Creation process for a low-density, interconnected metallic foam between nanowires

Tech ID: 30595 / UC Case 2016-205-0

Abstract

Researchers at the University of California - Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratory have found an innovative way to create a foam that allows for the creation of interconnected nanostructures between metallic nanowires that allow for the channelization of electrical, magnetic, optical, or chemical properties.

Full Description

Nanoporous metal foams, among other nano-scaled metal foams, are becoming the building blocks of a multitude of new technologies, including high energy density laser targets, coating, photovoltaics, and targeted drug delivery. Currently, the production of such foams is difficult and costly. Many research teams are using lithographic approaches to produce nanowires of various metals, after which a freeze drying method is used to hold the nanowires in a foam by utilizing Van der Waal’s force. While such a method works in the lab, it is difficult to scale and results in foams that are quite brittle at low densities, especially for those made of pure metal.

Researchers at the University of California – Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratory have developed an improved nanowire synthesis and freeze drying process that allows for the creation of nanoporous metal foams at a density of 0.1% of the bulk density of the metal. This new method allows for the production of more nanowires at a lower cost and the production of metal foams that are mechanically strong, thanks to a structure that is made up of nanowires that are bonded to one another. 

Applications

  •  Improved storage of hydrogen and other catalysts
  •  Development of nanomagnetics
  •  Fine-tuning of thermoelectrics
  •  Targeted drug-delivery
  •  Intravenous drug trapping
  •  Higher efficiency photovoltaics
  •  Lower cost metallic bodies for cars and other vehicles
  •  Improved high energy density laser targets

Features/Benefits

  •  Allows for the creation of very low density foams
  •  Works with a variety of metals (Copper, Cobalt, Gold, Palladium, Platinum, Silver, Bismuth)
  •  Faster and cheaper than lithographic processes
  •  Results in a foam that is mechanically strong
  •  Has a high level of porosity 

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Published Application 20190085478 03/21/2019 2016-205
United States Of America Published Application 20180311737 11/01/2018 2016-205
 

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Inventors

  • Burks, Edward
  • Gilbert, Dustin A.
  • Liu, Kai

Other Information

Keywords

Metal foams, pure metallic form, low density, high porosity, freeze drying, nanowires, nanoporous metal forms

Categorized As