Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Surface-Modified, Exfoliated Nanoplatelets as Mesomorphic Structures in Solutions and Polymeric Matrices", for Approval
The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This disclosure relates to nanocomposite comprising modified nanoplatelet materials, and more specifically to a method to prepare nanomaterial that self-assembles into mesomorphic structures in organic continuous phase.
"Generally, nanoparticle and nanomaterials research has been focused on the development of nanotubes, especially carbon nanotubes, for incorporation in commercial applications. However, other species of nanoparticles including nanoplatelets that have begun to attract additional interest for research, development and the production of commercial materials. Nanoplatelets are planar, having at least one dimension that is smaller than 100 nanometers (nm). Exemplary nanoplatelets include inorganic crystalline materials and derivatives thereof. More particularly, .alpha.-Zirconium phosphate (.alpha.-ZrP) has a layered crystalline structure and functions as an ion exchanger. .alpha.-ZrP has been studied as a potential material for catalysts, drug delivery agents, proton conductors, and nanofillers, among other uses. Thus, .alpha.-ZrP serves as a model for other materials such as silicates, phosphates, metal oxides, and hydroxides because, these materials also exist as layered crystalline structures and chemical modifications using amines may be applicable with these alternative materials.
"Iridescence has been observed in solutions of surfactant molecules and inorganic nanoplatelets in the presence of highly ordered mesophases. Bragg reflection in the visible wavelengths occurs as surfactant bilayers or inorganic nanoplatelets form periodic smectic or lamellar structures having interlamellar spacings on the order of 200 nm and is perceived as iridescence. The occurrence of iridescence is an indication that light is interacting with a material due to its photonic structure. The ability to assemble photonic structures out of nanoplatelets gives rise to the potential of coupling their intrinsic properties with the interaction of light. Other inorganic nanoplatelets form mesomorphic smectic phases in aqueous dispersions have been noted. This was first observed in H.sub.3Sb.sub.3P.sub.2O.sub.14 nanosheets and iridescence appears as water swelled the solid gel of this material with increased interlamellar spacing. The iridescence color-shifted from blue to red as more water molecules inserted between the nanoplatelets, thereby reducing the concentration of the nanoplatelets. However, aqueous dispersions prevent hydrophobic or other water-sensitive chemical modifications.
"Generally, organic solvents have applications in industrial processes that are widespread and economical. Thus, the ability to assemble photonic structures of nanoplatelets in organic solvents has low-cost, commercially attractive properties. Colors created by photonic structures do not fade under exposure to sunlight, unlike dye-based colors. Commercially viable, non-aqueous alternative protocols and nanomaterials have not been developed to date."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "This disclosure relates to nanocomposite comprising a continuous organic phase and modified nanomaterials that self-assemble into mesomorphic structures therein. More specifically, the resulting dispersion of modified nanoplatelets in the organic phase exhibit iridescence throughout the visible spectrum, which is tunable by varying the concentration of modified nanoplatelets. The resulting nanocomposite of such modified nanoplatelets exhibits certain gas barrier properties with consistent performance at high and low humidity conditions. This disclosure also relates to a method of spray-coating to manufacture nanocomposite films contain said nanoplatelets. Further, there is a method to produce oligomer-modified nanoplatelets using polyether monoamine to achieve mesomorphic structures in said organic phase. Generally, the method comprises the modification of the nanoplatelets by polyether monoamine to achieve dispersibility in organic solvent(s), the self-assembly of mesomorphic structures, and the incorporation of the mesomorphic structures in said organic phase. Also, the mesomorphic structures are nematic and smectic arrangements of nanoplatelets.
"Further, the methods herein may provide oligomer-modified nanoplatelets that self-assemble into mesomorphic structures in said organic that exhibit Bragg reflections in the visible wavelengths, which is defined as the wavelengths of light from 390 nm to 750 nm. The disclosure herein illustrates a nanocomposite comprising of nanoplatelets assembled into mesomorphic structures that exhibit certain gas barrier properties, and consistent performance at high and low humidity levels. Likewise, a method of manufacturing a nanocomposite film comprising of nanoplatelets assembled into mesomorphic structures through the use of the spray-coating process is discussed herein.
"Nanocomposites and a method of manufacturing the nanocomposites having nanoplatelets modified with oligomeric and polymeric species. The nanoplatelets are capable of forming mesomorphic structures in solutions and polymeric matrices. The mesomorphic structures are highly ordered nematic or smectic arrangements of nanoplatelets. The mesomorphic structures can exhibit tunable properties such as Bragg reflection of light including wavelengths in the visible range depending on the d-spacing. The mesomorphic structures can also be included in a polymeric matrix to form a nanocomposite with greatly improved barrier properties and mechanical properties. This disclosure also relates to the method of applying this nanocomposite onto a substrate via spray-coating to form a barrier film and other applications.
"Thus, embodiments described herein comprise a combination of features and advantages intended to address various shortcomings associated with certain prior devices. The various characteristics described above, as well as other features, will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, and by referring to the accompanying drawings."
For additional information on this patent application, see: Sue, Hung-Jue; Wong, Minhao;
Keywords for this news article include: Emerging Technologies,
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