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Breakthrough in nanotechnology
Date:8/29/2012

A University of Central Florida assistant professor has developed a new material using nanotechnology, which could help keep pilots and sensitive equipment safe from destructive lasers.

UCF Assistant Professor Jayan Thomas, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University Associate Professor Rongchao Jin chronicle their work in the July issue of the journal Nano Letters. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/nl301988v)

Thomas is working with gold nanoparticles and studying their properties when they are shrunk into a small size regime called nanoclusters. Nanoparticles are already microscopic in size, and a nanometer is about 1/80000 of the thickness of a single strand of human hair. Nanoclusters are on the small end and nanocrystals are on the larger end of the nanoregime. Nano clusters are so small that the laws of physics that govern the world people touch and smell aren't often observed.

"Nanoclusters occupy the intriguing quantum size regime between atoms and nanocrystals, and the synthesis of ultra-small, atomically precise metal nanoclusters is a challenging task," Thomas said.

Thomas and his team found that nanoclusters developed by adding atoms in a sequential manner could provide interesting optical properties. It turns out that the gold nanoclusters exhibit qualities that may make them suitable for creating surfaces that would diffuse laser beams of high energy. They appear to be much more effective than its big sister, gold nanocrystal which is the (nano) material used by artists to make medieval church window paintings.

So why does it matter?

Think of commercial pilots or fighter pilots. They use sunglasses or helmet shields to protect their eyes from the sun's light. If the glasses or helmet shield could be coated with nanoclusters tested in Thomas' lab at UCF, the shield could potentially diffuse high-energy beams of light,
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Contact: Zenaida Kotala
zenaida.kotala@ucf.edu
407-823-6120
University of Central Florida
Source:Eurekalert  

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