Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Chemistry professor achieves nanotechnology breakthrough

 Fotios Papadimitrakopoulos, professor of chemistry.
Photo by Daniel Buttrey
Fotios Papadimitrakopoulos, professor of chemistry.
Photo by Daniel Buttrey

Abstract:
A chemistry professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and his graduate students have published new results in Nature Nanotechnology showing how they isolated a particular type of carbon nanotube from a sample and manipulated it in a way that could have broad applicability in drug and gene delivery, electronic devices, and nanotechnology research.

Chemistry professor achieves nanotechnology breakthrough

Storrs, CT | Posted on June 20th, 2008

Fotios Papadimitrakopoulos and his graduate students found a way for a biological molecule, a form of vitamin B2, to wrap around a single-walled carbon nanotube - a tube so small that it has the highest curvature on earth.

Wrapping a carbon nanotube was a difficult achievement and instrumental to their research, since it was a step that eventually enabled them to isolate a particular type of nanotube from a sample that contained 50 different kinds.

Papadimitrakopoulos has spent seven years investigating how to efficiently separate the various nanotubes in a sample into like types.

Nanotubes that are alike can be interlocked to create a material that is extremely strong, even if each nanotube is as small as one micron.

Homogenous nanotubes also have the same electrical and optical properties, and they form a material that is extremely pure.

The research opens the possibility of wrapping nanotubes with proteins or other molecules, which would be useful in a variety of applications.

"We have learned how to manipulate this molecule," says Papadimitrakopoulos.

The lead author of the Nature Nanotechnology paper is Sang-Young Ju, a polymer science Ph.D. candidate in his fifth year of study. Other authors are Jonathan Doll, a fourth-year polymer science Ph.D. student, and Ity Sharma, a second-year chemistry Ph.D. candidate.

Two undergraduates, William Kopcha, CLAS '08, a chemistry major, and Christopher Badalucco, a junior majoring in physiology and neurobiology, also were involved in the research.

The researchers worked with single-walled carbon nanotubes formed from graphene. If you drag a pencil across paper, Papadimitrakopoulos says, you leave thousands of graphene "seeds" behind, a deposit from the friction of the graphite pencil tip against the paper.

At the molecular level, graphene seeds look like a honeycomb. If you form these graphene sheets into a tube, they can become the basis of single-walled carbon nanotubes.

Getting another material to wrap around them was the next challenge.

The researchers discovered that the vitamin B2 molecule stitches itself into a ribbon, using soft hydrogen bonds, and seamlessly wraps itself around the carbon nanotube. The ribbon, in a sense, acted as a detergent, dispersing the oil-loving nanotube in water.

"Nobody has shown this before," says Papadimitrakopoulos.

By introducing a second detergent, they managed to destabilize the ribbon, breaking its hydrogen bonds and leaving the second detergent in its place.
Fotios Papadimitrakopoulos, professor of chemistry.
Fotios Papadimitrakopoulos, professor of chemistry.
Photo by Daniel Buttrey

Varying the concentration of the second detergent allowed them to separate nanotubes that had a given chirality, or pitch.

Identifying carbon nanotubes of like chirality, or pitch, has important implications.

If the chirality is the same, the nanotubes have the potential to interlock themselves in a hexagonal pattern and create an extremely strong material, even if the nanotubes are not very long.

Papadimitrakopoulos says that this is an important step toward minimizing the potential negative health impact of carbon nanotubes, which recently were associated with asbestos-like contamination in the lung linings of laboratory animals.

In that recent study, it was shown that carbon nanotubes larger than 20 microns behaved like asbestos, while those smaller than 20 microns could be cleared out of the lungs, much like pollen.

The carbon nanotubes that his research group works on are far smaller, at approximately one-micron in length.

Carbon nanotubes began to receive widespread attention in 1991, but it is only in the past 10 years or so that research on their applications has heated up.

Nanotubes are small, strong, and special because of their potential for use in drug delivery and electronics applications.

Some have described carbon nanotubes as the reigning celebrities of the advanced materials world. Papadimitrakopoulos describes them as the "Cinderella" molecules of nanotechnology.

Hydrocarbons can be burned and still be used to make strong materials, he notes. Carbon is inexpensive, and carbon nanotubes can transform products, making stronger tennis rackets or bullet-proof vests, for example.

The Air Force, which funds his research, is interested in advanced materials that are light, strong, and can withstand high temperatures, he says. In the future, he predicts, planes will be made from carbon nano-fibers.

Papadimitrakopoulos is a chemistry professor in CLAS, but his work is interdisciplinary, involving physics as well. He also serves as the associate director of the Institute of Materials Science and is a member of the Polymer Program.

Papadimitrakopoulos says his research could not have proceeded without the use of a high resolution transmission electron microscope, which allowed his research group to confirm and verify visually that the B2 molecule was wrapping around the carbon nanotube.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269
(860) 486-2000

Copyright © University of Connecticut

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

News and information

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities July 28th, 2016

Beating the heat a challenge at the nanoscale: Rice University scientists detect thermal boundary that hinders ultracold experiments July 28th, 2016

WSU researchers 'watch' crystal structure change in real time: Breakthrough made possible by new Argonne facility July 27th, 2016

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities July 28th, 2016

Beating the heat a challenge at the nanoscale: Rice University scientists detect thermal boundary that hinders ultracold experiments July 28th, 2016

WSU researchers 'watch' crystal structure change in real time: Breakthrough made possible by new Argonne facility July 27th, 2016

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

Chip Technology

Beating the heat a challenge at the nanoscale: Rice University scientists detect thermal boundary that hinders ultracold experiments July 28th, 2016

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Nanometrics Reports Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results July 26th, 2016

Integration of novel materials with silicon chips makes new 'smart' devices possible July 25th, 2016

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Easier, faster, cheaper: A full-filling approach to making nanotubes of consistent quality: Approach opens a straightforward route for engineering the properties of single-wall carbon nanotubes July 19th, 2016

Sensing trouble: A new way to detect hidden damage in bridges, roads: University of Delaware engineers devise new method for monitoring structural health July 8th, 2016

Wireless, wearable toxic-gas detector: Inexpensive sensors could be worn by soldiers to detect hazardous chemical agents July 4th, 2016

Nanotubes' 'stuffing' as is: A scientist from the Lomonosov Moscow State University studied the types of carbon nanotubes' 'stuffing' June 2nd, 2016

Nanomedicine

Starpharma initiates new DEP™ drug delivery program with AstraZeneca July 27th, 2016

Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma July 26th, 2016

The NanoWizard® AFM from JPK is applied for interdisciplinary research at the University of South Australia for applications including smart wound healing and how plants can protect themselves from toxins July 26th, 2016

Accurate design of large icosahedral protein nanocages pushes bioengineering boundaries: Scientists used computational methods to build ten large, two-component, co-assembling icosahedral protein complexes the size of small virus coats July 25th, 2016

Nanoelectronics

Beating the heat a challenge at the nanoscale: Rice University scientists detect thermal boundary that hinders ultracold experiments July 28th, 2016

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Ultra-flat circuits will have unique properties: Rice University lab studies 2-D hybrids to see how they differ from common electronics July 25th, 2016

Borrowing from pastry chefs, engineers create nanolayered composites: Method to stack hundreds of nanoscale layers could open new vistas in materials science July 25th, 2016

Discoveries

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities July 28th, 2016

Beating the heat a challenge at the nanoscale: Rice University scientists detect thermal boundary that hinders ultracold experiments July 28th, 2016

WSU researchers 'watch' crystal structure change in real time: Breakthrough made possible by new Argonne facility July 27th, 2016

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

Announcements

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities July 28th, 2016

Beating the heat a challenge at the nanoscale: Rice University scientists detect thermal boundary that hinders ultracold experiments July 28th, 2016

WSU researchers 'watch' crystal structure change in real time: Breakthrough made possible by new Argonne facility July 27th, 2016

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic