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: Breakthrough points to new drugs from nature

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

A greener source of polyester—cork trees

19 hours ago

On the scale of earth-friendly materials, you'd be hard pressed to find two that are farther apart than polyester (not at all) and cork (very). In an unexpected twist, however, scientists are figuring out ...

Breakthrough points to new drugs from nature

21 hours ago

Researchers at Griffith University's Eskitis Institute have developed a new technique for discovering natural compounds which could form the basis of novel therapeutic drugs.

World's first successful visualisation of key coenzyme

21 hours ago

Japanese researchers have successfully developed the world's first imaging method for visualising the behaviour of nicotine-adenine dinucleotide derivative (NAD(P)H), a key coenzyme, inside cells. This feat ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Breakthrough points to new drugs from nature

Researchers at Griffith University's Eskitis Institute have developed a new technique for discovering natural compounds which could form the basis of novel therapeutic drugs.

A greener source of polyester—cork trees

On the scale of earth-friendly materials, you'd be hard pressed to find two that are farther apart than polyester (not at all) and cork (very). In an unexpected twist, however, scientists are figuring out ...

Robotics goes micro-scale

(Phys.org) —The development of light-driven 'micro-robots' that can autonomously investigate and manipulate the nano-scale environment in a microscope comes a step closer, thanks to new research from the ...

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...