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Advanced facility accelerates commercial development of nanoscale materials

By Scott Jenkins |

Flame-spray pyrolysis (FSP) is a type of aerosol synthesis in which solid particles condense from the vapor phase after the combustion of droplets of solution. FSP has been used to produce industrially important nanoscale solids, such as fumed silica, alloy powders, metallic oxides, carbon black and others. However, FSP is limited practically to systems of one atom type because processes can only be optimized for a single crystal phase. “The more atomic species that are involved, the more complex and difficult it is to get the exact crystal structure sought after in flame condensation process,” says Joe Libera, a research leader at Argonne National Laboratory (Lemont, Ill.; www.anl.gov). Libera and colleagues at Argonne’s Combustion Synthesis Research Facility have developed an FSP system that employs an array of instrumentation to gain insight into how solid particles form during the FSP process. “In FSP, the condensation of solids happens very quickly and over short distances,” Libera says, “so characterizing how that occurs allows us to begin to control the properties of the resulting materials,” including crystallinity, particle size and shape, surface area, dopant concentration and others. The researchers are building…
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