Navigation Links
Technique controls nanoparticle size, makes large numbers
Date:12/4/2007

In a world that constantly strives for bigger and bigger, Washington Universitys Pratim Biswas, Ph.D., the Stifel and Quinette Jens Professor and chair of the Washington University Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, is working to make things smaller and smaller.

Biswas conducts research on nanoparticles, which are the building blocks for nanotechnology. For the first time, Biswas has shown that he can independently control the size of the nanoparticles that he makes, keeping their other properties the same. Hes also shown with his technique that the nanoparticles can be made in large quantities in scalable systems, opening up the possibility for more applications and different techniques.

Nanotechnology has far-reaching applications in microelectronics, renewable energy, and medicine, just to name a few. But the first step is synthesizing and understanding nanoparticles.

A nanoparticle is 100 nanometers and a nanometer is 1/1000 of a micrometer. To put it into perspective, a hair is about 50-100 micrometers thick.

Its difficult to imagine dividing a meter up into a million pieces and then a nanometer is a thousandth of that, explained Biswas. These are very tiny particles.

This small size is critical in the applications. By varying the size, nanoparticles can efficiently be tuned to perform a specific task, be it cosmetics or pollution clean up.

When I reduce the size of the objectthen the properties are very different. They can have certain unique properties, said Biswas. By changing the size and the crystal structure you can tune the functionality.

Fabulous Flames

To make these nanoparticles and alter their size, Biswas uses a flame aerosol reactor (FLAR). The flame provides a high temperature environment in which molecules can be assembled in a single step.

Bring the material in, react it, form the particles and then collect it and go and use it, said Biswas.

This technique also allows for mass production, once the conditions to produce the desired material have been determined. Biswas deals with milligram and gram quantities in the lab, but he indicates that these processes can be readily scaled up to produce larger quantities with a bigger reactor.

Biswas described the technique and his work in the July 2007 issue of Nanotechnology.

Controlling the size of these particles is what opens doors to new and unique uses.

The applications are plentiful, said Biswas. The other thing is, if I can make materials of very narrow sizes, I can study the properties as a function of size, which has not been possible in the past, with very precise controls so we can do fundamental research. And that allows me to come up with new applications.

Dig those crazy tires

Such new applications may even change the way we think about driving. Tired of boring, black car tires? With nanotechnology, tires could become a fashion statement with red, pink, blue, green, any color you want as possibilities.

All tires are black in color because of the carbon that is added. The colors not important but now you could add a silica-based material which will allow you to get any color of your choice, said Biswas. Nanoparticles are going to be used everywhere. They are already being used in many applicationscosmetics, microelectronicsbut now you are going to use it for tires.

With all of these new applications come budding new fields of study. One area is nanotoxicology, which researches the health and environmental safety of new materials containing nanoparticles. To test safety, nanotechnologists join forces with biologists to determine the safety of different-sized particles. For example, one size particle may provide the best effects in a cosmetic, but manufacturers must make sure that it shouldnt cause toxic effects in a persons body.

We dont want to just release it to the environment. The general feeling is that you have to be proactive, make sure everything is OK and then go, so here you are trying to be as cautious as possible, said Biswas.

Biswas work focuses mainly on making the nanoparticles, but his research has led to a variety of applications and collaborations. Biswas is currently collaborating with Sam Achilefu, Ph.D., associate professor of radiology in the Washington University School of Medicine. Achilefu is working to selectively deposit imaging agents. Rather than flood a cancer patients body with a drug during chemotherapy, for example, nanotechnology and selective deposits could deliver and concentrate the drug in the region of the tumor.

These are very preliminary results, said Biswas, but were getting some neat results. So there are some cautious examples, like toxicology, but then there are many useful applications.

Biswas also stresses the importance in the global marketplace. Nanotechnology has the potential to clean up water to provide drinking water for rural populations worldwide. Such efforts make a big social message, said Biswas. Renewable energy is yet another possibility in the realm of nanotechnology.

The possibilities of nanotechnology are endless, and everyday Biswas embarks on this exciting journey.

Thats the beauty here. At Washington University we have a very strong aerosol science and technology group, I would say one of the strongest, in this area, said Biswas. Furthermore, there are many collaborators in different disciplines where we can explore new application areas. So our ability to make tailor-made nanoparticles with very tight control on properties will allow more applications to be invented. Thats the driving force the ability to synthesize nanoparticles; they are the building blocks of nanotechnology.


'/>"/>

Contact: Pratim Biswas
pratim.biswas@wustl.edu
314-935-5482
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New technique can be breakthrough for early cancer diagnosis
2. University of Leicester scientists discover technique to help friendly bacteria
3. New technique reveals subtle force-induced changes in biomolecules conformation
4. New magnetic separation technique might detect multiple pathogens at once
5. New technique captures chemical reactions in a single living cell at unprecedented resolution
6. Software Techniques Inc. Selects M2SYS Fingerprint Software to Meet Continuous Growth and Demand for Desktop Biometric Time & Attendance Solutions
7. New X-ray technique targets terrorists and tumors
8. Circadian clock controls plant growth hormone
9. Too much sugar turns off gene that controls the effects of sex steroids
10. Novel 3-D cell culture model shows selective tumor uptake of nanoparticles
11. New nanoparticle vaccine is more effective but less expensive
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , June 15, 2016 ... published a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market ... Trends and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the ... at USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is ... and reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... June 2, 2016 The Department of ... awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, for the ... Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , ... the production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned ... Decatur was selected for the most ...
(Date:5/20/2016)...  VoiceIt is excited to announce its new ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer ... take slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration ... usability. Both ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... and technical consulting, provides a free webinar on Performing Quality Investigations: ... 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ... QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate the ... shared laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to help ... obstacle for many early stage organizations - access to ... sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016 Cell Applications, ... allow them to produce up to one billion ... lot within one week. These high-quality, consistent stem ... preparing cells and spend more time doing meaningful, ... a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process that produces affordable, ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016  According to Kalorama Information, ... sequencing (NGS) market include significant efforts in automation ... More accessible and affordable sequencers, say the healthcare ... for consumables including sample prep materials.  The healthcare ... Sample Preparation for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: