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

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump: Rice scientists combine graphene foam, epoxy into tough, conductive composite November 14th, 2018

Optimization of alloy materials: Diffusion processes in nano particles decoded November 13th, 2018

GLOBALFOUNDRIES, indie Semiconductor Deliver Performance-Enhanced Microcontrollers for Automotive Applications: 55nm LPx platform, with SST’s highly reliable embedded SuperFlash®, increases performance and energy efficiency for automotive applications November 13th, 2018

GLOBALFOUNDRIES, indie Semiconductor Deliver Performance-Enhanced Microcontrollers for Automotive Applications: 55nm LPx platform, with SST’s highly reliable embedded SuperFlash®, increases performance and energy efficiency for automotive applications November 13th, 2018

Imaging

Optimization of alloy materials: Diffusion processes in nano particles decoded November 13th, 2018

Tiny light detectors work like gecko ears October 30th, 2018

Light-bending tech shrinks kilometers-long radiation system to millimeter scale October 26th, 2018

Chemistry

Nanotech Artisans Sculpt with DNA November 5th, 2018

Nanofabrication

Nanotech Artisans Sculpt with DNA November 5th, 2018

Cerion Advanced Materials Invited by the National Nanotechnology Initiative to Discuss their Expertise in Commercialization: Webinar transcription with key takeaways available on the National Nanotechnology Initiative website November 2nd, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump: Rice scientists combine graphene foam, epoxy into tough, conductive composite November 14th, 2018

European Commission Project Creates Pilot Line for Companies to Develop Mid-Infrared Devices: Companies Can Submit Proposals for Possible Matching Funds To Help Develop Prototypes November 13th, 2018

Unlocking the Secrets of Metal-Insulator Transitions: X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy at NSLS-II's CSX beamline used to understand electrical conductivity transitions in magnetite November 8th, 2018

Physicists name and codify new field in nanotechnology: ‘electron quantum metamaterials:’ UC Riverside’s Nathaniel Gabor and colleague formulate a vision for the field in a perspective article November 5th, 2018

Possible Futures

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump: Rice scientists combine graphene foam, epoxy into tough, conductive composite November 14th, 2018

Optimization of alloy materials: Diffusion processes in nano particles decoded November 13th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Presents Late-Breaking Preliminary Clinical Data on ARO-HBV at Liver Meeting® 2018 November 9th, 2018

Unlocking the Secrets of Metal-Insulator Transitions: X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy at NSLS-II's CSX beamline used to understand electrical conductivity transitions in magnetite November 8th, 2018

Molecular Nanotechnology

How to mass produce cell-sized robots: Technique from MIT could lead to tiny, self-powered devices for environmental, industrial, or medical monitoring October 24th, 2018

How swarms of nanomachines could improve the efficiency of any machine September 28th, 2018

UT engineers develop first method for controlling nanomotors: Breakthrough for nanotechnology as UT engineers develop first method for switching the mechanical motion of nanomotors September 21st, 2018

Measuring the nanoworld September 4th, 2018

Self Assembly

High-performance self-assembled catalyst for SOFC October 12th, 2018

New bio-inspired dynamic materials transform themselves: Highly dynamic synthetic superstructure provides new clues on brain, spinal cord injuries and neurological disease October 5th, 2018

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

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Presents Late-Breaking Clinical Data on ARO-AAT at Liver Meeting® 2018 November 9th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Presents Late-Breaking Preliminary Clinical Data on ARO-HBV at Liver Meeting® 2018 November 9th, 2018

WSU researchers develop new technique to understand biology at the nanoscale November 7th, 2018

A record-long polymer DNA negative November 6th, 2018

Discoveries

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump: Rice scientists combine graphene foam, epoxy into tough, conductive composite November 14th, 2018

Optimization of alloy materials: Diffusion processes in nano particles decoded November 13th, 2018

Unlocking the Secrets of Metal-Insulator Transitions: X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy at NSLS-II's CSX beamline used to understand electrical conductivity transitions in magnetite November 8th, 2018

WSU researchers develop new technique to understand biology at the nanoscale November 7th, 2018

Announcements

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump: Rice scientists combine graphene foam, epoxy into tough, conductive composite November 14th, 2018

Optimization of alloy materials: Diffusion processes in nano particles decoded November 13th, 2018

GLOBALFOUNDRIES, indie Semiconductor Deliver Performance-Enhanced Microcontrollers for Automotive Applications: 55nm LPx platform, with SST’s highly reliable embedded SuperFlash®, increases performance and energy efficiency for automotive applications November 13th, 2018

GLOBALFOUNDRIES, indie Semiconductor Deliver Performance-Enhanced Microcontrollers for Automotive Applications: 55nm LPx platform, with SST’s highly reliable embedded SuperFlash®, increases performance and energy efficiency for automotive applications November 13th, 2018

Military

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump: Rice scientists combine graphene foam, epoxy into tough, conductive composite November 14th, 2018

Unlocking the Secrets of Metal-Insulator Transitions: X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy at NSLS-II's CSX beamline used to understand electrical conductivity transitions in magnetite November 8th, 2018

Physicists name and codify new field in nanotechnology: ‘electron quantum metamaterials:’ UC Riverside’s Nathaniel Gabor and colleague formulate a vision for the field in a perspective article November 5th, 2018

A bullet-proof heating pad November 2nd, 2018

Industrial

Mode-Changing MEMS Accelerometer from STMicroelectronics Combines High Measurement Resolution and Ultra-Low Power for Industrial Applications November 7th, 2018

A New Way to Measure Nearly Nothing: NIST prototype design uses ultracold trapped atoms to measure pressure October 22nd, 2018

Graphene nanotubes outperform ammonium salts and carbon black in PU applications September 11th, 2018

Carbon in color: First-ever colored thin films of nanotubes created: A method developed at Aalto University, Finland, can produce large quantities of pristine single-walled carbon nanotubes in select shades of the rainbow; the secret is a fine-tuned fabrication process -- and a s August 29th, 2018

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

Physicists name and codify new field in nanotechnology: ‘electron quantum metamaterials:’ UC Riverside’s Nathaniel Gabor and colleague formulate a vision for the field in a perspective article November 5th, 2018

Eco-friendly waterproof polymer films synthesized using novel method October 31st, 2018

Rice U. scientists form flat tellurium: Two-dimensional element shows promise for solar cells and other optoelectronics October 26th, 2018

Iran World’s Second Largest Producer of Nano-Catalysts October 17th, 2018

Nanobiotechnology

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Presents Late-Breaking Clinical Data on ARO-AAT at Liver Meeting® 2018 November 9th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Presents Late-Breaking Preliminary Clinical Data on ARO-HBV at Liver Meeting® 2018 November 9th, 2018

WSU researchers develop new technique to understand biology at the nanoscale November 7th, 2018

A record-long polymer DNA negative November 6th, 2018

Research partnerships

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump: Rice scientists combine graphene foam, epoxy into tough, conductive composite November 14th, 2018

The National Graphene Association Is Excited To Announce A New Affiliate Partnership With Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) November 7th, 2018

2-D magnetism: Atom-thick platforms for energy, information and computing research: Scientists say the tiny 'spins' of electrons show potential to one day support next-generation innovations in many fields October 31st, 2018

Tiny light detectors work like gecko ears October 30th, 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