Ferromagnetic magnetite/carbon/magnetite concentric nanotubes (Urban)

While recent advances in carbon-based nanomaterials resulted in a number of fascinating discoveries, magnetic nanomaterials are of particular scientific interest. Driven by numerous potential applications, ranging from information storage to nanofluidics, drug delivery systems to biosensing devices, or magnetic resonance imaging and metacomposites, very limited knowledge how size, shape, and composition contribute to magnetic properties exists. By integrating biologically active molecules into controllable shapes and assemblies we will synthesize, characterize, and develop controllable prototypes of magnetic nanotubes that will be assembled into 3D arrays. We will take advantage of the recently developed synthetic paths that utilized biologically active phospholipids (PLs) as templates to produce ferromagnetic magnetite/carbon/magnetite concentric nanotubes (FMNTs).  The uniqueness of this approach was that a carbon layer sheet could be sandwiched between the iron oxide layers, forming a wall of a nanotube. By varying the thickness of the wall layers we will elucidate the role of magnetic (iron layer) and electric (carbon) layer) layers on responses to external and internal electric and magnetic fields. The main goal of this phase of the proposed project will be to understand molecular processes governing formation of variable multi-layer thickness walls of magnetic nanotubes. The second phase of the project will involve orientation of FMNTs in magnetic fields in an effort to design of novel 3D metacomposite objects. To control and maintain 3D geometry we will utilize polyaniline (PANI) matrices, which will serve as ‘freeze’ specific 3D geometries. It is anticipated that 3D FMNT arrays will result in the development of new metamaterials, while providing unique opportunities for REU students to experience the impact of nanotechnologies on 3D object designs. Scanning (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) will be used to reveal the 3D geometries, whereas permittivity and conductivity as a function of temperature will be measured as a function of FMNT spacing for a given 3D geometry. The latter will be utilized to determine the mechanism of variable range hopping (VRH) as well as the dielectric response.

 

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