The emerging fields of nanoscience and nanoengineering are leading to unprecedented understanding and control over the fundamental building blocks of all physical things. This is likely to change the way almost everything—from vaccines to computers to automobile tires to objects not yet imagined—is designed and made. It is anticipated that a new world of industrial products valued at $1trillion/yr and, at least, 2 million nanotech workers would emerge in 10-15yrs. In order to be part of this exciting ‘Nano world’, CAMD has established nanofabrication facility, taking advantage of the well established infrastructure for microfabrication and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. The core competency of the ‘nanofabrication’ research group is to synthesize variety of nanoparticles, characterize them using X-ray absorption spectroscopy and utilize them to fabricate devices for biomedical applications.
A wet chemical laboratory was commissioned to synthesize metallic mono, bi and core-shell metallic/polymer nanoparticles using techniques such as reverse micelle, sonochemical and surfactant mediated classical reduction. The facility utilizes in-house X-ray absorption spectroscopic techniques for characterization of nanoparticles. EXAFS ( X-ray Absorption Fine Structure) and XANES ( X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure) are unique tools and are being used to determine electronic and geometric structures of metallic nanosystems, where the absence of long range order makes standard techniques such as X-Ray Diffraction less reliable. Utilizing appropriate nanoparticles, functional micro/nano devices are being fabricated using well established LIGA technique. The motto of the facility is fostering interdisciplinary research. Researchers/students working in the facility would be exposed to variety of techniques in nanotechnology, organic chemistry, bio-chemistry, polymer science, material science, X-absorption spectroscopy and micro fabrication. The facility has active collaborations with departments of chemistry, physics, biological sciences, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering of Louisinana State University (Baton Rouge), Pennington Biomedical Research Center (Baton Rouge), Advanced Materials Research Institute ( New Orleans ), Institute of Physics (Bonn, Germany) Max-Planck Institute for Kohlenforschung (Mulheim, Germany), Duke University's Center for Molecular and Biomolecular Imaging, and Virginia Tech Nano-Neuro Science Research Laboratory. CAMD’s nanomaterials program received a boost by being part of Center for Atomic-level Catalyst Design (CALC-D), a new research center established to do Energy Research at LSU supported by the Department of Energy with a $12.5 million grant. The group is developing tools for synthesis of atomically precise catalysts for green energy processes. In addition the facility is also part of a NIH grant along with Duke university to study peptide bound magnetic nanomaterials as contrast agents for MRI of metastatic tumor cells.
The nanofabrication facility has recently demonstrated the potential of using a microreactor for measuring time resolved in situ XAS spectra with unprecedented time resolution by monitoring the synthesis of nanoparticles using a wet-chemical reaction. This technique can not only be used for monitoring the synthesis of nanoparticles but also for all other types of wet chemical synthesis reactions.
Nano Fabrication Facility is also geared up for active collaboration with industry and those interested may contact CAMD management. The facility can provide stable Pd, Pt, Co, Rh, Ru, magnetite, bimetallic alloy or core-shell nanoclusters, compatible with nonpolar as well as polar solvent systems, for research purposes to interested customers.
Researchers/students are encouraged to use the facility after obtaining approval by the CAMD management and training in safety & laboratory procedures.