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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Nanotechnology Researchers Create Pico Organic Composites

April 1, 2004

Researchers at Nanotechnology Research & Teaching Facility on the campus of The University of Texas at Arlington are reporting early and encouraging results in their quest to develop even more unusual combinations of small particles of organic materials.

The latest project, under the direction of Materials Science and Engineering Professor Jorge de Gallo, involves the sectioning and reintegration of commonly available organic materials. De Gallo’s team and others have accomplished similar procedures earlier, but the new composites created at UTA will consist of even smaller particles. “We’re used to working with nano-sized structures here in UTA’s nanotech facility, but this time we’re going for pico,” de Gallo said.

The team is using special electronic “knives” to break the ionic bonds of various materials, coded “red,” “green” and “white,” into small particles. Researchers then combine the particles according to critical formulas, occasionally adding sodium chloride as a catalyst to create the reaction of an acid with a base, known as a neutralization reaction. Depending on the final use of the composite, other materials may be added to enhance or subtract from the strength of the recombinant mixture.

Professor de Gallo expects great things for his team’s creations. “It’s not often that researchers can immediately savor the results from their work,” said de Gallo. “This is one pleasing example of how we’re serving mankind through continuing basic experimentation. When the chips are down, engineering researchers dig in and work things through for a satisfying finish.”

The team will celebrate their early results at a gathering at Professor de Gallo’s home later this week. He has announced that other organic materials – liquids created from fermented field grains and solids from super-heated, compressed corn – will be available for testing at the event.

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