Navigation Links
Engineers discover nanoscale balancing act that mirrors forces at work in living systems
Date:8/23/2011

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---A delicate balance of atomic forces can be exploited to make nanoparticle superclusters that are uniform in size---an attribute that's important for many nanotech applications but hard to accomplish, University of Michigan researchers say.

The same type of forces are at work bringing the building blocks of viruses together, and the inorganic supercluster structures in this research are in many ways similar to viruses.

U-M chemical engineering professors Nicholas Kotov and Sharon Glotzer led the research. The findings are newly published online in Nature Nanotechnology.

In another instance of forces behaving in unexpected ways at the nanoscale, they discovered that if you start with small nanoscale building blocks that are varied enough in size, the electrostatic repulsion force and van der Waals attraction force will balance each other and limit the growth of the clusters. This equilibrium enables the formation of clusters that are uniform in size.

"The breakthrough here is that we've discovered a generic mechanism that causes these nanoparticles to assemble into near perfect structures," Glotzer said. "The physics that we see is not special to this system, and could be exploited with other materials. Now that we know how it works, we can design new building blocks that will assemble the same way."

The inorganic superclusters---technically called "supraparticles"---that the researchers created out of red, powdery cadmium selenide are not artificial viruses. But they do share many attributes with the simplest forms of life, including size, shape, core-shell structure and the abilities to both assemble and dissemble, Kotov said.

"Having these functionalities in totally inorganic system is quite remarkable," Kotov said. "There is the potential to combine them with the beneficial properties of inorganic materials such as environmental resilience, light adsorption and electrical conductivity."

Zhiyong Tang, a collaborating professor at the National Center of Nanoscience and Technology in China, said, "It is also very impressive that such supraparticles can be further used as the building blocks to fabricate three-dimensional ordered assemblies. This secondary self-assembly behavior provides a feasible way to obtain large-scale nanostructures that are important for practical application."

Kotov is currently working on "breeding" these supraparticles to produce synthetic fuels from carbon dioxide. The work also has applications in drug delivery and solar cell research and it could dramatically reduce the cost of manufacturing large quantities of supraparticles.

"By replicating the self-assembly processes that allow living organisms to grow and heal, we can simplify the production of many useful nanostructured systems from semiconductors and metals so much so that they can be made in any high school laboratory," Kotov said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Nicole Casal Moore
ncmoore@umich.edu
734-647-7087
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology technology :

1. Online Systems Engineering Master's Program Attracts Engineers from Fortune 500 Firms
2. NC State engineers discover nanoparticles can break on through
3. Engineers aim to solve burning computer problem
4. Virginia Tech engineers identify conditions that initiate erosion
5. Techstreet Launches BuildingBlocks Utility for Industry Standards Saving Time and Increasing Productivity for Engineers
6. Virginia Tech engineers investigate energy independent monitoring system for bridges
7. New Educational Website Celebrates the Accomplishments of Engineers
8. Engineers tune a nanoscale grating structure to trap and release a variety of light waves
9. UB engineers prove that carbon nanotubes are superior to metals for electronics
10. Siemens Offers Life Science Solutions Design Guide for Consulting Engineers
11. Connecting Materials Science With Biology, K-State Engineers Create DNA Sensors That Could Identify Cancer Using Material Only One Atom Thick
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Engineers discover nanoscale balancing act that mirrors forces at work in living systems
(Date:12/2/2016)... IL (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... to congratulate long-term client Nanowear on their recent FDA Class II 510(k) clearance ... cleared a significant hurdle in commercializing remote cardiac monitoring devices that rely on ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , December 2, 2016 The immunohistochemistry ... growing at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period of ... and diagnostic laboratories segment accounted for the largest share of immunohistochemistry ... ... on global immunohistochemistry (IHC) market spread across 225 pages, profiling 10 ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 2016 The global Pyrogen Testing ... a dominant share in the overall market. The leading ... and Merck KGaA, held a lion,s share of 51% ... observes that these companies are expected to retain their ... are do not require rabbit pyrogen testing along with ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... /PRNewswire/ -  Equicare Health Inc ., the leading supplier ... one of the top 100 companies in the 2016 ... distinguishes the top digital health companies across the globe. ... this year continually upgrading our product with the ongoing ... team," says Len Grenier , CEO of Equicare ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016   ... management and verification solutions, has partnered with ... software solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks ... provides products that add functional enhancements to ... provides corporations and venues with an automated ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... 2016 The global ... reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, according to ... Technological proliferation and increasing demand in commercial buildings, ... drive the market growth.      (Logo: ... development of advanced multimodal techniques for biometric authentication ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... -- Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio Credit Union (SACU) ... Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" solution into SACU,s ... in greater convenience for SACU members and operational ... document workflow and compliance requirements. Logo ... Highlights: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):