Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Researchers Develop Nanoblade

A view of new nanoblades from above.
Photo Credit: Rensselaer/ Tom Parker
A view of new nanoblades from above. Photo Credit: Rensselaer/ Tom Parker

Abstract:
"Cutting edge" nanomaterial could be used in hydrogen storage

Researchers Develop Nanoblade

Troy, NY | Posted on September 25th, 2007

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a razor-like material that is truly on the "cutting edge" of nanotechnology. Called nanoblades, these first-of-their-kind magnesium nanomaterials challenge conventional wisdom about nanostructure growth, and could have applications in energy storage and fuel cell technology.

The discovery is detailed in the September 2007 issue of the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

The sharp nanometer-scale surface is vastly different from any other nanomaterial that has been created before using oblique angle deposition, according to lead researcher Gwo-Ching Wang, professor and head of physics, applied physics, and astronomy at Rensselaer. The team's nearly two-dimensional structure changes the traditional understanding of oblique angle deposition, which was previously thought to always create cylindrical structures like nanorods or nanosprings.

Unlike three-dimensional springs and rods, nanoblades are extremely thin, with very large surface areas. They also are surprisingly spread out for a uniform nanomaterial, with one to two micron meters in between each blade, according to Wang.

The materials could be extremely useful for energy storage, particularly hydrogen storage, Wang said. In order to store hydrogen, a large surface area is needed to provide room for the material to expand as more hydrogen atoms are stored. The vast surface area of each nanoblade, coupled with the large spaces between each blade, could make them ideal for this application.

To create the nanoblades, the researchers used oblique angle vapor deposition. This widely used fabrication technique builds nanostructures by vaporizing a material--magnesium in this case--and allowing the vaporized atoms to deposit on a surface at an angle. As the deposition angle changes, the structure of the material deposited on the surface also changes.

When the researchers deposited the magnesium straight onto a surface at zero degrees, the blades resembled a handful of cornflakes - flat, flakey structures overlapping one another. It wasn't until the deposition angle was increased that the blade-like nature of these new nanomaterials became apparent.

As the magnesium deposition angle was increased, the researchers were surprised that the structures first tilted away from the magnesium vapor source instead of the expected inclination toward the source. The blades then quickly curved upward to form nearly vertical structures resembling nano-scale razorblades.

The blades also become ultra thin. From the side, the nanoblades resemble an overgrown lawn with thin, blade-like spires. At a 75 degree angle, the nanoblades had a thickness of as little as 15 nanometers and a width of a few hundred nanometers. (A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.)

Researchers at Rensselaer are now looking at ways to coat the magnesium nanoblades with metallic catalysts to trap and store hydrogen.

The researchers monitored the blades as they were growing using a reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED) technique to create a surface pole figure or image. The new technique, created at Rensselaer, is different from other diffraction techniques such as X-rays because it monitors the surface structure of the material as it grows. X-rays and other technologies measure the entire material, from the tip of the new growth straight through the substrate that the material is growing on.

Tracking the surface evolution of the material provides insight into how the structure evolves over time and helps scientists understand the mechanism of nanostructure formation, allowing engineers to later recreate ideal nanomaterials in the future. The creation of surface pole figures was particularly important in understanding the growth of nanoblades, as the surface morphology changed vastly over time.

The surface pole figure technique was first outline by Fu Tang, a postdoctoral research associate in Wang's group, in a 2006 issue of Applied Physics Letters. In that paper, surface pole figures were created for nanorod growth. The researchers are now working to analyze nanoblade growth to provide additional insight into the growth patterns of these new nanomaterials.

Other Rensselaer researchers involved with the project are Toh-Ming Lu, the R.P. Baker Distinguished Professor of Physics; GAANN fellow Tom Parker; and postdoctoral research associate Huafang Li.

####

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nationís oldest technological university. The university offers bachelorís, masterís, and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the humanities and social sciences. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world. Rensselaer faculty are known for pre-eminence in research conducted in a wide range of fields, with particular emphasis in biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and the media arts and technology. The Institute is well known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Gabrielle DeMarco
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
518.276.6542 (office)
518.495.5488 (cell)

Copyright © Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Discoveries

New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut July 30th, 2014

Watching SchrŲdinger's cat die (or come to life): Steering quantum evolution & using probes to conduct continuous error correction in quantum computers July 30th, 2014

From Narrow to Broad July 30th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

Announcements

University of Manchester selects Anasys AFM-IR for coatings and corrosion research July 30th, 2014

Nature inspires a greener way to make colorful plastics July 30th, 2014

Analytical solutions from Malvern Instruments support University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researchers in understanding environmental effects of nanomaterials July 30th, 2014

FEI Unveils New Solutions for Faster Time-to-Analysis in Metals Research July 30th, 2014

Energy

From Narrow to Broad July 30th, 2014

Oregon chemists eye improved thin films with metal substitution: Solution-based inorganic process could drive more efficient electronics and solar devices July 21st, 2014

Steam from the sun: New spongelike structure converts solar energy into steam July 21st, 2014

3-D nanostructure could benefit nanoelectronics, gas storage: Rice U. researchers predict functional advantages of 3-D boron nitride July 15th, 2014

Fuel Cells

Media Advisory: Minister Rempel to Announce Support for Alberta's Nanotechnology Sector June 20th, 2014

Evolution of a Bimetallic Nanocatalyst June 6th, 2014

University of Surrey collaborates with India and Tata Steel to revolutionise renewable energy March 26th, 2014

Novel membrane reveals water molecules will bounce off a liquid surface: Study may lead to more efficient water-desalination systems, fundamental understanding of fluid flow March 16th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE