Concentration Of Nanoparticles By Zone Heating Method

Tech ID: 27489 / UC Case 2016-523-0


UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have invented a novel method to concentrate nanoparticles (NPs) into metal crystals via zone melting.


Materials that contain high volume dispersed NPs can offer unusual mechanical, physical, and chemical properties for a variety of applications, including electronics, catalysis, energy, and lightweight materials for automobiles and aircraft. Normally, a low volume percentage of NPs (< 1-2 vol%) can be dispersed by most methods, such as ultrasonic, evaporation, or condensation. However, it is difficult to obtain a high-volume percentage (≥ 5 vol%) NPs in solidified materials, such as metals. Zone refining/melting is a well-established technique for crystal purification, but has never been used to concentrate NPs in molten materials before they are solidified. Solids with a high-volume percentage of NPs can be used for countless applications, but improvements to their synthesis and scalability must first be further developed.


Researchers led by Professor Xiaochun Li have developed a novel method to improve the concentration of metal NPs (> 5 vol%) into a solid material by utilizing zone directional melting. Moreover, multi-cycles can be used to achieve a higher concentration of NPs in the final solid. This innovative method is easy to setup, can be readily used for mass production, and will have widespread applications in solidification nanoprocessing.


  • Composite nanomaterials
  • Solidification nanoprocessing  
  • Lightweight, high performance nanocomposites
  • Electronics, catalysis, and energy applications
  • Lightweight materials for automobiles and aircraft


  • > 5 vol% NPs
  • Multi-cycles can be used to increase NP concentration
  • Zone melting process
  • Scalable and can be mass produced

State Of Development

Nanoparticle/metal solid materials have been successfully fabricated and their mechanical and physical properties have been tested.


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  • Li, Xiaochun

Other Information


Nanoparticles, NPs, zone melting, directional melting, mass production, electronics, catalysis, energy, lightweight materials, nanocomposite, nanoprocessing

Categorized As