Alchemy is a century old concept which started to vanish gradually but thanks to nanotechnology the core concept of altering the nano parts of any element is reemerging.
Scientist at the University of Michigan are working towards making materials with new properties by making changes in nano levels.
"Today, scientists achieve something akin to alchemy when we change materials' building blocks by adding atoms or molecules to them, or even changing their shape. Such changes affect how the building blocks fit together, which in turn controls material's behavior and properties.”
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"We've developed a new theoretical tool that can be used by computers to carry out 'alchemy' on the fly, rapidly searching for the best building block for a given application. Digital alchemy will transform the way we design materials," stated by Sharon Glotzer, the John Werner Cahn Distinguished University Professor of Engineering and the Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering.
The four sided pyramids or the popularly known tetrahedral, can produce a diamond structure when their side points are cut off. The elements present in the structure can be redefined by the nanoparticles and break a mere 90 element into infinite numbers of tiny sized synthetic particles. The researcher proposes to investigate how nanoparticles build block. But the process would be not measuring the particles, but finding out how they actually build certain structures. By knowing the reason of their formation of structures, scientist could apply the process on different other elements and achieve the desired structure.
Van Anders, a research fellow in the Glotzer group and first author of the study, said, “We just stick the particles into a structure and say 'find a shape that you're happy with if you have to sit in that structure”
The best shape is achieved when the self-assembling particles are packed into one single structure without leaving any free space. "It seems like having an infinitude of new 'elements' to make materials from is a great thing. But if we don't know the rules they use to organize themselves, and we can't determine the rules by trial and error because we can't make all the different elements, then we need to approach developing materials in a new way," said Greg van Anders.
Researchers put spherical particles in test in which they found out that they form an icosahedral quasicrystal which is quite a complicated structure. Anders said, if the source is detected how the particles form such a complicated structure, in future less complicated structures will be easy to make using a different set of structures.Tag(s) : alchemy, nanotechnology, nanoparticles, nano science, ,