Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Super-strong magnetic supercrystals can assemble themselves

Tools of the trade: a three-necked flask (left) to cook up the solution that makes nanocubes, and a complex piping system that condenses the solution if it evaporates and controls the gas flow during the reaction.

CREDIT
Photo: Nancy Bazilchuk/NTNU
Tools of the trade: a three-necked flask (left) to cook up the solution that makes nanocubes, and a complex piping system that condenses the solution if it evaporates and controls the gas flow during the reaction. CREDIT Photo: Nancy Bazilchuk/NTNU

Abstract:
Verner Håkonsen works with cubes so tiny that nearly 5 billion of them could fit on a pinhead.

Super-strong magnetic supercrystals can assemble themselves

Trondheim, Norway | Posted on October 25th, 2019

He cooks up the cubes in the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) NanoLab, in a weird-looking glass flask with three necks on the top using a mixture of chemicals and special soap.

And when he exposes these invisible cubes to a magnetic field, they perform a magical feat: they assemble themselves into whatever shape he wants.

"It's like building a house, except you don't have to build it," he says. The magnetic force along with other forces cause "the house to build itself -- all the building blocks assemble themselves perfectly under the right conditions."

Although researchers have previously been able to cause nanoparticles to assemble themselves in different ways, Håkonsen and his colleagues are the first to show how important magnetism can be with respect to the mechanical properties of certain nanoparticle structures.

The researchers called their tiny nanocube creations superstructures or supercrystals because the nanocubes are organized in an ordered pattern, kind of like atoms in a crystal. "Supercrystals are particularly interesting because they show enhanced properties compared with a single nanoparticle or with a bulk material," Håkonsen said.

The big finding is that when magnetic cubes are self-assembled in a supercrystal -- in shapes like lines or rods or helices, for example -- the cohesive energy between the particles in the supercrystal can increase by as much 45 per cent because of the magnetic interactions between the cubes.

"That means the energy holding the whole thing together increases up to 45 per cent," he said.

The strength of the supercrystals in combination with their enhanced magnetic properties will be key to developing future uses, which could span everything from applications for the automotive industry to information technology. Håkonsen's research has just been published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

When things get tiny, physics gets weird

One central tenet of nanoparticle research is that the smaller the particles, the stranger their behaviour.

That's because as the size shrinks, the surface area of the particle represents a much greater percentage of the overall volume of the structure than in particles that are not nano-sized.

"As a result, the smaller the nanoparticles are, the more unstable they can be," Håkonsen said. This is what is known as the "size effect" in nanoscience, and is one of the fundamental aspects of nanotechnology as things get smaller than 100 nm.

"You can even have particles that spontaneously shift between different crystal structures, because of their small size," he explained. "The particles partly melt."

The size effect also affects other properties in small nanoparticles, like magnetic properties, where the magnetic field from the particle can start to jump around by itself in different directions.

Size still matters

In other words, even though magnetism could make the researchers' self-assembled nanostructures strong, the size effect still played a role. When the supercrystals were super small, the structures were weaker than their larger counterparts.

"What that means is that you have a size effect when it comes to mechanical stability also in supercrystals - a "super-size effect" - but it also suggests that there are size effects for other supercrystal properties," Håkonsen said. "What is also remarkable is that this super-size effect goes beyond the nanoscale, and up towards the microscale."

Rather than posing a problem, however, in this case knowing that the size effect will affect the supercrystals could allow researchers to control -- or tune-- how the structures behave through a variety of different factors.

"This could open up a new field, size-controlled tuning," Håkonsen said. "It could be possible to control the features of supercrystals, not just by how particles themselves are made, but by the shape and size of the supercrystal and the number of particles in it."

Magnetite cubes

Håkonsen's research at the NTNU Nanomechanical Lab relies on nanocubes that he himself manufactures from magnetite, which is why they self-assemble in response to a magnetic field.

Essentially, he makes a molecule that he then heats up in a solvent containing a soap-like substance called a surfactant. The surfactant prevents the nanocubes from getting too big and can also control the shape of the nanoparticle. In this way, Håkonsen and his team can make cubes and spheres, among other shapes.

Håkonsen's collaborators are drawn from across disciplines, including physicists, mechanical and materials scientists and computational experts, and come from the University of Sydney and UCLM (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha) in addition to NTNU. The researchers chose to use cubes for their study because there has been less research on cubes than spheres, and cubes are also the most likely to provide the strongest structure, he said.

"This is fundamental research. Our motivation has been to investigate how magnetism affects mechanical properties in supercrystals," he said. "It's important because we have all these potential applications, but to realize them, we also need mechanically stable supercrystals."

###

Håkonsen said he and his collaborators are continuing their research to learn more about how magnetism can be used to tune the mechanical properties in magnetic supercrystals.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Verner Håkonsen

47-735-94543

Copyright © Norwegian University of Science and 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 Links

Reference: Magnetically Enhanced Mechanical Stability and Super-Size Effects in Self-Assembled Superstructures of Nanocubes. Verner Håkonsen, Gurvinder Singh, Peter S. Normile, José A. De Toro, Erik Wahlström, Jianying He and Zhiliang Zhang. Advanced Functional Materials, 16 September 2019:

Related News Press

News and information

When Dirac meets frustrated magnetism August 3rd, 2020

New printing process advances 3D capabilities: Technology aims to improve quality of products used in business, industry and at home July 31st, 2020

TU Graz researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications July 31st, 2020

Scientists discover new class of semiconducting entropy-stabilized materials July 31st, 2020

Magnetism

When Dirac meets frustrated magnetism August 3rd, 2020

Physics

Atomtronic device could probe boundary between quantum, everyday worlds: Clouds of supercooled atoms offer highly sensitive rotation sensors and tests of quantum mechanics July 17th, 2020

Quantum simulation: Particle behavior near the event horizon of block hole July 16th, 2020

Towards lasers powerful enough to investigate a new kind of physics: An international team of researchers has demonstrated an innovative technique for increasing the intensity of lasers July 3rd, 2020

The nature of nuclear forces imprinted in photons June 30th, 2020

Possible Futures

Physicists find misaligned carbon sheets yield unparalleled properties July 31st, 2020

Way, shape and form: Synthesis conditions define the nanostructure of manganese dioxide July 31st, 2020

New printing process advances 3D capabilities: Technology aims to improve quality of products used in business, industry and at home July 31st, 2020

Scientists discover new class of semiconducting entropy-stabilized materials July 31st, 2020

Self Assembly

Polymers self-assembling like links of a chain for innovative materials: Nature just published the research on unprecedented "Self-assembled poly-catenanes" July 16th, 2020

Self-assembling, biomimetic composites possess unusual electrical properties June 4th, 2020

Hair surface engineering to be advanced by nano vehicles: This new researched technology can help both drug delivery and hair cosmetics industry April 10th, 2020

Researchers show what drives a novel, ordered assembly of alternating peptides February 20th, 2020

Discoveries

When Dirac meets frustrated magnetism August 3rd, 2020

Way, shape and form: Synthesis conditions define the nanostructure of manganese dioxide July 31st, 2020

New printing process advances 3D capabilities: Technology aims to improve quality of products used in business, industry and at home July 31st, 2020

TU Graz researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications July 31st, 2020

Announcements

When Dirac meets frustrated magnetism August 3rd, 2020

New printing process advances 3D capabilities: Technology aims to improve quality of products used in business, industry and at home July 31st, 2020

TU Graz researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications July 31st, 2020

Scientists discover new class of semiconducting entropy-stabilized materials July 31st, 2020

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

When Dirac meets frustrated magnetism August 3rd, 2020

Way, shape and form: Synthesis conditions define the nanostructure of manganese dioxide July 31st, 2020

New printing process advances 3D capabilities: Technology aims to improve quality of products used in business, industry and at home July 31st, 2020

TU Graz researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications July 31st, 2020

Automotive/Transportation

New cobalt-free lithium-ion battery reduces costs without sacrificing performance July 17th, 2020

First measurement of electron energy distributions, could enable sustainable energy technologies June 5th, 2020

Oil & gas and automotive sectors will benefit from durable polymers with graphene nanotubes May 14th, 2020

Wiring the quantum computer of the future: A novel simple build with existing technology: The basic units of a quantum computer can be rearranged in 2D to solve typical design and operation challenges April 24th, 2020

Research partnerships

Discovery of disordered nanolayers in intermetallic alloys: Resolving alloys' strength-ductility trade-off and thermal instability July 24th, 2020

Russian scientists identified energy storage mechanism of sodium-ion battery anode July 24th, 2020

HORIBA Medical and CEA-Leti Strengthen Their Partnership to Develop Tomorrow’s Diagnostics at the Point of Care July 21st, 2020

'Blinking" crystals may convert CO2 into fuels: Unusual nanoparticles could benefit the quest to build a quantum computer July 17th, 2020

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