Mmeasuring the content and distribution of nanoparticles in materials

May 27, 2011
Seeing is believing
NPL's dual-beam photon correlation spectroscopy system

Even tiny concentrations of nanoparticles can have a very large effect on the properties of a material. Carbon nanotubes, for example, can increase electrical conductivity by up to a million times when present at only 0.5wt% (percent by weight). However, these nanoparticles need to be evenly spaced throughout a material to accomplish such changes, and it is therefore important to accurately measure both particle content and particle distribution.

NPL is developing three optical techniques that use scattering to make these measurements in solid polymers: frequency-domain optical coherence tomography (FD-OCT), Fraunhofer wavefront correlation (FWC) and oscillatory photon correlation spectroscopy (Os-PCS). NPL's Bill Broughton and Triantafillos Koukoulas authored an article that appeared in the May 2011 edition of Materials World describing this work.

These new techniques could help industry develop and monitor products that use nanoparticle-containing , known as nanocomposites. Although each technique is different, they all use the variation in refractive index between and the polymer material they are embedded in, which leads to a difference in the scattering of light. The ability to detect this light-scattering means that the content and distribution of nanoparticles can be measured. The aim is also to expand these methods to use infrared light so that they can analyse samples of varying transparencies.

The development of these techniques will better enable industry to realise the potential of nanocomposites by providing a versatile and reliable way to measure the different types of nanoparticles that give them their extraordinary properties.

Explore further: The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Multi-laboratory study sizes up nanoparticle sizing

Aug 11, 2009

As a result of a major inter-laboratory study, the standards body ASTM International has been able to update its guidelines for a commonly used technique for measuring the size of nanoparticles in solutions. The study, which ...

Scientists Create Light-Bending Nanoparticles

Mar 03, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Metallic nanoparticles and other structures can manipulate light in ways that are not possible with conventional optical materials. In a recent example of this, Rice University researchers ...

A New Way Forward for Nanocomposite Nanostructures

Feb 24, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign recently reported a new technique for directly writing composites of nanoparticles and polymers.

Nanoparticle Scattering Improves Laser Performance

Jun 04, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- “Light scattering” and “optical performance” are two concepts that usually head in opposite directions, but they have recently been shown to walk happily hand-in-hand. The results ...

Recommended for you

Researchers use oxides to flip graphene conductivity

3 hours ago

Graphene, a one-atom thick lattice of carbon atoms, is often touted as a revolutionary material that will take the place of silicon at the heart of electronics. The unmatched speed at which it can move electrons, ...

Researchers make magnetic graphene

10 hours ago

Graphene, a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, has many desirable properties. Magnetism alas is not one of them. Magnetism can be induced in graphene by doping it with magnetic ...

The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made

Jan 23, 2015

Theoretical physicists at Rice University are living on the edge as they study the astounding properties of graphene. In a new study, they figure out how researchers can fracture graphene nanoribbons to get ...

Nanotechnology changes behavior of materials

Jan 23, 2015

One of the reasons solar cells are not used more widely is cost—the materials used to make them most efficient are expensive. Engineers are exploring ways to print solar cells from inks, but the devices ...

Gold 'nano-drills'

Jan 22, 2015

Spherical gold particles are able to 'drill' a nano-diameter tunnel in ceramic material when heated. This is an easy and attractive way to equip chips with nanopores for DNA analysis, for example. Nanotechnologists ...

The importance of building small things

Jan 22, 2015

Strong materials, such as concrete, are usually heavy, and lightweight materials, such as rubber (for latex gloves) and paper, are usually weak and susceptible to tearing and damage. Julia R. Greer, professor ...

User comments : 0

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.