HomeEducationGraduate and Undergraduate ProgramsResearch Experience for Undergraduates (REU)REU 2016 ProjectsLarge-Scale Separation of Colloidal Nanoparticles

Large-Scale Separation of Colloidal Nanoparticles


Professor: Tobias Hanrath
Project Description: Recent interest in commercializing nanoparticles (NPs) for a broad range of applications, e.g. displays and solid-state lighting, has intensified the demand to scale-up NP synthesis from scientific discovery to engineered technology. However, scalable separation techniques are key technological bottleneck. Conventional techniques (e.g. centrifuging) are not scalable at kg quantity nor with continuous flow processes. Thus, novel continuous separation methods (e.g. electrophoretic deposition) are essential demand.

Our lab together with the Robinson lab in Materials Science seeks enable large-scale separation of nanoparticle using electrophoretic deposition (see schematic below). The process involved using a applied electric potential to separate the nanoparticles from their reaction environment (e.g. solvent, reagents), and collect them on an electrode. The key scientific questions that we seek to answer are what is the effect of 1) the applied voltage strength, 2) additives, and 3) the electrode configuration on nanoparticle separation quality? Understanding the fundamental principles that govern the electrophoretic separation of nanoparticle is an essential step toward developing more effective NP separation at commercial-scales.

Tobias Hanrath


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