Researchers develop new model to predict the optical properties of nanostructures

March 24, 2011

University of British Columbia chemists have developed a new model to predict the optical properties of non-conducting ultra-fine particles.

The finding could help inform the design of tailored nano-structures, and be of utility in a wide range of fields, including the remote sensing of and the study of formation.

Aerosols and nano-particles play a key role in atmospheric processes as , in interstellar chemistry and in drug delivery systems, and have become an increasingly important area of research. They are often complex particles made up of simpler building blocks.

Now research published this week by UBC chemists indicates that the of more complex non-conducting nano-structures can be predicted based on an understanding of the simple nano-objects that make them up. Those optical properties in turn give researchers and engineers an understanding of the particle's structure.

"Engineering complex nano-structures with particular infrared responses typically involves hugely complex calculations and is a bit hit and miss," says Thomas Preston, a researcher with the UBC Department of Chemistry.

"Our solution is a relatively simple model that could help guide us in more efficiently engineering nano-materials with the properties we want, and help us understand the properties of these small particles that play an important role in so many processes."

The findings were published in the .

"For example, the properties of a more complex particle made up of a cavity and a core structure can be understood as a hybrid of the individual pieces that make it up," says UBC Professor Ruth Signorell, an expert on the characterization of molecular nano-particles and aerosols and co-author of the study.

The experiment also tested the model against CO2 aerosols with a cubic shape, which play a role in cloud formation on Mars.

Explore further: New Self-Assemble Building Blocks for Nanotechnology

More information: Read the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/03/14/1100170108.abstract

Related Stories

New Self-Assemble Building Blocks for Nanotechnology

August 19, 2004

University of Michigan researchers have discovered a way to self-assemble nanoparticles into wires, sheets, shells and other unusual structures using sticky patches that make the particles group themselves together in programmed ...

Nano-particle dispersion technique improves polymers

August 29, 2005

Supercritical fluid carbon dioxide used; melt properties provide monitor There is a lot of excitement about incorporating nano particles into polymers because of the ability to improve various properties with only a small ...

Sophisticated nano-structures assembled with magnets (Video)

February 18, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- What do Saturn and flowers have in common? As shapes, both possess certain symmetries that are easily recognizable in the natural world. Now, at an extremely small level, researchers from Duke University ...

Look at Mie! Team tests century-old calculations

March 13, 2010

Calculations are fine, but seeing is believing. That's the thought behind a new paper by Rice University students who decided to put to the test calculations made more than a century ago.

Recommended for you

Graphene under pressure

August 25, 2016

Small balloons made from one-atom-thick material graphene can withstand enormous pressures, much higher than those at the bottom of the deepest ocean, scientists at the University of Manchester report.

Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins

August 25, 2016

Ultrasound imaging is used around the world to help visualize developing babies and diagnose disease. Sound waves bounce off the tissues, revealing their different densities and shapes. The next step in ultrasound technology ...

Nanovesicles in predictable shapes

August 25, 2016

Beads, disks, bowls and rods: scientists at Radboud University have demonstrated the first methodological approach to control the shapes of nanovesicles. This opens doors for the use of nanovesicles in biomedical applications, ...

'Artificial atom' created in graphene

August 22, 2016

In a tiny quantum prison, electrons behave quite differently as compared to their counterparts in free space. They can only occupy discrete energy levels, much like the electrons in an atom - for this reason, such electron ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.