Paul Dunk, a chemist in the MagLab's Ion Cyclotron Resonance Facility, has published a paper on so-called "nanocages" formed by combining graphite, a two-dimensional form of carbon, with different metals. The research, Transformation of doped graphite into cluster-encapsulated fullerene cages, appeared this week in Nature Communications.
For the research, Dunk and his collaborators created metallofullerenes, molecules that consist of a ball-like carbon structure that encompasses several atoms inside of it — hence the term "nanocage."
Dunk and his colleagues tested theories of how these compounds form by looking for hypothesized intermediate molecules between the original reactants and end products. They demonstrated that, unlike what many scientists believed, the cages do not shrink from or break off of larger globs of carbon, but rather nucleate around the metal, carbon atom by carbon atom.
The findings could help in the future development of nanocage-related technologies ranging from new light-based electronics to molecular electronics.
Dunk's research was done in collaboration with scientists at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain and the University of Texas at El Paso.
Read more about this research in the MagLab's fields magazine.
Image of nanocages by Paul Dunk/Caroline McNiel.
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MagLab-affiliated researcher and FAMU-FSU College of Engineering faculty member Subramanian Ramakrishnan has received a prestigious Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) grant from the National Science Foundation.
The five-year, $4.9 million grant will establish the Center for Complex Materials Design for Multidimensional Additive Processing (known as the CoManD Center). This new center will tap into expertise of researchers at Florida A&M Univeristy (FAMU), the College of Engineering and the National MagLab to advance manufacturing at the micrometer scale for biological, aerospace and energy applications.
In association with the National MagLab, Ramakrishnan will direct the center’s first project, which focuses on developing nanostructured lightweight materials for shielding and sensing applications. Industrial Engineering Professor Tarik Dickens will direct the center’s second subproject, which will consist of developing materials/devices for energy applications in association with the High Performance Materials Institute. Pharmaceutics Professor Mandip Singh Sachdeva will direct the center’s third subproject, which includes developing materials/devices for biological applications such as a 3D printed tumor biosystem on a chip.
"The uniqueness of this award is the synergy between universities, national labs and defense labs," Ramakrishnan explained.
In addition to research, the grant will help support undergraduate courses based on the fundamentals of self-assembly, nanoparticle synthesis and characterization, additive manufacturing, nanomaterials in biology, and nanoparticles in medicine. The courses will be developed and offered to FAMU students. Also, a laboratory course in materials will be offered to graduate and undergraduate students involved in materials research. The center will work to produce 15 doctorate students, directly impact 40 undergraduates, and influence 100 graduate students and 300 additional undergraduates through collaborations and coursework.
Story by Kristin Roberts.
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