A safe approach to nanotechnology: Boiling up zinc oxide nanorods without toxic solvents

Aug 19, 2009

A non-toxic and environmentally friendly way to make tiny nanorods of zinc oxide has been developed for the first time by researchers in Saudi Arabia. The approach, described in the current issue of the International Journal of Nanoparticles, could allow the nanorods to be used safely in medical and for other applications.

Zinc oxide has many uses when fabricated as nanoparticles and nanorods, just 100 in diameter. In such as nanoscopic form, it can be used in food products, such as breakfast cereals as a source of zinc, a necessary nutrient. It can also be used in dentistry and cosmetic ointments, creams, and lotions to protect against sunburn and skin damage caused by ultraviolet light.

can also act as a sensor for detecting changes in electric current due to absorption of gas molecules and so be used for gas leak warning devices. In electronics, the same material has wrought a revolution in lasers and light emitting diodes (LEDs). And as a , it can be used as a biomimic membrane to immobilize and modify biomolecules.

Now, M.A. Shah and M.S. Al-Shahry of the King Khalid University, in Abha, and A.M. Asiri of the King Abdul-Aziz University, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, have discovered a safe and biocompatible route for the synthesis of zinc oxide nano rods. Their route is based on the simple reaction of water and zinc powder at a relatively low temperature. "Since water is regarded as a benign solvent and non-toxic, the product (nanorods) could be used safely for biomedical and other applications," Shah says.

The approach is versatile for making different kinds of zinc oxide nanostructures and critically avoids the use of toxic organic solvents altogether. In the new approach, zinc powder is added to water, blasted with ultrasound for few minutes and then warmed at a temperature of 200 Celsius for 24 hours. The team has used the analytical techniques of X-ray and field emission to reveal the structure of the product.

The researchers found that they can produce uniform nanorods of 30 to 100 nanometers. They have also found that they can use pure water in what they say is a "simple and straightforward approach…suitable for large scale production." The proposed method is novel, rapid, economical, environmentally benign, and produces no pollutants, Shah adds.

More information: "Simple approach for the synthesis of zinc oxide nanorods", International journal of , 2009, 2, 87-94.

Source: Inderscience Publishers (news : web)

Explore further: Graphene imperfections key to creating hypersensitive 'electronic nose'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tiny tubes and rods show promise as catalysts, sunscreen

Sep 10, 2007

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed new ways to make or modify nanorods and nanotubes of titanium oxide, a material used in a variety of industrial and ...

Nano World: Nanoparticle toxicity tests

Apr 05, 2006

Scientists have for the first time compared how toxic several different kinds of nanoparticles are with known toxic and nontoxic items and found certain nanoparticles appeared surprisingly toxic, experts told UPI's Nano World. ...

Zinc oxide gives green shine to new photoconductors

Mar 18, 2009

Photodetectors -- devices found in cell phones, digital cameras and other consumer gadgets that utilize photoconducting materials -- are a green technology in performance (converting light into electricity), but the manufacture ...

Recommended for you

Engineered proteins stick like glue—even in water

Sep 21, 2014

Shellfish such as mussels and barnacles secrete very sticky proteins that help them cling to rocks or ship hulls, even underwater. Inspired by these natural adhesives, a team of MIT engineers has designed ...

Smallest possible diamonds form ultra-thin nanothreads

Sep 21, 2014

For the first time, scientists have discovered how to produce ultra-thin "diamond nanothreads" that promise extraordinary properties, including strength and stiffness greater than that of today's strongest ...

User comments : 0