Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > UCLA researchers now one step closer to controlled engineering of nanocatalysts

Abstract:
Currently, some 20 percent of the world's industrial production is based on catalysts molecules that can quicken the pace of chemical reactions by factors of billions. Oil, pharmaceuticals, plastics and countless other products are made by catalysts.

UCLA researchers now one step closer to controlled engineering of nanocatalysts

Los Angeles, CA | Posted on April 20th, 2011

Many are hoping to make current catalysts more efficient, resulting in less energy consumption and less pollution. Highly active and selective nanocatalysts, for example, can be used effectively in efforts to break down pollution, create hydrogen fuel cells, store hydrogen and synthesize fine chemicals. The challenge to date has been developing a method for producing nanocatalysts in a controlled, predictable way.

In a move in this direction, Yu Huang, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, and her research team have proposed and demonstrated a new approach to producing nanocrystals with predictable shapes by utilizing surfactants, biomolecules that can bind selectively to certain facets of the crystals' exposed surfaces.

Their new study can be found online in the journal Nature Chemistry.

At the nanoscale, the physical and chemical properties of materials depend on the materials' size and shape. The ultimate goal has been to rationally engineer materials to achieve programmable structures and predictable properties, thereby producing the desired functions. Yet shaped nanocrystals are still generally synthesized by trial-and-error, using non-specific molecules as surfactants a result of the inability to find appropriate molecules to control crystal formation.

Huang's team's innovative new work could change that, potentially leading to the ability to rationally produce nanocatalysts with desired shapes and, hence, catalytic properties.

"In our study, we were able to identify specific biomolecules peptide sequences, in our case which can recognize a desired crystal surface and produce nanocrystals exposed with a particular surface to control the shape," said Chin-Yi Chiu, a UCLA Engineering graduate student and lead author of the study.

"Facet-specific biomolecules can be used to direct the growth of nanocrystals, and most importantly, now we can do it in a predictable fashion," said Huang, senior author of the study. "This is still a first step, but we have overcome the challenges by finding the most specific and selective peptide sequences through a rational selection process."

Huang's team accomplished this by using a phage library that generated a pool of peptide sequences. The team was then able to identify the selectivity of peptide sequences on different crystal surfaces. The next step, the researchers say, is to figure out what exactly is happening on the interface and to be able to describe the characterizations of the interface.

"We don't know the molecular details yet that's like the holy grail of molecular biomimetics," Huang said. "Take the catalyst, for example. If we can predict the synthesized catalyst for just one surface, it could have much more improved activity and selectivity. We are still in the initial phase of what we really want to do, which is to see whether or not we can eventually program the synthesis of material structures."

"It's always been a personal interest to learn from the natural evolutionary selection process and apply it to research," Chiu said. "It is especially satisfying to be able to engineer a rational selection process for nanoscale materials to create nanocrystals with desired shapes."

The study was funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research; the U.S. Army Research Office, through the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE); and a Sloan Research Fellowship.

####

About UCLA
The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, established in 1945, offers 28 academic and professional degree programs and has an enrollment of almost 5,000 students. The school's distinguished faculty are leading research to address many of the critical challenges of the 21st century, including renewable energy, clean water, health care, wireless sensing and networking, and cybersecurity. Ranked among the top 10 engineering schools at public universities nationwide, the school is home to seven multimillion-dollar interdisciplinary research centers in wireless sensor systems, nanoelectronics, nanomedicine, renewable energy, customized computing, and the smart grid, all funded by federal and private agencies.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Wileen Wong Kromhout

310-206-0540

Copyright © UCLA

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

'Stealth' nanoparticles could improve cancer vaccines October 1st, 2014

Stressed Out: Research Sheds New Light on Why Rechargeable Batteries Fail October 1st, 2014

New Absorber Will Lead to Better Biosensor: Biosensors are more sensitive and able to detect smaller changes in the environment October 1st, 2014

Graphene chips are close to significant commercialization October 1st, 2014

Chemistry

Chemical interactions between silver nanoparticles and thiols: A comparison of mercaptohexanol again September 30th, 2014

On the Road to Artificial Photosynthesis: Berkeley Lab Study Reveals Key Catalytic Factors in Carbon Dioxide Reduction September 25th, 2014

Quick Method Found for Synthesis of Organic Compounds with Less Pollution September 25th, 2014

NRL researchers develop novel method to synthesize nanoparticles September 24th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Novel approach to magnetic measurements atom-by-atom October 1st, 2014

'Stealth' nanoparticles could improve cancer vaccines October 1st, 2014

NREL Announces New Center Directors to lead R&D, Analysis Efforts September 30th, 2014

A Heartbeat Away? Hybrid "Patch" Could Replace Transplants: TAU researcher harnesses gold nanoparticles to engineer novel biocompatible cardiac patch September 30th, 2014

Discoveries

Novel approach to magnetic measurements atom-by-atom October 1st, 2014

Nanoparticles Accumulate Quickly in Wetland Sediment: Aquatic food chains might be harmed by molecules "piggybacking" on carbon nanoparticles October 1st, 2014

'Stealth' nanoparticles could improve cancer vaccines October 1st, 2014

Stressed Out: Research Sheds New Light on Why Rechargeable Batteries Fail October 1st, 2014

Announcements

'Stealth' nanoparticles could improve cancer vaccines October 1st, 2014

Stressed Out: Research Sheds New Light on Why Rechargeable Batteries Fail October 1st, 2014

New Absorber Will Lead to Better Biosensor: Biosensors are more sensitive and able to detect smaller changes in the environment October 1st, 2014

Graphene chips are close to significant commercialization October 1st, 2014

Military

UT Arlington researchers develop transparent nanoscintillators for radiation detection for medical safety and homeland security September 29th, 2014

'Pixel' engineered electronics have growth potential: Rice, Oak Ridge, Vanderbilt, Penn scientists lead creation of atom-scale semiconducting composites September 29th, 2014

Nanotechnology leads to better, cheaper LEDs for phones and lighting September 24th, 2014

Engineered proteins stick like glue even in water: New adhesives based on mussel proteins could be useful for naval or medical applications September 22nd, 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