Scientists of the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), together with Russian and foreign colleagues, developed samples of nickel mesoporous film structures, which have useful surface area up to 400 time greater than their solid one. Brand-new material can be used in the energy saving, chemical industry and other practical areas. The research results are published in Applied Surface Science journal.
According to Alexander Samardak, a principal investigator, an associate professor of the Computer Systems Department at the School of Natural Sciences of FEFU, the creation of magnetic porous systems is an up-and-coming field, which is yet poorly studied. The structure of nanoporous materials is similar to a conventional sponge, which can accommodate significant volumes of substance, thus the useful surface area of the sponge is much larger than its size.
"The pores we obtained are very small, 4-5 nanometers, but thanks to them the total surface area of the material is increased 400 times. These unique properties grant the wide potential application of the material. Using such materials, one can create filters for cleaning and adsorption of ultrafine magnetic particles, media for storing substances, in particular, for hydrogen engines, where fuel storage cells are needed. In the future, they may be applied in the production of solar and lithium-ion batteries, in nanoelectronics and the automotive industry," said Alexander Samardak.
The unique material is obtained via electrodeposition of nickel particles on an artificial framework of a surfactant (SAS), which gives a structure of nanotube array composed by micelles. After electrodeposition, the framework dissolves in water and leaves behind only mesoporous nickel. Scientists have determined that when using a certain concentration of surfactants (30 weight percent), the nickel frame structure does not grow randomly, but in the form of hexagonally ordered nanotubes. This unique feature was observed by high resolution transmission electron microscope operated by Dr. Alexey Ognev from FEFU. This opens up additional possibilities for this material application in the field of magnetic sensors and activators for nanoelectronics.
This study is the collaborative work of scientists from the laboratory of thin film technologies, Department of Physics of Low-Dimensional Structures of the School of Natural Sciences, FEFU, with researchers from Iran and Romania. The research process was supported by Technoline Company (Vladivostok), which provided the state-of-art equipment.
FEFU has a priority research project "Materials", where a group of talented young physicists, chemists, biologists and materials scientists cooperates. To date, scientists have made significant progress in creating new materials. Among the unique developments are cobalt and iron nanosprings obtained by scientists from the School of Natural Sciences and Korea University (Republic of Korea). Thanks to a combination of magnetic properties and the ability to maintain elasticity, they can be used to create nanorobots, nanosensors, new types of memory, agents for targeted drug delivery, and other purposes.