Advanced Photon Source

An Office of Science National User Facility

Chemical and Materials Science: Research Highlights

Research Highlights

light DNA nanoparticle crystalsControl of Light with DNA-Nanoparticle Crystals

April 13, 2015

DNA enables one to precisely place nanoparticles into periodic structures (called “superlattices”) in two or three dimensions as either large films or near-perfect single crystals. By constructing the superlattices from gold nanoparticles, a Northwestern University research group, carrying out studies at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source (APS), reported in Nature Nanotechnology that they can precisely control how light flows though and interacts with these materials.

Layered Nanostructure DNALayered Nanostructure Held Together by DNA

March 18, 2014

Dreaming up nanostructures that have desirable optical, electronic, or magnetic properties is one thing. Figuring out how to make them is another. A new strategy uses the binding properties of complementary strands of DNA to attach nanoparticles to each other and builds up a layered thin-film nanostructure through a series of controlled steps. Investigation at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Advanced Photon Source has revealed the precise form that the structures adopted, and points to ways of exercising still greater control over the final arrangement.

water soft nanoparticles suspensionsWater-Like Properties of Soft Nanoparticle Suspensions

November 25, 2013

This discovery, which is the first instance of experimental observation of such behavior in a colloidal suspension, allows for an extension of the toolbox of the experimental physicist interested in employing suspensions to mimic molecular liquids, with the added advantage of readily accessible length and time scales.

A Novel Nanobio Catalyst for Biofuels

A Novel Nanobio Catalyst for Biofuels

August 27, 2012

Researchers working at U.S. Department of Energy facilities at Argonne National Laboratory including the Advanced Photon Source, have synthesized and characterized monodisperse gold-core silver-shell nanoparticles using a bio-template that has potential as a water soluble catalyst for creating fuel from biomass such as dead trees, branches and tree stumps, yard clippings, wood chips, and even municipal solid waste

Tuning the Collective Properties of Artificial Nanoparticle Supercrystals

Tuning the Collective Properties of Artificial Nanoparticle Supercrystals

February 15, 2011

Precise ordering in two-dimensional and three-dimensional superlattices formed by the self-assembly of individual nanocrystals (NCs) allows for control of the magnetic, optical, and electronic coupling between the individual NCs. This control can lead to useful collective properties that have many potential applications in solar cells, field-effect transistors, light-emitting devices, photodetectors, and photoconductors.

Velcro for NanoparticlesVelcro for Nanoparticles

November 17, 2010

DNA can do more than direct how bodies are made. It can also direct the composition of many kinds of materials, according to a new study from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne.

Better Switching Through Chemistry in Thin Ferroelectrics

Better Switching Through Chemistry in Thin Ferroelectrics

February 24, 2009

Because the atomic structure and polarity of ferroelectric materials respond dramatically to an applied electric field, they have found many applications. But what if there were another way to make ferroelectric materials do their thing—not electrically, but through another mechanism? Experimenters using an x-ray beamline at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source have managed to do just that, proving that not just electricity but also a little bit of chemistry can flip the structure and thus the polarity of a ferroelectric.

Assembling Nanoparticles the Easy DNA-WayAssembling Nanoparticles the Easy DNA-Way

February 26, 2008

Researchers from Northwestern University and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have produced a system that can be used to guide the assembly of colloidal crystals—a material widely used in photonics and electronics among other areas. Their results appeared as the cover article in Nature magazine.