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Purifying nanorods: Big success with tiny cleanup
Date:9/22/2008

, the nanorods interact with light, electricity and magnetic fields differently than spheres or discs containing the same number of atoms.

Tuning the shape- and size-specific properties of nanoparticles is critically important for the emerging U.S. nanotechnology industry. The U.S. has invested more than $8 billion in nanotechnology research and development since 2000, and the National Science Foundation estimates the global market for nanotechnology products will be about $1 trillion by 2015. In its 2007 strategic plan, the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which oversees U.S. nanotechnology research spending, pointed to the critical need for synthesis and processing techniques that yield high-quality, pure nanomaterials.

Nanorods are produced by mixing several chemicals in a precise, multi-step process. The method also produces gold nanoparticles of other shapes, including spheres and flattened sheets called platelets. Researchers had previously found a way to remove the spheres; the nanorods and platelets were allowed to gradually sink to the bottom of the mixture, and the spheres were siphoned away.

While conducting research on a different project, Zubarev and Khanal noticed that the nanorods and platelets in the remaining solution shrank when a solution of gold ions was added. They found that the platelets shrank much faster than the nanorods, and by tuning the process they discovered they could filter out the platelets and produce nanorod solutions that were more than 99 percent pure.


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Contact: Jade Boyd
jadeboyd@rice.edu
713-348-6778
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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