Making Borosilicate Nanoparticles Is Now Possible | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 86 Issue 37 | p. 34 | Concentrates
Issue Date: September 15, 2008

Making Borosilicate Nanoparticles Is Now Possible

Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: JACS In C&EN
Credit: © Nat. Nanotechnol.
8637scon_5
 
Credit: © Nat. Nanotechnol.

A team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, reports the first synthesis and characterization of borosilicate nanoparticles (Nat. Nanotechnol., DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2008.262). Borosilicate glass is inert, and as such it can withstand high temperatures and harsh chemical conditions, unlike polymers or silica used to make nanoparticles. Until now, borosilicate microparticles could be formed from a glass melt, but an unstable boron oxide precursor made the fabrication of nanoparticles impossible. Virendra K. Parashar, Martin A. M. Gijs, and colleagues got around this problem by first preparing a borosilicate gel from tetraethylorthosilicate and trimethoxyboroxine, using formic acid as a catalyst and dichloromethane and 2-propanol as solvents. Exposing a droplet of the gel to water without prior contact with air incites a dynamic reaction that immediately forms the solid nanoparticles. The researchers characterized the particles, which range from 100 to 500 nm in size, by microscopy techniques and elucidated the exothermic phase-separation mechanism that forms the nanoparticles via NMR studies. The researchers say the availability of these particles will broaden the potential of nanoparticles for chemical uses, including applications in filtration membranes, optics, and medicine.

Video
Researchers used video microscopy to observe the synthesis of borosilicate nanoparticles. In this clip, schematics illustrate the experiment setup, and video footage shows borosilicate gel being fed through a capillary into water, where the gel undergoes exothermic phase separation to form nanoparticles.
Click her to see Injection by a capillary of borosilicate sol in water
Credit: © Nat. Nanotechnol.
8637scic_vid_sm
 
Video
Researchers used video microscopy to observe the synthesis of borosilicate nanoparticles. In this clip, schematics illustrate the experiment setup, and video footage shows borosilicate gel being fed through a capillary into water, where the gel undergoes exothermic phase separation to form nanoparticles.
Click her to see Injection by a capillary of borosilicate sol in water
Credit: © Nat. Nanotechnol.
 
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