Trinity Scientists Discover Method to ‘Grow’ Nano-wires from Common Table Salt
Aug 27, 2013
Researchers from the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin, have discovered for the first time that tiny nano-wires can be ‘grown’ from common table salt (sodium chloride).
The researchers demonstrated that you can use chemical procedures to generate soft material in a gel form, named a supramolecular polymeric gel, which can then be used as a ‘garden’ or a platform for growing new structures.
Speaking about the significance of this discovery, lead author, Professor Thorri Gunnlaugsson of the Trinity Biomedical Science Institute said, “Whereas conducting wires are of enormous importance in the development of next generation electronic devices, our ionic nano-wires may well create opportunities for the development of novel ion-bridges in electrochemical and biological cells. Moreover, the possibility to grow such materials and possibly harvest them in the future could have a major role in future technologies.”
The growth of proteins and organic structures from gel templates has been established in the past, for example for the pharmaceutical sector. These materials have been used to generate crystals of controlled size and form for use, for example, in X-ray crystallography.
Professor Gunnlaugsson continued, “The application of this process in growing wires has yet to be demonstrated which makes this a very exciting discovery, opening up a new avenue of research for our researchers and others.”
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