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TU Graz researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

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Home > Press > TU Graz researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

The graph illustrates the stepwise synthesis of Silver-Zinc Oxide core-shell clusters. CREDIT
© IEP - TU Graz
The graph illustrates the stepwise synthesis of Silver-Zinc Oxide core-shell clusters. CREDIT
© IEP – TU Graz

Abstract:
Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest portions of bulk material – form the basis for a whole range of new technological developments. Due to the laws of quantum mechanics, such particles measuring only a few millionths of a millimetre can behave completely differently in terms of conductivity, optics or robustness than the same material on a macroscopic scale. In addition, nanoparticles or nanoclusters have a very large catalytically effective surface area compared to their volume. For many applications this allows material savings while maintaining the same performance.

TU Graz researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications


Graz, Austria | Posted on July 31st, 2020

Further development of top-level research in Graz in the field of nanomaterials

Researchers at the Institute of Experimental Physics (IEP) at Graz University of Technology have developed a method for assembling nanomaterials as desired. They let superfluid helium droplets of an internal temperature of 0.4 Kelvin (i.e. minus 273 degrees Celsius) fly through a vacuum chamber and selectively introduce individual atoms or molecules into these droplets. “There, they coalesce into a new aggregate and can be deposited on different substrates,” explains experimental physicist Wolfgang Ernst from TU Graz. He has been working on this so-called helium-droplet synthesis for twenty-five years now, has successively developed it further during this time, and has produced continuous research at the highest international level, mostly performed in “Cluster Lab 3”, which has been set up specifically for this purpose at the IEP.

Reinforcement of catalytic properties

In Nano Research, Ernst and his team now report on the targeted formation of so-called core-shell clusters using helium-droplet synthesis. The clusters have a 3-nanometer core of silver and a 1.5-nanometer-thick shell of zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is a semiconductor that is used, for example, in radiation detectors for measuring electromagnetic radiation or in photocatalysts for breaking down organic pollutants. The special thing about the material combination is that the silver core provides a plasmonic resonance, i.e. it absorbs light and thus causes a high light field amplification. This puts electrons in an excited state in the surrounding zinc oxide, thereby forming electron-hole pairs – small portions of energy that can be used elsewhere for chemical reactions, such as catalysis processes directly on the cluster surface. “The combination of the two material properties increases the efficiency of photocatalysts immensely. In addition, it would be conceivable to use such a material in water splitting for hydrogen production,” says Ernst, naming a field of application.

Nanoparticles for laser and magnetic sensors

In addition to the silver-zinc oxide combination, the researchers produced other interesting core-shell clusters with a magnetic core of the elements iron, cobalt or nickel and a shell of gold. Gold also has a plasmonic effect and also protects the magnetic core from unwanted oxidation. These nanoclusters can be influenced and controlled both by lasers and by external magnetic fields and are suitable for sensor technologies, for example. For these material combinations, temperature-dependent stability measurements as well as theoretical calculations were carried out in collaboration with the IEP theory group led by Andreas Hauser and the team of Maria Pilar de Lara Castells (Institute of Fundamental Physics at the Spanish National Research Council CSIC, Madrid) and can explain the behaviour at phase transitions such as alloy formation that deviates from macroscopic material samples. The results were published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry.

Ernst now hopes that the findings from the experiments will be rapidly transferred into new catalysts “as soon as possible”.

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This research area is anchored in the Field of Expertise “Advanced Materials Science”, one of five strategic foci of TU Graz. The Cluster 3 laboratory was set up using funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with the support of the European Union and the State of Styria. The measurements for photoelectron spectroscopy of the particles could be carried out with the aid of a photoemission electron microscope in the framework of the structural funds of the higher education area of the Austrian Federal Government. The work was also supported by three projects of the Austrian Research Fund FWF.

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For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Wolfgang ERNST
Em.Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Phys. Dr.rer.nat.
Tel.: +43 316 873 8140; E-Mail:

Florian LACKNER
Univ.Ass. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn.
Tel.: +43 316 873 8647; E-Mail:

Andreas HAUSER
Assoc.Prof. Mag. phil. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. phil Dr. techn.
Tel.: +43 316 873 8157; E-Mail:

At Institute of Fundamental Physics at the Spanish National Research Council CSIC, Madrid:
Maria Pilar de Lara Castells
E-Mail:

Copyright © Graz University of Technology

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STid SPECTRE nano Reader Accelerates Car Park Access Control with…

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STid launches Spectre nano reader

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STid, creator of the world’s most awarded access control reader, announced today it has set a new standard in car park access control and simplified visitor management with its new SPECTRE nano reader. The multi-technology reader quickly recognizes employees, visitors, vendors, and their vehicles – simultaneously – for smooth, hands-free access control without compromising security.

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SPECTRE nano will be available in October to help speed car park access control. For more information, please visit our SPECTRE Nano page.

About STid

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For more information contact: [email protected]

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AerNos AerHome

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We’re partnering with many manufacturers to create wirelessly rechargeable devices that keep batteries out of landfills. Charles Goetz, CEO of Powercast.

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Powercast aims to make one-time-use batteries obsolete by working with electronic manufacturers to recharge batteries or replace them altogether with its over-the-air RF (radio frequency) wireless power technology. Many of today’s small electronic devices can be designed so they’re environmentally friendly, either with rechargeable batteries that can accept an RF wireless charge, or with no batteries that can be directly powered by RF power. A Powerharvester chip is embedded in devices to receive RF energy sent over the air from either a dedicated Powercast transmitter, or from industry-standard RFID readers. The Powerharvester then converts the RF to direct current (DC) to top off the battery or power the device.

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The Business Intelligence Group was founded with the mission of recognizing true talent and superior performance in the business world. Unlike other industry award programs, business executives—those with experience and knowledge—judge the programs. The organization’s proprietary and unique scoring system selectively measures performance across multiple business domains and then rewards those companies whose achievements stand above those of their peers.

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High Performance, Closed-Loop Piezo Controller with Integrated Piezo…

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Learn about PI’s new high-performance, compact digital closed-loop piezo controller that’s cost effective too!

Learn about PI’s new high-performance, compact digital closed-loop piezo controller that’s cost effective too!

Based on 5 decades of piezo driver and motion controller expertise, PI’s digital piezo controller family grows again with the next generation E-709 closed-loop piezo controller and integrated driver, well suited for applications that require high performance motion with nanometer precision such as found in semiconductor surface metrology, autofocus systems, medical apparatus, laser-beam steering, 3D imaging, and multiphoton and confocal microscopy.

Digital Controller with Fast Focus and Freeze, Automated Scans, Software Support

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The new E-709 compact digital piezo controller is supported by a comprehensive software package including drivers for LabVIEW, dynamic libraries for Windows and Linux, MATLAB, MetaMorph, µManager, etc. Despite all servo operations inside the controller are of digital nature, an additional analog control interface with high resolution A/D converters is included for ease of use with existing analog signals. Digital interfaces include USB, SPI, RS-232. Supported functions include Wave generator, data recorder, auto zero, and trigger I/O. The following article explains the difference between digital piezo servo controllers and analog piezo controllers.

How to Find the Right Piezo Controller?

Several application parameters should be considered when selecting the right closed-loop piezo controller for a specific nanopositioning or high-speed precision motion task. Examples are

  • Maximum required stroke / amplitude
  • Signal type (sinusoidal, triangular, trapezoidal, steps, …)
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To learn more on this subject, a selection guide on Piezo Controllers and Mechanisms is available.

Safety Monitoring, Temperature Management

Short-circuit proof, the E-709 provides safety and monitoring functionality with continuous input/output measurements as well as internal temperature. The driver is adaptable to a wide variety of operating conditions and temperature stable within 10 minutes of powering on.

Datasheet» E-709 Compact, High Performance Closed-Loop Piezo Controller with Integrated Voltage Amplifier

Working with You

PI’s in-house engineered solutions have enabled customers around the world to increase their productivity and technological advantage for 5 decades. With a large basis of proven motion technologies and methodologies, PI is in the position to quickly modify existing designs or provide a fully customized OEM solution to fit the exact requirements of your application from sensors and piezo transducers to microscope nano-focus units, fast photonics alignment systems to multi-axis automation sub-systems.

USA / Canada

http://www.pi-usa.us | [email protected] | (508) 832-3456

About PI

PI is a privately held company that designs and manufactures world-class precision motion and automation systems including air bearings, hexapods and piezo drives at locations in North America, Europe, and Asia. The company was founded 5 decades ago and today employs more than 1300 people worldwide. PI’s customers are leaders in high-tech industries and research institutes in fields such as photonics, life-sciences, semiconductors, and aerospace.

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