Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tiniest Test Tube Experiment Shows Reaction Of Melting Materials At Nano Scale

Date:
October 16, 2009
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
Researchers have conducted a basic chemistry experiment in what is perhaps the world's smallest test tube, measuring a thousandth the diameter of a human hair.

Still image from a video of the nano test tube experiment conducted in the lab of Brian Korgel, professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. The gold is shown moving up the length of a germanium nanowire, which was encased in a carbon nano test tube, at high temperature. The image has been magnified 100,000 times and the video’s speed has been greatly increased.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Texas at Austin

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have conducted a basic chemistry experiment in what is perhaps the world's smallest test tube, measuring a thousandth the diameter of a human hair.

The nano-scale test tube is so small that a high-power electron microscope was required to see the experiment.

Made from a thin shell of carbon, the test tube was stuffed with a thread-like crystal (a nanowire) of germanium with a tiny particle of gold at its tip.

The researchers heated the test tube and watched as the gold melted at the end of the nanowire, much like any solid crystal heated above its melting temperature in a glass test tube.

"The experiment is relatively simple," said chemical engineer Brian Korgel, whose laboratory conducted it. "Essentially, we observe well-known phenomena, like melting, capillarity and diffusion, but at a much, much smaller scale than has been possible to see before."

Such experiments provide new fundamental insights about how nanomaterials behave, and might be used to create new technologies, from better solar cells to unprecedentedly strong yet light-weight materials to higher performance optical displays and computing technologies.

Korgel and graduate students Vincent Holmberg and Matthew Panthani conducted the experiment, which was reported in the Oct. 16 edition of Science.

During the experiment, the nanowire melted as the temperature rose, but its shape was retained because the carbon test tube maintained its shape.

"In these very small structures, the phase behavior (like its melting temperature, etc.) can be different than bulk materials and can be size-dependent," Korgel said. "Therefore, if the structure changes when the phase change happens, then the result becomes very difficult to interpret and in fact, may not even represent the true behavior of the system."

The carbon test tube, however, provided a rigid container for studying what happens when materials are heated and melted at the nanoscale.

Funding for the research came from the Robert A. Welch Foundation and the National Science Foundation. Holmberg received support from the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation and the National Science Foundation for a Graduate Research Fellowship.

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "Tiniest Test Tube Experiment Shows Reaction Of Melting Materials At Nano Scale." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091015141503.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2009, October 16). Tiniest Test Tube Experiment Shows Reaction Of Melting Materials At Nano Scale. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091015141503.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "Tiniest Test Tube Experiment Shows Reaction Of Melting Materials At Nano Scale." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091015141503.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

TheStreet (Apr. 16, 2014) — The Porsche Spyder 918 proves that, in an automotive world obsessed with fuel efficiency, the supercar is not dead. Porsche North America CEO Detlev von Platen attributes the brand's consistent sales growth -- 21% in 2013 -- with an investment in new technology and expanded performance dynamics. The hybrid Spyder 918 has 887 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque, but it can run 18 miles on just an electric charge. The $845,000 vehicle is not a consumer-targeted vehicle but a brand statement. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Industry's Optimism Shines At New York Auto Show

Industry's Optimism Shines At New York Auto Show

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — After seeing auto sales grow last month, there's plenty for the industry to celebrate as it rolls out its newest designs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Mustang Fetes Its 50th Atop Empire State Building

Ford Mustang Fetes Its 50th Atop Empire State Building

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Ford celebrated the 50th birthday of its beloved Mustang by displaying a new model of the convertible on top of the Empire State Building in New York. Duration: 00:28 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins