A new process for making much-sought iron nanospheres

Feb 19, 2007
Protein Factory of Living Cells
Cells may contain hundreds of thousands to millions of ribosomes, one of which is depicted in this image. Credit: Image courtesy of Venki Ramakrishnan, PyMOL (Delano Scientific, pymol.org)

Using a process that creates bubbles as hot as the surface of the sun, chemists are reporting development of a new method for making hollow hematite (iron oxide) nanospheres. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Kenneth S. Suslick and Jin Ho Bang describe the synthesis of these iron nanoparticles in a report scheduled for the Feb. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Hollow nanospheres of metals and other inorganic materials are generating great interest because of their unusual properties and potential applications in drug delivery, electronic components, catalysts and other products. "We believe that this procedure will be easily extended to prepare other hollow inorganic materials," the researchers note. In the past, production of hollow hematite nanospheres required a time-consuming process and use of toxic hydrofluoric acid.

The new process uses sonochemistry, in which high-frequency sound waves are focused into a solution containing an iron compound and carbon nanoparticles. Those sound waves create tiny bubbles in the liquid. The collapse of those bubbles causes intense local heating with temperatures estimated at 9,000 F, which is nearly as hot as the surface of the sun.

The sonochemical process forms iron spheres around the carbon nanoparticles. On exposure to air, the iron rapidly oxidizes, which burns away the carbon core, leaving hematite spheres one thousandth the diameter of a red blood cell.

Source: ACS

Explore further: Spinach could lead to alternative energy more powerful than Popeye

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'

3 hours ago

(AP)—Six years ago the Social Security Administration embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims.

Cheaper wireless plans cut into AT&T 2Q profit

3 hours ago

(AP)—AT&T posted lower net income for the latest quarter due to cheaper cellphone plans it introduced as a response to aggressive pricing from smaller competitor T-Mobile US.

Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

3 hours ago

(AP)—Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

Recommended for you

A new approach to creating organic zeolites

3 minutes ago

Yushan Yan, Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of Delaware, is known worldwide for using nanomaterials to solve problems in energy engineering, environmental sustainability and electronics.

A tree may have the answers to renewable energy

19 hours ago

Through an energy conversion process that mimics that of a tree, a University of Wisconsin-Madison materials scientist is making strides in renewable energy technologies for producing hydrogen.

User comments : 0