Researchers Use Gold Nanoparticles to Unfold 3-D Structures

Researchers at NC State have developed a technique that uses nanoparticles, nanospheres and nanorods, to trigger shape changes in polymers. These differently shaped nanoparticles exhibit different surface plasmon resonances and will heat when exposed to specific wavelengths of light. When embedded in polymers, this causes the material to heat and change its shape. This work has the potential for use in soft robotics applications like biomedical implants. For more on this work, please see the NC State press release. Sequential Actuation of Shape-Memory Polymers through Wavelength-Selective Photothermal Heating of Gold Nanospheres and Nanorods Authors: Sumeet R. Mishra and Joseph B. Tracy, North Carolina State University Published: June 15, Applied Nano Materials DOI: 10.1021/acsanm.8b00394 Abstract: Photothermal triggering of shape-memory polymers is an appealing noncontact mode of actuation for responsive materials and soft robotics. Wavelength-selective photothermal triggering of shape recovery is reported in thermoplastic polyurethane shape-memory polymers with embedded gold (Au) nanospheres and nanorods. Light-emitting diodes with wavelengths of 530 and 860 nm matched to the surface plasmon resonances drive selective shape recovery. Wavelength-selective shape recovery enables sequential actuation, as demonstrated in a wavelength-controlled stage with optically controlled height and tilt angle using legs of shape-memory-polymer films with embedded Au nanospheres and nanorods.  

Engineers Synthesize Nickel Nanoparticles with Increased Surface Area

Researchers at NC State have developed a technique to create nanoparticles with a unique structure: a core of nickel embedded in a silica shell with small orbs of nickel surrounding the core. This leads to an increased nickel surface area, making more of this metal available for catalysis. For more on this work, please see the NC State press release. Synthesis and Chemical Transformation of Ni Nanoparticles Embedded in Silica Authors: Brian B. Lynch and Joseph B. Tracy, North Carolina State University; Bryan D. Anderson, North Carolina State University and Air Force Research Laboratory; W. Joshua Kennedy, Air Force Research Laboratory Published: Nov. 28, Nanoscale DOI: 10.1039/C7NR06379B Abstract: Ni nanoparticles (NPs) catalyze many chemical reactions, in which they can become contaminated or agglomerate, resulting in poorer performance. We report deposition of silica (SiO2) onto Ni NPs from tetraethyl orthysilicate (TEOS) through a reverse microemulsion approach, which is accompanied by an unexpected etching process. Ni NPs with an average initial diameter of 27 nm were embedded in composite SiO2-overcoated Ni NPs (SiO2-Ni NPs) with an average diameter of 30 nm. Each SiO2-Ni NP contained a ~7 nm oxidized Ni core and numerous smaller oxidized Ni NPs with diameters of ~2 nm distributed throughout the SiO2 shell. Etching of the Ni NPs is attributed to use of ammonium hydroxide as a catalyst for deposition of SiO2. Aliquots acquired during the deposition and etching process reveal agglomeration of SiO2 and Ni NPs, followed by dissociation into highly uniform SiO2-Ni NPs. This etching and embedding process may also be extended to other core materials. The stability of SiO2-Ni NPs was also investigated under high-temperature oxidizing and reducing environments. The structure of the SiO2-Ni NPs remained significantly unchanged after both oxidation and reduction, which suggests structural durability when used for catalysis.

RTNN users win awards at Microscopy & Microanalysis meeting

RTNN congratulates Houston Dycus, Dr. Jim LeBeau, and Matt Cabral for their recent awards at the 2016 Microscopy & Microanalysis meeting. Dycus (left picture), LeBeau, and Cabral (right picture) are all in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State. Dycus and LeBeau were awarded the best paper in the Microscopy and Microanalysis Journal (Materials Science Category) for their paper: Accurate nanoscale crystallography in real-space using scanning transmission electron microscopy.” Dycus also received the best poster award for his work, “Resolving Atomic Scale Chemistry and Structure at NO and Ba Passivated SiC/SiO2 Interfaces.” Cabral won a Student Scholar award for his contribution entitled: Direct Observation 
of Local Chemistry and Local Cation Displacements in the Relaxor Ferroelectric PMN-PT.”

Upcoming seminar: “Materials Science in Caribbean Art and Archaeology”

We are excited to announce an upcoming seminar by Professor Antonio Martínez-Collazo. Professor Martínez will discuss his work using materials characterization techniques to study works of art and archaeological artifacts. Following the talk, the Analytical Instrumentation Facility (AIF) at NC State will host tours for interested attendees to learn more about available characterization techniques and instrumentation. More information can be found on the event website.