Nanotechnology is an emerging field that has great potential for use in commercial, defense and security applications. Nanomaterials and the manufacturing techniques used to create them, however, may pose adverse environmental, health and safety effects. One of the challenges facing this new industry is the design of nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing methods that provide maximum efficiency while minimizing these hazards. Merging green chemistry and nanoscience will provide opportunities to meet these challenges and to develop sustainable technologies and materials. Our goals are to implement the principles of green nanoscience to: (1) Design environmentally benign nanoparticles, test for putative toxicity and redesign as necessary; We are developing methods to prepare libraries of functionalized metal nanoparticles in which the size, shape and functionality can be widely varied. We will study the accumulation of nanoparticles within organisms and the impacts of these nanoparticles on viability, gene expression and development. These data will be used to guide the development of more benign nanoparticles for a wide range of applications. The surface of these nanoparticles will be modified which will direct self-assembly, tune electronic or optical coupling, and further enhance the biologically safety of these nanoparticles. (2) Develop greener methods for large-scale nanoparticle production through green nanomanufacturing technologies; We will identify acceptable nanoparticle formation reactions that can be carried out in a single solvent phase and that will permit control of particle size. From these studies we will scale up production and develop an integrated microreactor platform for deploying the single solvent phase chemistries. We are also exploring gas-phase production of ceramic nanoparticles in microreactors to produce materials that should expand our capabilities to produce novel devices for sensors and medicine. (3) Discover efficient approaches for using nanoparticles in the development of novel nanodevices; Nanomaterials are driving innovation in optical and electronic devices, however, realizing the full potential of nanoscale matter in device technologies requires the integration of the nanoscale building blocks with other components of the device. Nanostructures can also be important precursors in the low-cost and greener manufacture of more traditional microscale devices and to exotic new materials. Thus, 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.
Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 1, Technical Proceedings of the 2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, Volume 1
Published: May 20, 2007
Pages: 612 - 615
Industry sector: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing
Topic: Advanced Manufacturing