Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanotechnology could save the ozone layer

30.01.2003


Whilst experimenting with nanospheres and perfluorodecalin, a liquid used in the production of synthetic blood, researchers at Germany’s University of Ulm have stumbled across a phenomenon that could ultimately help remove ozone-harming chemicals from the atmosphere. The perfluorodecalin, against all expectations, was taken up by a water-based suspension of 60 nm diameter polystyrene particles.



The scientists believe that this occurred because nanoscopic perfluorodecalin droplets became encapsulated by self-assembled polystyrene nanospheres. Perfluorodecalin has very similar properties to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the inert liquids that are known to destroy the Earth’s protective ozone layer. And the Ulm team reckons that aerosol particle-carrying water droplets or ice crystals in clouds may be able to collect up chlorofluorocarbons in the same way, eventually returning them harmlessly to Earth as rain, hail or snow.

"I realized that I had developed a useful model system for the simulation of microphysical processes in the stratosphere," Andrei Sommer of the University of Ulm told nanotechweb.org. "In particular, for [simulating] the very complicated interplay between cloud droplets, nanoscopic aerosols emitted by man-made and natural sources, and chlorofluorocarbons - the principal ozone killers."


The solid aerosols that arise from urban and industrial sources, for example petrol and diesel particles, are roughly the same size as the polystyrene nanospheres used in this experiment.

"Nanoscale aerosols - which are also accused of suppressing rain and reducing the amount of sun reaching the Earth’s surface - could in fact be helpful in reducing the stratospheric concentrations of ozone killers," added Sommer.

Sommer says that if tests confirm the predictions from the simple model system, the result could be a practical strategy to stop, or possibly even repair, one of the two potentially most destructive global problems caused by mankind. He reckons scientists could use space technology to carry large amounts of specially designed non-toxic nanoscale particles into the heart of the ozone hole.

In the short term, Sommer says it’s worth optimizing the properties of such nanoscale particles - for example, aerosol size, chemical composition and solubility - while reducing the cost. Then it’s a case of encouraging international space agencies to begin airborne experiments.

Back on Earth, meanwhile, the perfluorodecalin-based nanosphere suspension research could also have applications in nanopatterning and biofunctionalization techniques for biomaterials.

The scientists reported their work in Nano Letters.

Joanne Aslett | alfa
Further information:
http://nanotechweb.org/articles/news/2/1/16/1

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Road access for all would be costly, but not so much for the climate
10.07.2020 | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung

nachricht Innovative grilling technique improves air quality
01.07.2020 | Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A new path for electron optics in solid-state systems

A novel mechanism for electron optics in two-dimensional solid-state systems opens up a route to engineering quantum-optical phenomena in a variety of materials

Electrons can interfere in the same manner as water, acoustical or light waves do. When exploited in solid-state materials, such effects promise novel...

Im Focus: Electron cryo-microscopy: Using inexpensive technology to produce high-resolution images

Biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have used a standard electron cryo-microscope to achieve surprisingly good images that are on par with those taken by far more sophisticated equipment. They have succeeded in determining the structure of ferritin almost at the atomic level. Their results were published in the journal "PLOS ONE".

Electron cryo-microscopy has become increasingly important in recent years, especially in shedding light on protein structures. The developers of the new...

Im Focus: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Concrete learns to pre-stress itself

15.07.2020 | Architecture and Construction

New lithium battery charges faster, reduces risk of device explosions

15.07.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

A new path for electron optics in solid-state systems

15.07.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>