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A microwave-assisted process makes nanoparticles underwater

By Tetsuo Satoh |

Professor Tetsu Yonezawa at the Materials Science Div. of Hokkaido University (Sapporo; labs.eng.hokudai.ac.jp/labo/limsa/english/), in collaboration with Arios, Inc. (Akishima; www.arios.co.jp) and Suga (Hokuto, all Japan; www.suga.ne.jp), has developed a microwave-assisted device that can continuously generate a plasma under water. In the laboratory, Yonezawa has shown that underwater plasma can be used to synthesize various metallic nanoparticles, without the need for large devices such as a vacuum degasifier. Potential applications for the technology include the production of metal-supported catalyst and for performing organic reactions. The plasma is generated by focusing microwaves through a tube onto an electrode chip submerged in water, which induces hot spots that cause sputtering of the metal substrate from the electrode. Only 1.5 kW of electric power — about twice that of a common household microwave oven — is required to create the plasma needed for the synthesis. As a result, the researchers believe the process is expected to cut plasma-generation costs to one third to one fifth of that needed by conventional high-pressure, pulsed-high-voltage plasma generators.   Click here for a full pdf version of the…
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