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Catalysis

Introduction 

A catalyst is a chemical that enables or speeds up a reaction without being consumed in the reaction. The chemical industry relies heavily on catalysis, with an estimated 90% of chemical processes uses catalysts and it is estimated catalysis contributes to almost $35 billion to the world economy.[1]

What particles are used?

In heterogeneous catalysis, the reaction happens at the surface of the catalyst, so to improve catalytic performance, a high surface to volume ratio is desirable. Nanoparticles have such a high ratio, a 3 nm particle has 50% of its atoms at the surface! This means that the performance per gram is better than a bulk material, so less catalyst is needed. Since many of such catalysts consist of noble metals, lower material use will reduce costs quickly. Catalytic nanoparticles are often made from (noble) metals like gold, platinum or palladium, nickel and cobalt. Other materials are titanium oxide or iron oxide. Generally, as long as the bulk material shows catalytic activity, downsizing it to a nanoparticle will improve its activity.

Benefits of using the VSParticle G1

  • Particle size control (e.g. 3±0.01nm) 
  • Nano-mixing of different materials
  • Material purity

Top 10 Universities in catalysis nanoparticle research, since 2010*

World

InstitutionPublications
Chinese Academy of Sciences150
Tsinghua University83
Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry Chinese Academy of Sciences78
Nanyang Technological University73
Osaka University73
UC Berkeley71
Nanjing University70
Argonne National Laboratory66
Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology66
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology61

USA & Canada

InstitutionPublications
UC Berkeley69
Argonne National Laboratory66
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory54
Brookhaven National Laboratory53
Northwestern University47
University of Texas at Austin40
Georgia Institute of Technology36
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory34
Stanford University29
Oak Ridge National Laboratory29

Europe

InstitutionPublications
Cardiff University50
Canakkale Onsekiz Mart Universitesi44
Technische Universitat Berlin33
Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society31
Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule Zurich29
CNRS Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique28
Universite de Toulouse28
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche27
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet25
Debye Institute24

*Source: Scopus directory, dec 2016

Microelectronics

Introduction

Microelectronics is a subfield of electronics. As the name suggests, microelectronics relates to the study and manufacture (or microfabrication) of very small electronic designs and components. Usually, but not always, this means micrometre-scale or smaller. These devices are typically made from semiconductor materials. Many components of normal electronic design are available in a microelectronic equivalent. These include transistors, capacitors, inductors, resistors, diodes and (naturally) insulators and conductors can all be found in microelectronic devices. 

Impact of nanoparticles in microelectronics

Currently, nanoparticles are used conductive ink for circuit printing, to improve battery performance and to produce transistors, but the applications are endless. Virtually any metal component in microelectronics can be replaced with nanoparticles of that metal, decreasing the component size or improving efficiency or speed.

Novel applications for nanoparticles are printing of (flexible) circuits, more efficient solar cells, a simpler wafer etching technique or improved LED’s to name a few.

What particles are used?

For application in microelectronics, the particles have to be conductive, so copper, silver or gold particles are logical choices, although many metals are conductive. Semiconducting nanoparticles (GaAs, CdSe or TiO2) are needed for transistors or photovoltaic devices. Particle sizes can range between a few nanometer to a hundred nanometer, depending on the application.
Currently, the main problem for applying metal nanoparticles in microelectronics is the purity that is needed. Any oxidation or contamination of the conductive layer is detrimental to its conductivity, and nanoparticles are very sensitive to oxidation. The absence of an efficient, clean and fast method to deposit the particles is a barrier for applications.

VSParticle uses spark ablation technology to create oxygen free particles that can be directly deposited on any surface. Enabling circuit printing or the creation of thin films of particles.

Benefits of using the VSParticle G1

  • Printing with pure copper particles results in high conductivity.
  • Small particle size enables low melting temperature.
  • Broad spectrum of materials can be processes enabling different functionalities. 

Top 10 Universities in microelectronic nanoparticle research, since 2010*

 World

InstitutionPublications
Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology32
UC Berkeley22
Tsinghua University22
Georgia Institute of Technology21
Sungkyunkwan University19
Chinese Academy of Sciences19
Northwestern University17
Hanyang University17
Seoul National University16
City University of Hong Kong16

USA & Canada

InstitutionPublications
UC Berkeley22
Georgia Institute of Technology21
Northwestern University17
Massachusetts Institute of Technology15
UCLA13
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory12
Argonne National Laboratory11
Duke University10
University of Waterloo10
Tsinghua University10

Europe

InstitutionPublications
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche15
CNRS Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique10
Imperial College London10
University of Cambridge10
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia9
Universite Pierre et Marie Curie8
Technische Universitat Dresden8
Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule Zurich8
Universite de Strasbourg8
Chalmers University of Technology7

*Source: Scopus directory, dec 2016

Sensors

Introduction

Currently, detecting heave metals or biomolecules in water requires lengthy analytical techniques and getting results can take hours or even days. In search of faster and easier detection of certain chemicals, metal nanoparticles are gaining increasing popularity for sensory applications. Their small scale and versatile properties allow detection of a broad range of compounds. Nanoparticles are a promising candidate for the development of a lab on a chip. Highly sensitive chemical sensors based on gold nanoparticles are already developed for the detection of mercury, arsenic, lead, chromium and other heavy metals in water [1]. Detection of gasses in air or toxins in water is also amongst the possibilities. Even antibodies or DNA sequences can be detected by functionalised metal nanoparticles [2].

Impact of nanoparticles in chemical sensor technology

Because of the small scale, sensitivity and speed of detection of new sensory devices based on nanoparticle technology, the impact is high. The creation of the “lab on a chip” has the potential to revolutionise pollution monitoring, medical analysis and air quality control. Nanoparticle technology is one way to build such a chip.  The cost effectiveness and simplicity of such sensors make them a superior technology compared to conventional analytical tools based on chromatography or spectrometry.

What particles are used?

The most popular metal for sensory applications is gold. It is easily functionalisable, has great conductivity and its plasmon resonance even allows colorimetric detection by the naked eye. Other materials are for example iron oxide for magnetic particles or quantum dots.

Benefits of using the VSParticle G1

  • Particle size control (e.g. 3±0.01nm) 
  • Nano-mixing of different materials for optimal (localized) surface plasmon resonance
  • Cost reduction in the production of sensors due to lower startup-costs

Top 10 Universities in Nanoparticle sensor research, since 2010*

 World

InstitutionPublications
Chinese Academy of Sciences188
Hunan University97
Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry91
Nanjing University81
Southwest China Normal University76
Jilin University67
Nanyang Technological University66
Jiangnan University59
Soochow University58
Seoul National University57

USA & Canada

InstitutionPublications
Georgia Institute of Technology30
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign29
University of Massachusetts27
University of Waterloo26
Massachusetts Institute of Technology25
University of Toronto24
University of Connecticut23
Northwestern University21
Chinese Academy of Sciences21
University of Central Florida21

Europe

InstitutionPublications
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche45
Russian Academy of Sciences34
Universita degli Studi di Padova33
CNRS Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique33
Universite Pierre et Marie Curie29
Lomonosov Moscow State University28
Institut fur Photonische Technologien28
Universitat Rovira i Virgili27
Universita degli Studi di Messina26
Institucio Catalana de Recerca I Estudis Avancats25

*Source: Scopus directory, dec 2016