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Nanoparticles – Little Wonders From Alfa Aesar

Alfa Aesar, for more than 45 years a leading manufacturer and supplier of research chemicals and materials, and Nanophase Technologies, a company at the forefront of nanomaterial technology are now working together to distribute nanoparticles and nanoparticle dispersions.

Nanoparticles, defined as ultrafine particles between 1 and 100 nanometers in diameter, are not actually a modern invention – despite their association with cutting-edge medicine and ceramic engineering. Potters were in fact using them to add luster to their wares in 9th century Mesopotamia.

We have however come a long way since then and there is no doubt that nanoparticles are seeing a ‘renaissance’ that rather dwarfs these humble origins. Nanoparticles are being applied to a wide range of problems, from increasing the road adhesion properties of tyres to strengthening steels.

The contribution of nanoparticles to surface technology has also seen widespread usage in consumer products such as crack-resistant paints, scratchproof glasses and transparent sunscreens. With such a variety of important applications, nanoparticle and nanoparticle dispersion, consistency and quality is vital. Nanophase particles, as distributed by Alfa Aesar, help set the standards.

Particles are non-porous and fully crystalline, equiaxed with high-surface and chemical purity and there are no durable secondary agglomerate structures. The size of particle produced is dependent upon the synthesis technique: Physical Vapor Synthesis (PVS) or NanoArc® Synthesis (NAS). Both approaches use electric arc energy to produce a vapour from a solid metal precursor that is then exposed to a reactive gas to form the molecular clusters, which are subsequently cooled to make nanometric crystals.

Using PVS, particle sizes range from 35-75 nm, whereas NAS yields particles between 20-60 nm. As NAS can also use a wider range of precursor materials a greater range of nanoparticles can be produced by this approach. Nanoparticles stocked include aluminium oxide (45nm) used in transparent coatings and bismuth (III) oxide (38nm) which can be compounded into polymers to increase x-ray opacity. 

The functionality of nanoparticles may require further treatment and Nanophase are also expert at surface coating and dispersal techniques. Coatings are chosen to be chemically appropriate to the application at hand, providing compatibility to a range of resins and polymers (polar and non-polar organic systems) while leaving the core chemistry unaltered.

Because the effective dispersion of nanoparticles into a fluid is crucial to their use, Alfa Aeser and Nanophase offer a range of pre-dispersed particles, nullifying the aggregation problems that can ruin an application.

And, to make life even easier, if you require semi-bulk or bulk orders simply give them a call and that can be arranged to. Nanoparticles, little wonders indeed.

Date added: 2015-05-25 11:48:12