Engineers produce ‘how-to’ guide for controlling the structure of nanoparticles
The study provides a step by step analysis of how to create solid or hollow nanoparticles are made of the same material. “We know that these structures could be done,” said Dr. Joe Tracy, an assistant professor of science in materials engineering from North Carolina State and co-author, “but this research gives us an overall understanding of control nanostructural during the formation of nanoparticles, which shows how consistently the different structures obtained in the laboratory. “The study also shows how to create nanoparticles are amorphous solids, which means they have a crystalline structure.
Tracy explains that there is great interest in the formation of hollow nanoparticles and amorphous nanoparticles. But for many types of nanoparticles, there had been a clear understanding of how to control the formation of these structures. As a result of the new study, Tracy says, “the nanoparticles with desired structures may be more consistent, making it easier for researchers to determine their electronic properties, optical and catalytic. For example, amorphous nanoparticles may be useful in future electronic applications or for the manufacture of nanostructure. Tracy insists that while state investigators in North Carolina were able to show how to create hollow nanoparticles and amorphous nanoparticles, which were not able to create nanoparticles that were hollow and shapeless.
The study could also have implications for many other types of nanoparticles, not only nickel phosphide. Tracy says the results “which could provide important information for further studies to monitor the structures of many other types of nanoparticles, with a wide range of potential applications.” These could include metal oxide, sulfide, selenide and phosphide nanoparticles.
Specifically, the researchers found they could control whether the nanoparticles of nickel phosphide would be hollow or solid, adjusting the ratio of phosphorus to nickel when reagents are synthesized nanoparticles. The researchers found they could create nano-amorphous solid, by controlling the temperature.
More information The study, Nickel phosphide nanoparticles with Hollow, solid and amorphous structures, was co-written by Tracy, North Carolina State post-doctoral researcher Junwei Wang and North Carolina State doctoral student Aaron Johnston-Peck. The research was funded by the State of North Carolina and the National Science Foundation and was published online by Chemistry of Materials.