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BGU Researchers Create Unprecedented Nanostructures

BGU Researchers Create Unprecedented Nanostructures

November 30, 2015

Alternative Energy, Nanotechnology

The Jerusalem Post — Research on a fundamentally new and unprecedented molecular closed-cage nanostructure, produced by immensely concentrated sunlight, was published recently by a team including BGU Profs. Jeffrey Gordon and Daniel Feuermann of the Alexandre Yersin Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research.

Closed-cage nanostructures — named for their telltale carbon chains that give them a cage-like appearance — have been piquing the imaginations of scientists since their discovery in the 1980s due to the wide range of novel mechanical and electronic properties they exhibit.

Prof. Jeffrey Gordon with his solar furnace for the synthesis of novel nano-materials

Now, the research of Prof. Gordon and Feuermann has led to the successful synthesis of new nanostructures that previously could not be created in a laboratory. In this case, the two compounds synthesized were lead sulfide and tin sulfide.

This experimental success story came to fruition thanks to an advanced solar furnace designed and built by Profs. Gordon and Feuermann in their lab at BGU’s Sede Boqer Campus. Highly concentrated solar radiation proved to be the key element in creating a unique reactor conducive to the synthesis of these “misfit” nanostructures. The reactor can achieve temperatures approaching 3,000 degrees Celsius (5,432◦ F).

The team is just beginning to research what practical applications these nanostructures can have, but the possibilities are many. The compounds, for example, are known to have unique abilities in the absorption of visible light, which could spawn applications in photo-catalysis and photo-detection when the compounds are synthesized in bulk.

With a rich spectrum of nanostructures now open to being identified and synthesized, this groundbreaking research could have far reaching effects on the future of the field of nanotechnology and how it can improve our lives.

Prof. Reshef Tenne of the Weizmann Institute of Science and Dr. Andrey Enyashin of the Ural Federal University in Russia contributed to the research, which was highlighted in the latest issues of one of the foremost journals in nanotechnology, ACS Nano.

Read more on The Jerusalem Post website >>