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Honolulu, HI, United States, 2006/11/29 - A simple, inexpensive, and reproducible photothermal procedure for synthesizing inorganic fullerene-like nanoparticles..
While the first reported fullerenes and nanotube structures were composed of carbon, it was soon recognized that a plethora of comparable inorganic candidates should also exist. A rich assortment of IF (inorganic fullerene-like structures, or IF for short) nanostructures have been synthesized, and are finding practical uses in tribology, photonics, batteries, and catalysis. On such inorganic molecule that can achieve fullerene-like nanostructures, cesium oxide, is particularly useful for a multitude of applications in photoemissive systems. Unfortunately, it is extremely reactive in the ambient atmosphere, so its production and handling require high vacuum and very pure inert conditions; which translates into problematic and expensive manufacturing and handling, which in turn limits its technological scope and device lifetime. In their quest for a relatively uncomplicated high-yield synthesis method for chemically stable cesium oxide IFs, scientists succeeded in exploiting highly concentrated solar radiation (ultrabright incoherent light) toward that end. This resulted in a simple, inexpensive, and reproducible photothermal procedure for synthesizing IF nanoparticles.
Motivated by the paucity of any successful experimental techniques for producing more than a few molecules of fullerene-like cesium oxide – a form of the compound that has the potential to be of immense value in the photonics industry for photo-emissive and photo-detection devices – a group of Israeli and German scientists demonstrated that highly concentrated sunlight (solar ablation) is a successful synthetic method and orders of magnitude less expensive than exorbitant lasers.
"Nanofilms of cesium oxide IFs (IF-Cs2O) will be particularly useful for a multitude of applications in photoemissive systems, for example, photocathodes, negative-electron-affinity devices, image intensifiers, discharge lamps, television cameras, lasers, and catalytic converters" Professor Jeffrey M. Gordon from the Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel explains to Nanowerk. "Unfortunately, the synthesis of chemically stable IF-Cs2O nanoparticles so far was only possible with a very expensive laser ablation technique. Our team now managed, for the first time, to produce inorganic nanomaterials of this genre with solar energy; or with any non-laser technique for that matter."
Read the full article on the Nanowerk website.
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