Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires

Researchers have developed a new low-cost technique for converting bulk powders directly to oxide nanowires. Shown is a crucible in which an alloy of lithium and aluminum is being formed.

Credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech
Researchers have developed a new low-cost technique for converting bulk powders directly to oxide nanowires. Shown is a crucible in which an alloy of lithium and aluminum is being formed. Credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech

Abstract:
A simple technique for producing oxide nanowires directly from bulk materials could dramatically lower the cost of producing the one-dimensional (1D) nanostructures. That could open the door for a broad range of uses in lightweight structural composites, advanced sensors, electronic devices - and thermally-stable and strong battery membranes able to withstand temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees Celsius.

New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires

Atlanta, GA | Posted on January 24th, 2017

The technique uses a solvent reaction with a bimetallic alloy - in which one of the metals is reactive - to form bundles of nanowires (nanofibers) upon reactive metal dissolution. The process is conducted at ambient temperature and pressure without the use of catalysts, toxic chemicals or costly processes such as chemical vapor deposition. The produced nanowires can be used to improve the electrical, thermal and mechanical properties of functional materials and composites.

The research, which is scheduled to be reported this week in the journal Science, was supported by the National Science Foundation and California-based Sila Nanotechnologies. The process is believed to be the first to convert bulk powders to nanowires at ambient conditions.

"This technique could open the door for a range of synthesis opportunities to produce low-cost 1D nanomaterials in large quantities," said Gleb Yushin, a professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "You can essentially put the bulk materials into a bucket, fill it with a suitable solvent and collect nanowires after a few hours, which is way simpler than how many of these structures are produced today."

Yushin's research team, which included former graduate students Danni Lei and James Benson, has produced oxide nanowires from lithium-magnesium and lithium-aluminum alloys using a variety of solvents, including simple alcohols. Production of nanowires from other materials is part of ongoing research that was not reported in the paper.

The dimensions of the nanowire structures can be controlled by varying the solvent and the processing conditions. The structures can be produced in diameters ranging from tens of nanometers up to microns.

"Minimization of the interfacial energy at the boundary of the chemical reaction front allows us to form small nuclei and then retain their diameter as the reaction proceeds, thus forming nanowires," Yushin explained. "By controlling the volume changes, surface energy, reactivity and solubility of the reaction products, along with the temperature and pressure, we can tune conditions to produce nanowires of the dimensions we want."

One of the attractive applications may be separator membranes for lithium-ion batteries, whose high power density has made them attractive for powering everything from consumer electronics to aircraft and motor vehicles. However, the polymer separation membranes used in these batteries cannot withstand the high temperatures generated by certain failure scenarios. As result, commercial batteries may induce fires and explosions, if not designed very carefully and it's extremely hard to avoid defects and errors consistently in tens of millions of devices.

Using low-cost paper-like membranes made of ceramic nanowires could help address those concerns because the structures are strong and thermally stable, while also being flexible - unlike many bulk ceramics. The material is also polar, meaning it would more thoroughly wetted by various battery electrolyte solutions.

"Overall, this is a better technology for batteries, but until now, ceramic nanowires have been too expensive to consider seriously," Yushin said. "In the future, we can improve mechanical properties further and scale up synthesis, making the low-cost ceramic separator technology very attractive to battery designers."

Fabrication of the nanowires begins with formation of alloys composed of one reactive and one non-reactive metal, such as lithium and aluminum (or magnesium and lithium). The alloy is then placed in a suitable solvent, which could include a range of alcohols, such as ethanol. The reactive metal (lithium) dissolves from the surface into the solvent, initially producing nuclei (nanoparticles) comprising aluminum.

Though bulk aluminum is not reactive with alcohol due to the formation of the passivation layer, the continuous dissolution of lithium prevents the passivation and allows gradual formation of aluminum alkoxide nanowires, which grow perpendicular to the surface of the particles starting from the nuclei until the particles are completely converted. The alkoxide nanowires can then be heated in open air to form aluminum oxide nanowires and may be formed into paper-like sheets.

The dissolved lithium can be recovered and reused. The dissolution process generates hydrogen gas, which could be captured and used to help fuel the heating step.

Though the process was studied first to make magnesium and aluminum oxide nanowires, Yushin believes it has a broad potential for making other materials. Future work will explore synthesis of new materials and their applications, and develop improved fundamental understanding of the process and predictive models to streamline experimental work.

The researchers have so far produced laboratory amounts of the nanowires, but Yushin believes that the process could be scaled up to produce industrial quantities. Though the ultimate cost will depend on many variables, he expects to see fabrication costs cut by several orders of magnitude over existing techniques.

"With this technique, you could potentially produce nanowires for a cost not much more than that of the raw materials," he said. Beyond battery membranes, the nanowires could be useful in energy harvesting, catalyst supports, sensors, flexible electronic devices, lightweight structural composites, building materials, electrical and thermal insulation and cutting tools.

The new technique was discovered accidentally while Yushin's students were attempting to create a new porous membrane material. Instead of the membrane they had hoped to fabricate, the process generated powders composed of elongated particles.

"Though the experiment didn't produce what we were looking for, I wanted to see if we could learn something from it anyway," said Yushin. Efforts to understand what had happened ultimately led to the new synthesis technique.

In addition to those already named, the research included Alexandre Magaskinski of Georgia Tech and Gene Berdichevsky of Sila Nanotechnologies.

###

Different aspects of this work were supported by NSF (grant 0954925) and Sila Nanotechnologies, Inc. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Gleb Yushin and Gene Berdichevsky are shareholders of Sila Nanotechnologies.

CITATION: Danni Lei, Jim Benson, Alexandre Magasinski, Gene Berdichevsky, Gleb Yushin, "Transformation of bulk alloys to oxide nanowires," (Science, 2017).

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
John Toon

404-894-6986

Copyright © Georgia Institute of Technology

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

NanoSummit in Luxembourg: single wall carbon nanotubes have entered our lives as we approach a nanoaugmented future November 23rd, 2017

JPK reports on the exciting research in the School of Medicine at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Suwon, South Korea using the NanoWizard® ULTRA Speed AFM to understand the binding of transcription factor Sox2 with super enhancers November 23rd, 2017

Precision NanoSystems to host nanomedicines roundtable November 23rd, 2017

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

Report highlights opportunities and risks associated with synthetic biology and bioengineering November 22nd, 2017

Flexible Electronics

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

Metal-silicone microstructures could enable new flexible optical and electrical devices: Laser-based method creates force-sensitive, flexible microstructures that conduct electricity November 1st, 2017

Graphene enables high-speed electronics on flexible materials: A flexible terahertz detector has been developed by Chalmers using graphene transistors on plastic substrates. It is the first of its kind, and may open for applications requiring flexible electronics such as wireless October 31st, 2017

Chemistry

Dendritic fibrous nanosilica: all-in-one nanomaterial for energy, environment and health November 4th, 2017

Researchers greenlight gas detection at room temperature October 26th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

EC Project Aims at Creating and Commercializing Cyber-Physical-System Solutions November 14th, 2017

Nanobiotix presented new clinical and pre-clinical data confirming NBTXR3’s significant potential role in Immuno-Oncology at SITC Annual Meeting November 14th, 2017

Leti Joins DARPA-Funded Project to Develop Implantable Device for Restoring Vision November 9th, 2017

Nanoshells could deliver more chemo with fewer side effects: In vitro study verifies method for remotely triggering release of cancer drugs November 8th, 2017

Possible Futures

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

Report highlights opportunities and risks associated with synthetic biology and bioengineering November 22nd, 2017

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy: Lomonosov Moscow State University scientists have invented a new method of spectroscopy November 21st, 2017

Nano-watch has steady hands November 21st, 2017

Discoveries

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy: Lomonosov Moscow State University scientists have invented a new method of spectroscopy November 21st, 2017

Nano-watch has steady hands November 21st, 2017

Nanoparticles could allow for faster, better medicine: Exposure of nanoparticles in the body allows for more effective delivery November 20th, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

NanoSummit in Luxembourg: single wall carbon nanotubes have entered our lives as we approach a nanoaugmented future November 23rd, 2017

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

ICN2 researchers compute unprecedented values for spin lifetime anisotropy in graphene November 17th, 2017

Math gets real in strong, lightweight structures: Rice University researchers use 3-D printers to turn century-old theory into complex schwarzites November 16th, 2017

Announcements

NanoSummit in Luxembourg: single wall carbon nanotubes have entered our lives as we approach a nanoaugmented future November 23rd, 2017

JPK reports on the exciting research in the School of Medicine at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Suwon, South Korea using the NanoWizard® ULTRA Speed AFM to understand the binding of transcription factor Sox2 with super enhancers November 23rd, 2017

Precision NanoSystems to host nanomedicines roundtable November 23rd, 2017

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

Report highlights opportunities and risks associated with synthetic biology and bioengineering November 22nd, 2017

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy: Lomonosov Moscow State University scientists have invented a new method of spectroscopy November 21st, 2017

Nano-watch has steady hands November 21st, 2017

Tools

JPK reports on the exciting research in the School of Medicine at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Suwon, South Korea using the NanoWizard® ULTRA Speed AFM to understand the binding of transcription factor Sox2 with super enhancers November 23rd, 2017

Nanometrics to Participate in the 6th Annual NYC Investor Summit 2017 November 16th, 2017

Nanometrics Announces $50 Million Share Repurchase Program November 15th, 2017

Nanometrics Board of Directors Names Pierre-Yves Lesaicherre President and CEO November 14th, 2017

Energy

Inorganic-organic halide perovskites for new photovoltaic technology November 6th, 2017

Dendritic fibrous nanosilica: all-in-one nanomaterial for energy, environment and health November 4th, 2017

New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater: Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions October 4th, 2017

Researchers set time limit for ultrafast perovskite solar cells September 22nd, 2017

Research partnerships

Nano Global, Arm Collaborate on Artificial Intelligence Chip to Drive Health Revolution by Capturing and Analyzing Molecular Data in Real Time November 21st, 2017

EC Project Aims at Creating and Commercializing Cyber-Physical-System Solutions November 14th, 2017

Leti Joins DARPA-Funded Project to Develop Implantable Device for Restoring Vision November 9th, 2017

Nanoshells could deliver more chemo with fewer side effects: In vitro study verifies method for remotely triggering release of cancer drugs November 8th, 2017

Construction

The next generation of power electronics? Gallium nitride doped with beryllium: How to cut down energy loss in power electronics? The right kind of doping November 9th, 2017

Corrosion in real time: UCSB researchers get a nanoscale glimpse of crevice and pitting corrosion as it happens September 14th, 2017

Here's a tip: Indented cement shows unique properties: Rice University models reveal nanoindentation can benefit crystals in concrete July 20th, 2017

Russian scientists create new system of concrete building structures: Sientists of Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University developed a new construction technology April 24th, 2017

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