Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Transforming Nanowires Into Nano-tools Using Cation Exchange Reactions

Date:
November 2, 2009
Source:
University of Pennsylvania
Summary:
A team of engineers has transformed simple nanowires into reconfigurable materials and circuits, demonstrating a novel, self-assembling method for chemically creating nanoscale structures that are not possible to grow or obtain otherwise.

Engineers have transformed simple nanowires into reconfigurable materials and circuits, demonstrating a novel, self-assembling method for chemically creating nanoscale structures that are not possible to grow or obtain otherwise.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Pennsylvania

A team of engineers from the University of Pennsylvania has transformed simple nanowires into reconfigurable materials and circuits, demonstrating a novel, self-assembling method for chemically creating nanoscale structures that are not possible to grow or obtain otherwise.

The research team, using only chemical reactants, transformed semiconducting nanowires into a variety of useful, nanoscale materials including nanoscale metal strips with periodic stripes and semiconducting patterns, purely metallic nanowires, radial heterostructures and hollow semiconducting nanotubes in addition to other morphologies and compositions.

Researchers used ion exchange, one of the two most common techniques for solid phase transformation of nanostructures. Ion (cation/anion) exchange reactions exchange positive or negative ions and have been used to modify the chemical composition of inorganic nanocrystals, as well as create semiconductor superlattice structures. It is the chemical process, for example, that turns hard water soft in many American households.

Future applications of nanomaterials in electronics, catalysis, photonics and bionanotechnology are driving the exploration of synthetic approaches to control and manipulate the chemical composition, structure and morphology of these materials. To realize their full potential, it is desirable to develop techniques that can transform nanowires into tunable but precisely controlled morphologies, especially in the gas-phase, to be compatible with nanowire growth schemes. The assembly, however, is an expensive and labor-intensive process that prohibits cost-effective production of these materials.

Recent research in the field has enabled the transformation of nanomaterials via solid-phase chemical reactions into nonequilibrium, or functional structures that cannot be obtained otherwise.

In this study, researchers transformed single-crystalline cadmium sulfide nanowires into composition-controlled nanowires, core−shell heterostructures, metal-semiconductor superlattices, single-crystalline nanotubes and metallic nanowires by utilizing size-dependent cation-exchange reactions along with temperature and gas-phase reactant delivery control. This versatile, synthetic ability to transform nanowires offers new opportunities to study size-dependent phenomena at the nanoscale and tune their chemical/physical properties to design reconfigurable circuits.

Researchers also found that the speed of the cation exchange process was determined by the size of the starting nanowire and that the process temperature affected the final product, adding new information to the conditions that affect reaction rates and assembly.

"This is almost like magic that a single-component semiconductor nanostructure gets converted into metal-semiconductor binary superlattice, a completely hollow but single crystalline nanotube and even a purely metallic material," said Ritesh Agarwal, assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn. "The important thing here is that these transformations cannot take place in bulk materials where the reaction rates are incredibly slow or in very small nanocrystals where the rates are too fast to be precisely controlled. These unique transformations take place at 5-200 nanometer-length scales where the rates can be controlled very accurately to enable such intriguing products. Now we are working with theoreticians and designing new experiments to unravel this 'magic' at the nanoscale."

The fundamental revelation in this study is a further clarification of nanoscale chemical phenomena. The study also provides new data on how manufacturers can assemble these tiny circuits, electrically connecting nanoscale structures through chemical self-assembly.

It also opens up new possibilities for the transformation of nanoscale materials into the tools and circuits of the future, for example, self-assembling nanoscale electrical contacts to individual nanoscale components, smaller electronic and photonic devices such as a series of electrically connected quantum dots for LEDs or transistors, as well as improved storage capacities for batteries.

The study, published in the current issue of the journal Nano Letters, was conducted by Bin Zhang, Yeonwoong Jung, Lambert Van Vug and Agarwal of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in Penn's School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The work was supported by a National Science Foundation Career Award and a Penn Materials Research Science and Engineering Center grant.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania. "Transforming Nanowires Into Nano-tools Using Cation Exchange Reactions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091023104708.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania. (2009, November 2). Transforming Nanowires Into Nano-tools Using Cation Exchange Reactions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091023104708.htm
University of Pennsylvania. "Transforming Nanowires Into Nano-tools Using Cation Exchange Reactions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091023104708.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
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