EUGENE -- Not all libraries contain books. In chemistry, theword library is used to refer to a collection of molecules. Universityof Oregon chemist Jim Hutchison's new way of rapidly generatinglibraries of tiny particles with great promise for research anddevelopment at the nanoscale is featured on the cover of the Sept. 5issue of Inorganic Chemistry.
"We've discovered a method forgenerating a diverse library of functionalized gold particles quicklyand easily," said Hutchison, who directs the university's MaterialsScience Institute. "Basic research of this type is the key to findingout what kinds of new electronic, optical and pharmaceutical productsactually will come to market."
The article describes how tosynthesize the versatile particles, built with cores of 11 gold atoms,and discloses their properties. Nanomaterials and technologies areprojected to become a trillion dollar industry by 2010 and affect everyindustrial and consumer product sector, Hutchison said.
One ofthe keys to understanding the size-dependent properties andapplications of nanoparticles is generating libraries of particles withdifferent sizes for physical study. Earlier this year, Hutchison'slaboratory reported success in generating a similar library of largerparticles, with cores having about 100 gold atoms, in the Journal ofthe American Chemical Society. The 11-atom and 100-atom libraries spana size range of 0.8 to 1.5 nanometers, a range of particular interestto nanoscientists and technologists.
Hutchison co-authored theInorganic Chemistry article with Gerd Woehrle, one of his doctoralstudents. Woehrle is now finishing post-doctoral work at the Max PlanckInstitute in Germany.
Already known as world leaders forencouraging the teaching of green chemistry principles, Hutchison andhis Oregon colleagues are pioneering the field of green nanoscience.His role in laying out the conceptual template for how to design"green" or environmentally-benign nanosubstances was described in theMarch issue of Environmental Science & Technology.
Hutchisonis a member of ONAMI, the Oregon Nanoscience and MicrotechnologiesInstitute. The National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. SloanFoundation and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc., havefunded his research.
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