Projects in 2009

The overarching goals of SNNI are to develop proactive strategies in creating inherently safer nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing processes. This effort is supported by three broad research thrusts that implement the principles of green nanoscience to: (i) design greener nanomaterials; (ii) develop greener nanomanufacturing of engineered nanoparticles, including investigation of the mechanisms of nanoparticle production; and (iii) interface nanoparticles and nanostructures for device applications.

In FY 2006, the Leadership Team under the direction of SNNI's funding agency staff decided to fund ongoing research projects for another term to allow investigators breadth to help SNNI solidify it's foundation in these broad research thrusts. During SNNI's program review, however, the funding agency and Leadership Team agreed that the uncertainties concerning the biological impacts of nanomaterials was a significant impediment to innovation and thus decided to expand the research on biological impacts of nanomaterials. Dr. Robert Tanguay (OSU) was funded to develop a rapid in vivo system for determining toxic potential and biological activity, identifying cellular targets and development of a nanomaterials effects database.

Designing Greener nanomaterials

The overarching goal of this research thrust is to formulate structure-property relationships for the biological impact of engineered nanoparticles and to apply these relationships to the design of new materials with tailored properties.

Karen Guillemin (UO), John Postlethwait (UO), Eric Johnson (UO), Robert Tanguay (OSU), Scott Reed (PSU), Andrew Berglund (UO), Kenneth Doxsee (UO), Jim Hutchison (UO), Mingdi Yan (PSU)

Probe the biological impacts of functionalized nanoparticles

We will utilize a structurally and chemically well-defined library of functionalized gold nanoparticles in bioassays in whole organisms, tissues and cells. Using a rapid, high throughput in vivo platform, the team will study the toxicity and accumulation of nanoparticles within organisms and study the biological impacts of these nanoparticles on viability, gene expression and development. The data will feedback into nanoparticle design, informing the development of nanoparticles that have minimal impact on organisms. We will develop a Nanomaterials Effects Database (NED) to collate, organize and analyze this and global data on nanomaterial effects across species and exposure scenarios. The NED will serve as a repository for annotate data and computational tools for comparison across species and among disparate exposure scenarios.

Use biologically derived ligands to control the shape and size of the nanoparticles

One method of producing potentially benign nanoparticles is to utilize nature’s blueprints to create novel nanoparticles. Using examples from nature increases the chance of developing greener, safer nanoparticles. We use biological ligands to control the shape and size of nanoparticles by selecting and identifying ligands that bind to specific faces of crystalline gold particles. We have developed a technique in which naturally occurring lipids extracted from soy replaces a commonly used, but toxic, material. By using ligands that originate from biological systems, the likelihood of creating safe and biocompatible nanomaterials is increased. The other benefits of using biological ligands is this leads to a greener approach for nanoparticle synthesis and provides an opportunity to link the nanoparticles to molecules that can be used for targeting in the body and cell.

    Surface modification of nanoparticles – develop biologically safer nanoparticles while also directing self-assembly reactions and optimizing interactions with devices

    Other research in this group focuses on the development of general approaches to modifying the surface chemistry of nanoparticles.  Given that the first contact between a nanoparticle and a biological system is the outer surface of the nanoparticle, general approaches to tailor the composition and structure of the exterior ligand shell are essential to designing safer nanoparticulate materials and tuning the electronic or optical coupling.  We will design and synthesize functionalized nanoparticles which can be used to conjugate nearly any carbon-based materials. This conjugation chemistry does not require the attached molecules to possess reactive functional groups and is therefore universal. These well-defined, biologically derived nanoparticles can then be used for applications in biosensing and nanomedicine, such as the design of molecular sensors and phototherapeutic compounds.

    Greener Nanomanufacturing

    The aim of this effort is to develop methods of manufacturing nanoparticles using a process that is efficient and minimizes waste, while maintaining the properties needed for high-performance applications.

    Jim Hutchison (UO), Steven Kevan (UO), Chih-hung Chang (OSU), Brian Paul (OSU), Vincent Remcho (OSU), Sundar Atre (OSU), Shoichi Kimura (OSU), Goran Jovanovic (OSU), Vinod Narayanan (OSU)

    Exploration and development of nanoparticle syntheses in microcapillary reactors

    The objective of this task is to develop appropriate reaction chemistry and a microcapillary reactor system that will (a) improve our fundamental understanding of nanoparticle formation and passivation reactions and (b) rapidly develop new nanoparticle synthesis methods that can be transferred to integrated microchannel reactors. Both the fundamental and applied aspects of this work provide essential information needed for the rational development of microreactors that will provide access to structurally defined and homogeneous nanoparticle materials with properties tuned for specific applications.

      Microsystem development for metal nanoparticle production

      We will develop reliable and reproducible methods for manufacturing uniformly sized inorganic nanoparticles in a microsystem (Microchemical Nanofactory). Key components of the reactor include conduits for fluid transport, valves for reagent introduction, mixing chambers, reaction domains with thin film heaters for reaction control, integrated waveguides for monitoring and feedback control, separation/sorting operations for product purity control, and functionalization chambers for nanoparticle surface modification. We have started development of a microsystem for the synthesis of gold nanoparticles, which are attractive because of the possibility of manufacturing them with exacting size, shape and functionalization. Initial results from year one has demonstrated the benefits of the microsystem including synthesis and purification. In this segment, we will focus on microreactions, microseparations, and nanofactory integration.

        Safer production and processing of ceramic nanoparticle:  An integrated approach

        The work will continue to investigate the use of reactive gas streams in parallel arrays of microchannel reactors for the green synthesis and processing of silicon nitride nanoparticles. Our work will build on the foundations of nanoparticle synthesis in single microchannel reactors developed in year one and extend it to a microreactor with parallel arrays of microchannel sonic nozzles. This approach will take advantage of microchannel reaction benefits such as high heat transfer rates, high temperature gradient suitable for quenching of reaction, short and controllable residence time distribution, control of diffusion and reactant mixing.

          Greener Nanodevice applications

          Developing environmentally-benign assembly methods and identifying approaches to interface nanomaterials with macroscopic structures are being explored to produce greener, high-performance devices and nanostructured materials.

          Shane Addleman (PNNL), Glen Fryxell (PNNL), Jim Hutchison (UO), Richard Taylor (UO), Mark Lonergan (UO), Gertrude Rempfer (PSU), David Johnson (UO), Douglas Kezler (OSU)

          Nanoparticle self-assembly for integrated nanoparticle devices

          This team will develop nanoparticle surface chemistries and patterning strategies that enable directed self-assembly of nanoparticles into patterned superstructures for device applications including 1, 2, and 3D arrangements. This bottoms-up approach offers enhanced materials efficiency and unparalleled patterning resolution. Using techniques  self-assembly linkage chemistries developed in year one, it will be possible to create structures with specific architectures and functionality. We will explore methods to create patterned superstructures, which will be useful for novel sensing, separation and electrical properties.

            Electronic and optical properties of nanoparticle assemblies toward sensors, adaptive materials, photovoltaics, and photodetectors

            The objective of this research is to understand carrier transport and charge separation in nanoparticle assemblies. These issues will be addressed through studies on one-dimensional arrays of nanoparticles assembled onto DNA and through studies on nanoparticle assemblies interpenetrated with a second electroactive phase, so-called bicontinuous interpenetrating networks. These studies seek answers to basic fundamental questions regarding transport in interacting nanoparticle systems and that will help guid the development of nanoparticle-based devices.

              Chemistry of nanostructured matter: low-temperature and solution based processing of nanostructured inorganic materials

              We will develop a mechanistic understanding of the evolution of solution-derived films and the formation of nanostructured solids from nanostructured precursors prepared by using both solution and vapor phase deposition techniques. Our work in the initial period yielded an understanding of the formation of amorphous films, their transformation to the crystalline stated and the potential formation of nanostructured products. Our work during the initial support period focused on solution precursors yielding nanostructured oxides. During this period our focus is to extend the technique to more complex oxides and materials beyond oxides. As new materials are prepared and characterized, their performance in electronic devices will be accessed and further incorporated into devices such as capacitors, diodes, transistors and ferroelectric memory elements.

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