Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Watching nanomaterials form in 4D: Novel technology allows researchers to see dynamic reactions as they happen at the nanoscale

Micelles form in a solution by undergoing polymer-induced self-assembly (PISA).
Micelles form in a solution by undergoing polymer-induced self-assembly (PISA).

Abstract:
Technology takes multi-frame videos of nanoparticles as they form in space and time
Being able to watch the particles form gives researchers insight into how nanoparticles self-assemble
Knowing how the particles form could change how researchers approach materials design
An automated robotic system sets up the experiments, making them highly reproducible

Watching nanomaterials form in 4D: Novel technology allows researchers to see dynamic reactions as they happen at the nanoscale

Evanston, IL | Posted on April 26th, 2018

When famed physicists Max Knoll and Ernst Ruska first introduced the transmission electron microscope (TEM) in 1933, it allowed researchers to peer inside cells, microorganisms and particles that were once too small to study.

For decades, these high-powered instruments had been limited to taking static snapshots of specimens, which only tell part of the story. Now researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Florida are filling in the blanks to make this story more complete.

The team is part of an effort to develop a new type of TEM that takes dynamic, multi-frame videos of nanoparticles as they form, allowing researchers to view how specimens change in space and time. Knowing how these particles form could change how researchers design future drug-delivery systems, paints, coatings, lubricants and other materials for which having control over nanoscale properties can lead to large effects on macroscale materials.

“We have demonstrated that TEM does not have to be a microscopy method solely used to analyze what happened after the fact — after a reaction ends,” said Nathan Gianneschi, professor of chemistry, biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering at Northwestern, who co-led the study. “But, rather, that it can be used to visualize reactions while they are occurring.”

“Before, we just had snapshots of what things looked like in particular instances of time,” said Brent Sumerlin, the George Bergen Butler Professor of Chemistry at the University of Florida, who co-led the study with Gianneschi. “Now, we are beginning to see the evolution of materials in real time, so we can see how transformations occur. It’s mind blowing.”

The research was published today, April 25, in the journal ACS Central Science. Mollie A. Touve, a graduate student in Gianneschi’s laboratory, is the paper’s first author.

Gianneschi and Sumerlin’s novel technology has three major components: polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA), a robotic system that assembles the experiments and a camera attached to the microscope that captures the particles as they form and change.

An expert in PISA, Sumerlin has long used the technique, which makes large quantities of well-defined soft materials, in his laboratory. He specifically uses PISA to form self-assembling micelles, a type of spherical nanomaterial with many applications — from soaps to targeted drug delivery.

Although micelles are well known for having interesting functions, there are knowledge gaps in how they actually form. Gianneschi and Sumerlin wondered if they could use an electron microscope to watch micelles — in action — as they self-assemble with PISA.

“Because these materials are on the nanometer length scale, we obviously needed an electron microscope to observe them,” said Gianneschi, a member of Northwestern’s International Institute of Nanotechnology. “So, essentially, we wanted to use the electron microscope as a test tube.”

With high precision and reproducibility, the team’s robotic system assembled all of the chemicals needed to make the particles. Then, the microscope’s electron beam triggered a reaction that caused the micelles to begin to form. Although Gianneschi’s camera system did not capture the micelles’ entire transformation, it did allow the researchers to see part of it.

“I’m pleasantly surprised that we pulled this part off,” Gianneschi said. “But optimizing the system — so we can see the reaction’s entire trajectory — will keep us busy for the next few years.”

Still, Gianneschi and Sumerlin are pleased that they have introduced an important element to electron microscopy: time. Gianneschi likens their achievement to the process of cooking.

“Imagine cooking dinner without being able to watch it,” he said. “You can follow the recipe, but you don’t really how it’s going. You can’t watch the meat brown on the stove or the dough rise. You need to be able to observe it directly. We take that for granted in normal life.”

“With traditional chemical analysis, sometimes the output is a two-dimensional line with a few peaks and valleys, and we use that to gain an idea of what’s happening,” Sumerlin added. “But now we are actually making nanostructures and watching them form. This is a big change.”

This research was supported by the US Department of Defense through the US Army Research Office (award number W911NF-17-1-0326), the Army’s Multidisciplinary Research Initiative (award number W911NF-15-1-0568) and an Air Force Office of Scientific Research National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (award number 32 CFR 168a).

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Amanda Morris
847-467-6790

Copyright © Northwestern University

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

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication July 13th, 2018

UMBC researchers develop nanoparticles to reduce internal bleeding caused by blast trauma July 13th, 2018

Leti and Oscaro Partner on Leti’s New Low-Power, Low-Cost Transceiver to Track Parcels July 12th, 2018

Oxford Instruments’ 22 Tesla superconducting magnet system commissioned at the UAM, making it the most intense magnetic field available outside a large international facility July 12th, 2018

Nanometrics to Announce Second Quarter Financial Results on July 31, 2018 July 12th, 2018

Nanofabrication

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication July 13th, 2018

Chemistry

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides July 13th, 2018

The Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Tsukuba near Tokyo in Japan uses Deben's ARM2 detector to better understand catalytic reaction mechanisms June 27th, 2018

Imaging

Oxford Instruments’ 22 Tesla superconducting magnet system commissioned at the UAM, making it the most intense magnetic field available outside a large international facility July 12th, 2018

Alzheimer's breakthrough: Brain metals that may drive disease progression revealed: In brains affected by Alzheimer's, researchers identify chemically reduced iron species, with mineral forms including a magnetic iron oxide June 22nd, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication July 13th, 2018

Carbon is the new black: Researchers use carbon nanotubes to develop clothing that can double as batteries July 10th, 2018

High-power electronics keep their cool with new heat-conducting crystals July 6th, 2018

SUNY Poly-Led AIM Photonics and Partners Attend SEMICON West 2018 to Showcase High-Tech Advances, Collaboration, and Future R&D Opportunities: New York’s Tech Valley Makes a Major Showing in Silicon Valley July 3rd, 2018

Possible Futures

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication July 13th, 2018

UMBC researchers develop nanoparticles to reduce internal bleeding caused by blast trauma July 13th, 2018

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides July 13th, 2018

Leti and Oscaro Partner on Leti’s New Low-Power, Low-Cost Transceiver to Track Parcels July 12th, 2018

Molecular Nanotechnology

Biophysics -- lighting up DNA-based nanostructures April 25th, 2018

Tiny nanomachine successfully completes test drive: Researchers at the University of Bonn and the research institute Caesar build a one-wheeled vehicle out of DNA rings April 11th, 2018

Moving nanoparticles using light and magnetic fields January 25th, 2018

Piecework at the nano assembly line: Electric fields drive nano-motors a 100,000 times faster than previous methods January 22nd, 2018

Self Assembly

DNA drives design principles for lighter, thinner optical displays: Lighter gold nanoparticles could replace thicker, heavier layered polymers used in displays’ back-reflectors June 27th, 2018

Collaboration yields discovery of 12-sided silica cages June 20th, 2018

Self-assembling 3D battery would charge in seconds May 22nd, 2018

Engineered polymer membranes could be new option for water treatment May 6th, 2018

Nanomedicine

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication July 13th, 2018

UMBC researchers develop nanoparticles to reduce internal bleeding caused by blast trauma July 13th, 2018

Researchers identify cost-cutting option in treating nail fungus with nanotechnology: GW researcher Adam Friedman, M.D., studied the potential use of nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles to improve onychomycosis treatment July 11th, 2018

New sensor technology enables super-sensitive live monitoring of human biomolecules July 3rd, 2018

Discoveries

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication July 13th, 2018

UMBC researchers develop nanoparticles to reduce internal bleeding caused by blast trauma July 13th, 2018

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides July 13th, 2018

Researchers identify cost-cutting option in treating nail fungus with nanotechnology: GW researcher Adam Friedman, M.D., studied the potential use of nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles to improve onychomycosis treatment July 11th, 2018

Announcements

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication July 13th, 2018

UMBC researchers develop nanoparticles to reduce internal bleeding caused by blast trauma July 13th, 2018

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides July 13th, 2018

Leti and Oscaro Partner on Leti’s New Low-Power, Low-Cost Transceiver to Track Parcels July 12th, 2018

Military

UMBC researchers develop nanoparticles to reduce internal bleeding caused by blast trauma July 13th, 2018

Carbon is the new black: Researchers use carbon nanotubes to develop clothing that can double as batteries July 10th, 2018

High-power electronics keep their cool with new heat-conducting crystals July 6th, 2018

Cleaning or Etching Items with Unique Geometries Requires Specialized Expertise June 27th, 2018

Industrial

Carbon is the new black: Researchers use carbon nanotubes to develop clothing that can double as batteries July 10th, 2018

New sensor technology enables super-sensitive live monitoring of human biomolecules July 3rd, 2018

Researchers present new strategy for extending ductility in a single-phase alloy June 28th, 2018

Cleaning or Etching Items with Unique Geometries Requires Specialized Expertise June 27th, 2018

Grants/Sponsored Research/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication July 13th, 2018

A refined magnetic sense: Algorithms and hardware developed in the context of quantum computation are shown to be useful for quantum-enhanced sensing of magnetic fields July 2nd, 2018

BNAs improve performance of Li-ion batteries June 27th, 2018

Nanomaterials could mean more algae outbreaks for wetlands, waterways: High tech metal particles may inadvertently take a toll on aquatic life June 26th, 2018

Nanobiotechnology

UMBC researchers develop nanoparticles to reduce internal bleeding caused by blast trauma July 13th, 2018

Researchers identify cost-cutting option in treating nail fungus with nanotechnology: GW researcher Adam Friedman, M.D., studied the potential use of nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles to improve onychomycosis treatment July 11th, 2018

New sensor technology enables super-sensitive live monitoring of human biomolecules July 3rd, 2018

Arrowhead Presents New Clinical Data on ARO-AAT at Alpha-1 National Education Conference July 1st, 2018

Research partnerships

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication July 13th, 2018

Leti and Soitec Launch a New Substrate Innovation Center to Develop Engineered Substrate Solutions: Industry-inclusive hub promotes early collaboration and learning from substrate to system level July 11th, 2018

Leti & Partners Launch Pilot Program to Assess New Perception Sensors for Autonomous Vehicles July 5th, 2018

A refined magnetic sense: Algorithms and hardware developed in the context of quantum computation are shown to be useful for quantum-enhanced sensing of magnetic fields July 2nd, 2018

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project