Microreactor-Assisted Nanoparticle Deposition
Why is this technology needed?
The batch processing of nanoparticles (NPs) makes it difficult to control NP agglomeration, which can significantly affect NP properties. Further, centralized batch processing requires shipment, sometimes over long distances by truck and train, increasing public exposure to potentially hazardous NPs. To keep NPs from agglomerating during shipment, chemical companies must use expensive, toxic surfactants that can make downstream NP functionalization difficult.
How does this technology address the need?
Our vision is that manufacturers of next generation solar cells, solid state lighting, LCD displays, catalysts, lubricants, batteries, heat exchangers and many other high-tech products will produce and functionalize NPs just in time at the point of deposition (Figure 1). They will accomplish this through the use of high-throughput microreactors providing heating and mixing rates several orders of magnitude faster than conventional batch (stirred tank) reactors. Immediate functionalization and deposition of NPs overcomes agglomeration and surfactant issues while reducing public/worker exposure and environmental risks.
How is MBI contributing to the solution?
Novel approach: Figure 2 compares the NP morphology based on near room-temperature synthesis and deposition of ceria nanorods from a batch reactor and a microchannel mixer without the use of surfactants. Batch synthesis took several hours. Microchannel synthesis took seconds. Reaction concentrations and temperatures were identical. The NPs were deposited directly from the reactors.
Unique facility: The Oregon Process Innovation Center (OPIC) is a unique facility within the MBI for developing benchtop chemistries and demonstrating pilot-scale chemical process development and in-process characterization. Capabilities include in-process diagnostics and pilot deposition. NP characterization is greatly facilitated by the Linus Pauling Science Center at OSU and NIST-quiet ONAMI facilities at the University of Oregon.
- Chih-hung Chang, Director of OPIC
- Brian K. Paul
- Vince Remcho
- R. Shane Addleman
C. Chang, B.K. Paul, V.T. Remcho, S. Atre, J.E. Hutchison, “Synthesis and post-processing of nanomaterials using microreaction technology,” J Nanoparticle Res., 10(6): 2008.
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