Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

The Control of Shape, Size, and Reactivity of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorKaufmann Elton
InstitutionArgonne National Laboratory
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsSubstantial
Class of NanomaterialEngineered Nanomaterials
Impact SectorCross-cutting
Broad Research Categories Control
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$615,000.00
Annual Funding$123,000.00
Funding SourceDOE
Funding MechanismIntramural
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2002
Anticipated End Year2007


Conventional nanoparticle synthesis employs stabilizing agents to prevent particle growth and aggregation, which alters nanoparticle surfaces in an uncontrollable way. We will develop new methods to manipulate the shape and size of metal oxide nanoparticles to control their properties. The project is based on a new approach to synthesis that does not require stabilizing agents, and therefore allows systematic variation of the surface environment. The synthetic studies will be aided by state-of-the-art quantum chemical studies on the stabilities of different nanoparticle shapes, the effects of different surface terminations, and the chemical potential of the constituents. The work will lead to new capabilities in tailoring the shape, size, and reactivity of metal oxide nanoparticles. This project will result in (1) development of highly anisotropic inorganic nanocrystals; (2) synthesis and characterization of anatase nanoparticles with orientation-dependent surface modifications; (3) electronic structure calculations of various ligands at the nanocrystal surfaces to guide selection of chelating agents; (4) evaluation of resulting nanoparticles for their optical and charge transfer properties to assess their potential for photochemical applications; (5) elucidation of the mechanisms of nanoparticle shape and size modification to achieve full control of the synthesis process; (6) synthesis of metal oxide nanorods and nanowires via surface-specific dissolution and coalescence of surface-modified nanoparticles. This project is tied to DOE’s mission in science. Nanoparticles hold great promise for photochemical energy conversion, catalysis, and electronics. The ability to systematically manipulate the shape and size of metal oxide nanoparticles could lead to a major scientific breakthrough in control of their chemical, electrical, and optical properties.