Materials researcher fathoms growth of nanostructures on metal surface

Source: link

Materials researcher fathoms growth of nanostructures on metal surface

Growth of nanostructures on a copper surface at different temperatures and exposure times. Credit: Tanyeli et al. / Nature Scientific Reports

Read more at:

Materials scientist Irem Tanyeli from energy research institute DIFFER has discovered how you can grow nanostructures in a controlled manner on a variety of metals, by bombarding the metals with helium particles. Such controlled nanostructures provide the possibility of advanced electrodes that produce sustainable fuel using solar energy. Tanyeli and her fellow researchers from DIFFER, ITER and the University of Basel published their results in Nature’s Scientific Reports on 28 April 2015.

Blowing bubbles in metal

In their research Tanyeli and her colleagues exposed different metal surfaces to a hot intense beam of charged helium gas (plasma) in DIFFER’s plasma experiment Magnum-PSI. Helium easily penetrates into the metal lattice where it forms bubbles that push the surrounding metal outwards. In this way, different structures of tens to hundreds of nanometeres in size arise per metal. By describing the differences, Tanyeli could analyse which underlying processes formed the nanostructures such as the temperature and the structure of the metal lattice.

That helium plasma can cause a metal to explode in nanostructures had previously been discovered when researchers tested wall materials for fusion energy reactors. They then discovered strange shapes on the metal wall surface. In a fusion reactor, these nanostructures are undesirable because they reduce the discharge of heat, but in other applications the nanostructures are very useful, thinks co-researcher and DIFFER director Richard van de Sanden.

Fundamental insight

“Irem Tanyeli’s research is important due to the fundamental insight”, says Van de Sanden. “How do such nanostructures grow on a surface, which processes play a role in that, what are the bottlenecks, and how can you manage the process? If you understand that then you can produce advanced materials on a large-scale that can be given properties to order.” That has a wide range of applications in sustainable energy technologies.

Converting sunlight into hydrogen

Tanyeli’s nanostructures are interesting for catalyst applications such as the use of solar energy to produce hydrogen from water. Widely available and cheap materials can usually not compete against the efficiency of expensive but rare record holders such as platinum. But with the right nanostructures the cheaper materials can still be made competitive.

That opens up possibilities for the large-scale storage and conversion of sustainable energy in the form of chemical compounds: solar fuels. Such fuels have no net CO2-emission and, therefore, offer opportunities for the transport sector. Solar fuels are seen as an important way of storing sustainable energy, for example the solar energy that is generated during the sun-rich summer can be stored for use during the dark winter

Read more at:

Latest Papers

    • Ludmil Fachikov 
      Amorphous Phosphate Coatings on Steel Surfaces – preparation and characterization 
    • M. Hristova
      Prediction of the flash point of ternary ideal mixtures
    • Book Review by Alfons G. Buekens, Luc Hens
      Environmental Engineering: Principles and Practice 
      By Richard O. Mines, Jr.
  • Raising fluid walls around living cells 14th June 2019
    Cell culture plates that are in everyday use in biology can be effectively transformed into microfluidic devices, opening paths for biologists to miniaturize cell-based workflows. In a recent report, Ph.D. researcher Cristian Soitu and co-workers in the departments of Engineering Science and Pathology at the University of Oxford, Oxford, U.K., described a simple method to […]
  • Using carbon nanotubes to strengthen graphene-based membranes used for desalination 14th June 2019
    A team of researchers from China, the U.S. and Japan has developed a way to strengthen graphene-based membranes intended for use in desalination projects—by fortifying them with nanotubes. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes how they created their fortified membranes and how well the membranes worked when tested. Baoxia Mi, […]
  • Research reveals liquid gold on the nanoscale 13th June 2019
    The research published in Nature Communications set out to answer a simple question—how do nanoparticles melt? Although this question has been a focus of researchers for the past century, it still is an open problem—initial theoretical models describing melting date from around 100 years, and even the most relevant models being some 50 years old.
  • Researchers create uniform-shape polymer nanocrystals 13th June 2019
    A team of researchers from the University of Konstanz has demonstrated a new aqueous polymerization procedure for generating polymer nanoparticles with a single chain and uniform shape, which, by contrast to previous methods, involves high particle concentrations. A corresponding paper titled "Uniform shape monodisperse single chain nanocrystals by living aqueous catalytic polymerization" is set for […]
  • Opposite piezoresistant effects of rhenium disulfide in two principle directions 12th June 2019
    Using optical and electrical measurements, a two-dimensional anisotropic crystal of rhenium disulfide was found to show opposite piezoresistant effects along two principle axes, i.e. positive along one axis and negative along another. Piezoresistance was also reversible; it appeared upon application of a strain, but the relative resistance returned to its original value on strain removal. […]
  • Engineers design nanostructured diamond metalens for compact quantum technologies 11th June 2019
    At the chemical level, diamonds are no more than carbon atoms aligned in a precise, three-dimensional (3-D) crystal lattice. However, even a seemingly flawless diamond contains defects: spots in that lattice where a carbon atom is missing or has been replaced by something else. Some of these defects are highly desirable; they trap individual electrons […]
  • Solvent pH controls interactions of gold nanoclusters, offers potential applications in drugs and imaging 11th June 2019
    The properties of gold in nanoscale are significantly different to those of bulk gold. Of special interest are gold nanoclusters, that are composed of between tens to some hundreds of gold atoms. Numerous of such cluster structures are known and synthesizable to atomic precision. The aim of this thesis was to apply molecular dynamics simulations […]
  • Plot twist: Straightening single-molecule conductors improves their performance 11th June 2019
    A team at Osaka University has created single-molecule nanowires, complete with an insulation layer, up to 10 nanometers in length. When they measured the electrical properties of these nanowires, the researchers found that forcing the ribbon-like chains to be flat significantly improved their conductivity compared with a twisted conformation. The findings may allow for a […]
  • Tiny light box opens new doors into the nanoworld 11th June 2019
    Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nano level. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which […]
  • A bubbly new way to detect the magnetic fields of nanometer-scale particles 11th June 2019
    As if they were bubbles expanding in a just-opened bottle of champagne, tiny circular regions of magnetism can be rapidly enlarged to provide a precise method of measuring the magnetic properties of nanoparticles.