Researchers open new possibilities for characterizing nanoparticle interactions
Posted onDecember 27, 2013
Molecules anchored to the surfaces of nanoparticles modify and even control many characteristics of the particles, including how they interact with cells or react to light. The type of binding affects the nanoparticle’s behavior and interaction with surrounding particles, atoms and molecules. Unfortunately, methods to directly study the surface bonding at a nanoparticle solid/liquid interface have been elusive, as the interface is usually not accessible by most existing techniques. Researchers at EMSL took advantage of advanced instrumental capabilities, a specially designed experimental cell and theoretical modeling to successfully deduce the how molecules of carboxylic acid– a common organic acid found in nature – bind to ceria nanoparticle surfaces.
Because of this research, the scientific community now has a new and potentially powerful way to characterize the interactions of nanoparticles with molecules in a range of environments, possibly extending to their behaviors in living cells. As such “hidden” interfaces are common in nature and in our bodies, characterizing and understanding the structure and interactions where liquids and solids meet can accelerate design of new molecules to solve problems in medicine, environmental remediation, climate studies, biofuels, catalysts and energy storage.