ToScaLab

Total Scattering Laboratory

To.Sca.Lab.

ToScaLab

Home Research Structure and Properties of Nanomaterials

Structure and Properties of Nanomaterials


A large variety of nano-structured materials with advanced functional properties are characterized by WAXTS-DFA or by a combination of SAXS and LALS techniques. This research @ To.Sca.Lab is motivated by the challenging task either of unraveling fine structural details, multiple length scales features, dynamic behavior, or of interpreting novel functionalities. The investigated systems are prepared at both the Chemical Laboratories of the University of Insubria and other synthesis Labs, thanks to the collaborations with different research groups across Europe, each of them having strong expertise in specific classes of NanoMaterials.




R2_T3a








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Photocatalytic Activity of TiO2 NCs.

 

Whether photocatalitic activity of TiO2 NanoCrystals (anatase polymorph) has size dependence, shape dependence or a dependence on both features, has long been debated. We used nanocrystalline samples, which were prepared for smart textiles applications by the sol-gel technique in acidic or basic media, and showed that photocatalytic activity is systematically correlated to the size and shape distributions of anisotropically shaped coherent domains. A bivariate population of nanocrystals grown along two normal directions, for the first time applied within our DFA approach, enable such a quantitative structure-property correlation.




How core−shell composition and surface structure affect the magnetic properties of Iron Oxide NPs. 


Spinel iron oxide nanoparticles (NPs), such as magnetite and maghemite, have attracted a great deal of attention, from both the fundamental knowledge and the applications points of view. Indeed, at small sizes (below 50 nm) both oxides show a super-paramagnetic behavior, which is of particular interest for biomedical diagnosis (MRI) and therapy (hyperthermia), as long as size (below 10 nm) and composition and, therefore, magnetic properties, are strictly controlled. However, at these very small sizes this is still a challenging goal, since the easy oxidation of magnetite NPs (or at least of their external shell) to maghemite gives rise to a core-shell structure and many effects (compositional, structural, surface effects, and inter-particle interactions), which are difficult to disentangle, need to be quantitatively assessed with high accuracy.

Using our WAXTS-DFA approach, size-dependent core−shell magnetite−maghemite compositions and full NP size distributions were derived. The magnetite core radii in 10 nm NPs were found to well match the size of magnetic domains (derived by independent magnetic experiments) and show a clear correlation to the saturation magnetization values. The oxidized shell seems to be magnetically silent. Thanks to the high quality of synchrotron data, we were able to unravel the polycrystalline nature of the maghemite shell, whose fragmentation may help to explain its magnetic behavior.

 

Nanocomposites



SiO2 - TiO2 hybrids combining amorphous silica adsorption and nanocrystalline anatase photocatalytic properties for water-air pollution decontamination have been characterized.

 

Biomimetic nano-apatites


Citrate-controlled apatite NPs have been investigated to disclose the role of citrate in inducing the crystal platelet morphology and in controlling their growth.



 

 

 

  



























 

Photocatalytic Activity of TiO NCs.  Whether photocatalitic activity of TiO nanoCrystals (anatase polymorph) has size dependence, shape dependence or a dependence on both features, has long been debated. We used nanocrystalline samples, which were prepared for smart textiles applications by the sol-gel technique in acidic or basic media, and show that photocatalytic activity is systematically correlated to the average sizes and size distributions of anisotropically shaped coherent domains. A bivariate population of nanocrystals grown along two normal directions was applied, for the first time within our DFA approach, to enable such a structure-property correlation
 
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