BRISTOL, England, April 14 (UPI) — British scientists say they have developed a method that might make it easier for manufacturers to recover, recycle and reuse nanoparticles.
The researchers, led by Professor Julian Eastoe of the University of Bristol, said their technique could speed application of nanotechnology in new generations of solar cells, flexible electronic displays and other products.
Eastoe said scientists have been seeking better ways to recover and reuse tiny nanoparticles, but recovering and recycling nanoparticles is especially difficult because they tend to form complex, hard-to-separate mixtures with other substances.
The researchers said they developed a special type of microemulsion — a mixture of oil and water — that might solve the problem. In laboratory tests using cadmium and zinc nanoparticles, they showed how the oil and water in the microemulsion separated into two layers when heated.
One layer contained nanoparticles that could be recovered and the other contained none. The separation process is reversible and the recovered particles retain their shape and chemical properties, which is crucial for their reuse, the scientists said.
The research appears in the American Chemical Society journal Langmuir.
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