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: The origins of handedness in 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 origins of handedness in life

3 hours ago

Handedness is a complicated business. To simply say life is left-handed doesn't even begin to capture the blooming hierarchy of binary refinements it continues to evolve. Over the years there have been numerous ...

Have our bodies held the key to new antibiotics all along?

7 hours ago

As the threat of antibiotic resistance grows, scientists are turning to the human body and the trillion or so bacteria that have colonized us—collectively called our microbiota—for new clues to fighting microbial infections. ...

Characterizing an important reactive intermediate

12 hours ago

An international group of researchers led by Dr. Warren E. Piers (University of Calgary) and Dr. Heikki M. Tuononen (University of Jyväskylä) has been able to isolate and characterize an important chemical ...

Surfaces that communicate in bio-chemical Braille

12 hours ago

A Braille-like method that enables medical implants to communicate with a patient's cells could help reduce biomedical and prosthetic device failure rates, according to University of Sydney researchers.

User comments : 0