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: Ice cream goes Southern, okra extracts may increase shelf-life

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nanospheres stretch limits of hard disk storage

Jun 15, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new magnetic recording medium made up of tiny nanospheres has been devised by European researchers. The technology may lead to hard disks able to store more than a thousand billion bits ...

Cellular nanoscale drug delivery from the inside out

Mar 29, 2006

Delivering a dose of chemotherapy drugs to specific cancer cells without the risk of side affects to healthy cells may one day be possible thanks to a nanoscale drug delivery system being explored by researchers at the U.S. ...

Recommended for you

The fluorescent fingerprint of plastics

8 hours ago

LMU researchers have developed a new process which will greatly simplify the process of sorting plastics in recycling plants. The method enables automated identification of polymers, facilitating rapid separation ...

Water and sunlight the formula for sustainable fuel

12 hours ago

An Australian National University (ANU) team has successfully replicated one of the crucial steps in photosynthesis, opening the way for biological systems powered by sunlight which could manufacture hydrogen ...

Rice chemist wins 'Nobel Prize of Cyprus'

12 hours ago

Rice University organic chemist K.C. Nicolaou has earned three prestigious international honors, including the Nemitsas Prize, the highest honor a Cypriot scientist can receive and one of the most prestigious ...

Researchers create engineered energy absorbing material

14 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Materials like solid gels and porous foams are used for padding and cushioning, but each has its own advantages and limitations. Gels are effective as padding but are relatively heavy; gel performance ...

User comments : 0