A group led by University of Minnesota Twin Cities researchers has found a groundbreaking one-step procedure for creating materials with special residential or commercial properties, called metamaterials. Their results reveal the realistic possibility of developing similar self-assembled structures with the potential of creating “built-to-order” nanostructures for wide application in electronic devices and optical gadgets.
The research study was released and included on the cover of Nano Letters, a peer-reviewed clinical journal published by the American Chemical Society.
In basic, metamaterials are products made in the lab to supply specific physical, chemical, electrical, and optical properties otherwise impossible to find in naturally occurring materials. These materials can have special residential or commercial properties which make them perfect for a variety of applications from optical filters and medical gadgets to aircraft soundproofing and infrastructure monitoring. Usually these nano-scale products are fastidiously produced in a specialized clean space environment over days and weeks in a multi-step fabrication procedure.
In this new research, a University of Minnesota team was studying a thin-film product called strontium stannate or SrSnO3. During their research study, they saw the unexpected development of checkerboard patterns at the nano scale comparable to the metamaterial structures made in the pricey, multistep process.
” At first we thought this should be a mistake, but quickly understood that the routine pattern is a mixture of two stages of the same material with different crystal structures” said Bharat Jalan, the senior author of the research study and an expert in material synthesis who is the Shell Chair in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. “After consulting with associates at the University of Minnesota, University of Georgia, and City University of New York City, we realized that we may have discovered something rather unique that can possibly have some special applications.”
The material had spontaneously arranged into a purchased structure as it altered from one stage to another. During what is called a “first-order structural stage transition” procedure, the material moved into a mixed-phase in which some parts of the system completed the shift and others did not.
” These nanoscale periodic patterns are the direct repercussion of the first-order structural stage shift in this product,” said University of Minnesota aerospace engineering and mechanics Professor Richard James, a co-author of the study and a Differentiated McKnight University Teacher. “For the first time, our work allows a host of possibilities for making use of reversible structural stage improvements with nanoelectronic and photonic systems.”
In reality, the team demonstrated a process for the first-ever, self-assembled, tunable nanostructure to create metamaterials in simply one action.
Using high-resolution electron microscopic lens, the researchers confirmed the distinct structure of the product.
” We observed that the borders in between these crystallographic phases were greatly specified at the atomic scale, which is amazing for a self-assembled procedure,” stated Professor Andre Mkhoyan, a co-author of the research study, a specialist in sophisticated electron microscopy, and the Ray D. and Mary T. Johnson/Mayon Plastics Chair in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Products Science at the University of Minnesota.
The researchers are now aiming to future applications for their discovery in optical and electronic gadgets.
” When we started this research study, we never ever considered these applications. We were driven by the fundamental study of the physics of the material,” Jalan said. “Now, all of a sudden, we seem to have opened an entirely new location of research, which is driven by the possibility of numerous new and interesting applications.”
Recommendation: “Self-Assembled Periodic Nanostructures Using Martensitic Stage Improvements” by Abhinav Prakash, Tianqi Wang, Ashley Bucsek, Tristan K. Truttmann, Alireza Fali, Michele Cotrufo, Hwanhui Yun, Jong-Woo Kim, Philip J. Ryan, K. Andre Mkhoyan, Andrea Alù, Yohannes Abate, Richard D. James and Bharat Jalan, 2 December 2020, Nano Letters
DOI: 10.1021/ acs.nanolett.0 c03708
In addition to Jalan, the team included University of Minnesota researchers Abhinav Prakash, Ashley Bucsek, Tianqi Wang, Tristan K. Truttmann, Hwanhui Yun, K. Andre Mkhoyan, and Richard James; University of Georgia scientists Alireza Fali and Yohannes Abate; City University of New York scientists Michele Cotrufo and Andrea Alù; and Argonne National Laboratory researchers Jong-Woo Kim and Philip J. Ryan.
The research was primarily moneyed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Air Force Workplace of Scientific Research (AFOSR) with additional support from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, Norwegian Centennial Chair Program, and two Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowships. Parts of the research were carried out at the Minnesota Nano Center and Characterization Center at the University of Minnesota, moneyed in part by the National Science Foundation.