cover-story honors in a respected scientific journal?



This uneven coating - nanoparticles of gold in a layer that changes from very dense to very sparse across a surface of selected molecules - will allow improvements in a wide range of processes and devices. And it’s the decreasing concentration of the coating and overlaying particles, the designed-in gradient, that has chemical engineers and physicists taking note.

"This material promises to be the first in a series with many applications in electronics, chemistry and the life sciences," said Rajendra Bhat, a doctoral student at North Carolina State University and principal author of the study published in the July 23 issue of Langmuir: The American Chemical Society Journal of Surfaces and Colloids.


What Bhat and his mentor - Dr. Jan Genzer, assistant professor of chemical engineering at NC State -have created is a surface coated with "sticky" molecules in a decreasing density. Like paint from a roller that starts out thick and gradually thins out, this sticky layer captures particles (in this case, gold) in the same pattern of decreasing density.

A kind of molecular template, this adhesive surface can be modified to attract different kinds of particles for different applications, all of them arranged in useful gradients. According to Genzer, the ability to vary and control the concentration of captured particles allows chemists and other scientists to devise sensors, filters, DNA-screening processes and, potentially, single-electron capacitors and transistors, among other possibilities.

Some components of fluids, for example, could pass through the gaps in the less-concentrated part of the gradient, but be blocked by the thicker concentration. Such filters could also be designed to detect or capture harmful viruses or toxins. The controlled distribution of
particles also allows rapid testing of potential catalysts - always in demand by chemical, pharmaceutical and petroleum industries - because numerous substances and variations in their amounts can be tested simultaneously.

Genzer and Bhat initially attached gold nanoparticles to their sticky molecular template because gold is conductive, biocompatible and well understood. But experiments with other particles, bonded to other kinds of surfaces, are under way. The NC State chemical engineers admit they haven’t thought of all the possibilities. "There are many more applications," said Bhat, "and we are open for collaboration."

Dr. Daniel Fischer, a physicist from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, collaborated with Genzer and Bhat on the project. Their novel invention was tested at the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Genzer’s research is also featured in the June 28 issue of Macromolecular Theory and Simulations.

Dr. Jan Genzer | EurekAlert!

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Jelly with memory – predicting the leveling of com-mercial paints
15.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Fraunhofer researchers develop measuring system for ZF factory in Saarbrücken
21.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>