Case Number 101070 - Synthesis of Silica Nano and Microstructures Under Economical Conditions
Contact: Doug Nienaber
Description: The synthesis and characterization of nanometer and micrometer-scale silicon structures is currently of great interest. Such materials have tremendous potential application in the fields of optroelectronics, nano-composites, ceramics, rubber technology, and biomedical materials, in addition to displaying great promise in applications involving catalysis and chemical separations.
Traditional techniques for the synthesis of these structures involve extremes of pH and high temperature, along with associated long preparation and reaction times, thereby rendering the process impracticable for continuous, versus batch, manufacturing.
We have discovered a technique for controlled synthesis of silicon nano and microstructures at neutral pH and ambient conditions.
The new technique promises significant cost savings in the industrial setting through the employment of process equipment at neutral pH and ambient temperature. The silica can be produced as discrete particles ranging from ~ 100 nm – 10 ìm with fair control over size.
The new process exhibits dramatic reduction in the time required for synthesis (5 to 20 minutes), thus promising additional economy in the large-scale preparation of these materials. This method also gives morphologies previously not reported for silica based materials.
Compared to conventional techniques, the manufacturing method is environmentally benign and qualifies as a “green technology.”
The process is flexible and allows for control over product size and morphology.