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Researchers create freestanding nanoparticle films without fillers
Date:6/9/2009

Nanoparticle films are no longer a delicate matter: Vanderbilt physicists have found a way to make them strong enough so they don't 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 don't form coherent thin films unless they are encapsulated in a polymer coating or mixed with molecules called chemical "cross-linkers" that act like glue to stick the nanoparticles together.

"Adding 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," 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 "Sacrificial layer electrophoretic deposition of freestanding multilayered nanoparticle films" published online in the journal Chemical Communications on May 27, 2009.

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

Dickerson cons
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Contact: David F. Salisbury
david.salisbury@vanderbilt.edu
615-343-6803
Vanderbilt University
Source:Eurekalert

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