SBIR Phase I: Synthesis of Metal and Metal Alloy Nanoparticles

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
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Small Business Information
1431 Oakcrest Ln., Provo, UT, 84604
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Lynn Astle
(801) 367-7085
Business Contact:
Lynn Astle
(801) 367-7085
Research Institution:
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project addresses the development of a novel solid-state method of synthesizing metal and metal alloy nanoparticles. A method has been developed for metal oxide and mixed metal oxide nanoparticles which can now be extended to the synthesis of metal and metal alloy nanoparticles. This approach will be very low cost and environmentally friendly and will produce high quality nanoparticles of any metal or alloy of any number of metals in exact stoichiometric proportions. The method simply involves mixing common dry chemical starting materials and baking the resulting precursor material at modest temperatures (e.g., 300ýýC) for approximately one hour. If the baking step is performed in the ambient atmosphere, metal oxides are formed; however, if a reducing environment is employed at somewhat higher temperatures, metal nanoparticles are formed. In initial experiments, the metal particles are rather large, 30-50nm as compared to 2-10nm for the oxides, and there is oxide contamination. This project focuses on developing the method to produce small, pure metal and metal alloy nanoparticles. The broader impacts/commercial potential of this project is to develop a nanoparticle synthesis that does not use solvents which would result in a process that is economical and has better enivironmental impact than current processes. This process could have major impact to the fields of catalysis, batteries, and fuel cells. The European Commission published a comprehensive report on nanotechnology which predicted that the nanomaterials market is going to reach 300 billion Euros by 2015. If this forecast is accurate, manufacturing of nanoparticles is going to be required on a scale equivalent to many of our largest current industries. Because the market is still in its very early stages of development, this industry has an opportunity to adopt intelligent methods before more energy consumptive and polluting approaches become entrenched as industry standards. Current methods for making nanoparticles suffer from heavy energy consumption, large amounts of waste, and/or purification problems. The Cosmas synthetic method has the potential to become the method of choice for supplying novel metal and alloy materials for hundreds of low to high technology applications because it will be low cost, environmentally friendly and will yield nanoparticles which can meet virtually any product specification.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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