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'Nanosculpture' could enable new types of heat pumps and energy converters
Date:7/17/2008

"Our discovery enables the realization of two very important attributes for heat dissipation and power generation from heat," Ramanath said. "First, the core-shell junctions in the nanorods are conducive for heat removal upon application of an electrical voltage, or generating electrical power from heat. Second, the branched structures open up the possibility of fabricating miniaturized conduits for heat removal alongside nanowire interconnects in future device architectures."

The researchers discovered that synthesis at high temperatures or with low amounts of the biomolecular surfactant L-glutathonic acid (LGTA) yields branched nanorod structures in highly regulated patterns. In contrast, synthesis at low temperatures or with high levels of LGTA results in straight nanorods without any branching. It is interesting to note that at the point of branching, atoms in the branch resemble a mirror image of the parent crystal a finding that reinforces Ramanath's conclusion that LGTA is able to induce branching through atomic-level sculpture.

"Since LGTA is similar to biological molecules, our discovery could be conceivably used as a starting point to explore the use of proteins and enzymes to atomically sculpt such nanorod architectures through biological processes," said Ramanath


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Contact: Michael Mullaney
mullam@rpi.edu
518-276-6161
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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