Navigation Links
Engineering researchers simplify process to make world's tiniest wires
Date:7/21/2010

GAINESVILLE, Fla. Surface tension isn't a very powerful force, but it matters for small things water bugs, paint, and, it turns out, nanowires.

Nanowires are so tiny that a human hair would dwarf them some have diameters 150 billionths of a meter. Because of their small size, surface tension that occurs during the manufacturing process pulls them together, limiting their usefulness. This is a problem because the wires are seen as a potential core element of new and more powerful microelectronics, solar cells, batteries and medical tools.

But in a paper in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces now online, a University of Florida engineering researcher says he has found an inexpensive solution.

Kirk Ziegler, an assistant professor of chemical engineering, said nanowires are most often made today with a process that involves the immersion of the wires.

When complete, each wire is supposed to poke up right next to the other from a flat surface, like bristles on a Lilliputian toothbrush. But Ziegler said the wires are so tiny and so flexible that surface tension clumps them up when dried.

Manufacturers use extremely high pressure to reduce the surface tension, but Ziegler said that process is difficult, expensive and not conducive to large-scale production.

Ziegler and Justin Hill, who will graduate from UF with a doctorate in chemical engineering this summer, realized that they needed to introduce a force that counteracted that of the surface tension. They came up with a process simple enough to be achievable with a nine-volt battery. The researchers apply an electrical charge to the nanostructures during the manufacturing process, charging each tiny wire and making it repel its neighbor.

"As the two nanowires pull toward each other because of the surface tension, the like charges at the tips act to push them apart," Ziegler said. "The aim is to get a net zero force on the structure, so the nanowires stand straight."

Tests of microscope-slide-sized surfaces, each containing trillions of nanowires, showed that the procedure effectively prevents clumping, Ziegler said.

Nanowires have not found wide commercial applications to date, but Ziegler said that as engineers learn how to make and manipulate them, they could underpin far more efficient solar cells and batteries because they provide more surface area and better electrical properties.

"Being able to pack in a higher density of nanowires gives you a much higher surface area, so you start to generate higher energy density," he said.

Ziegler said that biomedical engineers are also interested in using the wires to help deliver drugs to individual cells, or to hinder or encourage individual cell growth. The University of Florida has applied for a patent on the process, he added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kirk Ziegler
kziegler@che.ufl.edu
352-392-0882
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. High-performance engineering used to design facial bone replacements
2. Cellectis to Present at the FASEB Summer Research Conference on Genome Engineering
3. Glycosan BioSystems Seeks CE Mark in the European Union for HyStem-Rx, a Unique, Implantable Scaffold for Tissue Engineering
4. Gary and Mary West Foundation Grants $20 Million to Advance Engineering Efforts Within the West Wireless Heath Institute
5. American Oriental Bioengineering Reports First Quarter 2010 Financial Results
6. 3 Tufts engineering faculty earn prestigious national awards for promising research
7. American Oriental Bioengineering Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2009 Financial Results
8. American Oriental Bioengineering Announces the Inclusion of 158 Drugs in Chinas National Insurance Catalog
9. Thermofab Helps Brookfield Engineering Move To A Compact Custom Plastic Enclosure
10. Process Analytical Technology (PAT) in Green Chemistry and Green Engineering
11. Myriant Technologies LLC, Uhde Corporation of America and Uhde GmbH Announce Alliance for Engineering, Procurement & Construction of World Scale Renewable Succinic Acid Plants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader in clinical research ... Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, Mosio revisits the ... tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of how patients receive ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... TORONTO , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon ... the development and commercialization of a portfolio of ... cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an ... contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is pleased to ... AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI approval of the ... Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate methods perform comparably ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... --  EpiBiome , a precision microbiome engineering company, today ... from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The financing will allow ... drug development efforts, as well as purchase additional lab ... been an incredible strategic partner to us – one ... provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes Hammack , EpiBiome,s ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/22/2016)... BETHESDA, Md. , June 22, 2016  The American ... by Trade Show Executive Magazine as one of ... Summit on May 25-27 at the Bellagio in ... based on the highest percentage of growth in each of ... number of exhibiting companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016 On Monday, the ... to industry to share solutions for the Biometric Exit ... Customs and Border Protection (CBP), explains that CBP intends ... departing the United States , in ... to defeat imposters. Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382209LOGO ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... -- Securus Technologies, a leading provider of civil ... investigation, corrections and monitoring announced that after exhaustive ... the final acceptance by all three (3) Department ... (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will have contracts for ... October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between legitimate wireless device ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):