Traditional colloidal techniques for synthesis of assembled nanoparticles use multi-step processes involving hazardous solvents and surfactants that require additional purification steps. Therefore, particle production techniques that are scalable and capable of morphological control of aggregate architecture and arrangement are highly desirable.
Profs. Michael Zachariah, Reza Abbaschian and colleagues from the University of California, Riverside and the University of Maryland have developed an electromagnetic levitation technique to generate metal nanoparticles and tune their aggregate structure and morphology. This technique uses magnetic fields to levitate and inductively heat metal pieces, that result in metal evaporation and formation of nanoparticles in the gas phase. This state-of-the-art method is only a single step, is continuous, avoids use of hazardous solvents, and generates high purity metal nanoparticles that are ligand or surfactant free. This technology allows for faster production of aligned nanoparticles at an efficient cost.
Fig 1: Nanoparticle aggregates produced using the UCR method.