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October 7th, 2009
Instant insight: Self-healing at the nanoscale
Vincenzo Amendola and Moreno Meneghetti, at the University of Padova, Italy, take inspiration from nature to design materials that can repair themselves.
Now scientists have found that phthalocyanine mixed in with the nanoparticles encourages fragmented particles to aggregate. Laser pulses then fuse the aggregated structures into larger nanoparticles. This self-healing mechanism, promoted by the same laser that inflicts the damage, preserves the multiphoton property of the nanoparticles.
While self-healing of functional properties is rare at present, researchers will be forced to look in this direction in the future to obtain nanomaterials with improved properties. Natural processes could provide the inspiration required to meet these nanotechnological challenges.
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