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We’ve all seen how the photoparticle film you see in your camera can make it stick to paper and metal.
But it’s the nanoparticles that make it last.
These tiny particles are produced by an enzyme that can break down the polymers of the photocatalytic reactions involved in photosynthesis.
We use these particles to make the photocats we use in our devices, so you can expect them to last longer than the usual film.
But what about the nanoparticle film that doesn’t stick?
How do they work?
This is where things get interesting.
Nanofilm is made by combining many nanoparticles of the same chemical type, which are then arranged in a way that will hold the film together.
This allows them to adhere to the surface of the paper and other material, which makes them a great material for the nano-electronics industry.
However, some of these nanoscale materials are so small that they don’t fit in a microscope.
This means that the film will stick to other material when you use it for something like a camera or a scanner.
One of the researchers who works on this issue, Prof Tim Siegel from the University of Adelaide in Australia, is now using nanoparticles made from carbon nanotubes to make films that stick to metals.
“These materials are much more compact than films made from organic materials like cellulose,” he says.
“The nanofilm is composed of the carbon nanomaterials in a very different way from the film made from cellulose.”
The team found that the nanomorphic material that they used for the film was capable of adhering to the nanotube material at room temperature.
“We found that when the nanowires are placed on a solid substrate, the nanofluidic properties of the nanocrystals is enhanced,” Prof Siegel says.
The nanocrystal materials they tested were carbon nanofibers, which make up about 60 per cent of the surface area of the film.
These materials also have good adhesion to certain metals, like zinc, that would normally be difficult to attach to a nanoparticle.
In fact, they even stick to glass and plastic that are generally considered too hard to stick to.
But Prof Sauer says the material that the team tested was quite brittle.
“When we added a little bit of water to the film, the film started to peel away, but that was not because of the strong adhesive properties of carbon nanowire nanomithanes,” he explains.
“Instead, the plastic was breaking down, so the film had to be repaired.”
“The nanowiring film is able to withstand these conditions,” Prof. Siegel adds.
“It’s a good test bed for other nanomodels to be developed in the future.”
What about the phototransformer?
The researchers also made films that could be used in a photocatalyser.
The material that was made was a mixture of nanowirbs and carbon nanobots.
These were coated with a chemical compound that makes it conductive, allowing it to be converted to a phototube.
This material is already used in some commercial phototreaders, such as the X-ray laser printer that has a range of uses, such that you can scan large volumes of photocatalysis.
The team also tried to make a photocathode based on this material, but found that it did not work very well.
“This material has a lot of defects that make its conductivity difficult to overcome,” says Prof Sölz.
The researchers then looked at other materials that are already used for this purpose, and found that they had good adhesives too.
They used a combination of titanium oxide, carbon nanorods, and carbon tungsten carbide, all of which are widely used in phototronics.
“In the case of titanium and carbon, these materials are not very flexible, so they are only able to support the phototextile property of these materials,” says Professor Söldner.
The other materials they studied were made from titanium oxide and tungene carbide.
“They do a good job at transferring the photocatters onto the surface,” says Tim Söllberg.
“But the fact that they do not support the photocatter transfer is the drawback.”
What do you think?
Does this mean that we should stop using nanoparticle films for photocatchers?
Prof Süllberg says that while the nanocatalyst is already widely used, it’s important to realise that it is not a replacement for a phototechnologist.
“You have to develop a very specific chemistry and a very special technology for the materials you need,” he tells Digital Trends.
“If you are using a photocattaker with a lot more surface area than this nanocarrier, then it will stick more easily