Dispersion and Shear Alignment of Nanostructured Materials

Kyle Taylor, Virginia Davis, Dhriti Nepal, Khristine Pizarro, and Shanthi Murali. Chemical Engineering, Auburn University, 212,Ross Hall, Auburn, AL 36849

Significant research is being conducted into the alignment of inorganic and organic nanorods due to their excellent thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties. A common method used for the alignment of nanoscale structures is through their dispersion in a solvent followed by a shear alignment. The stability of the dispersion is based on the intermolecular interactions between the solvent and the nanorods and therefore an understanding of the surface chemistry and their inter-rod attractive forces will improve the dispersion quality as well as the quantity of rods dispersed.

This work illustrates the means of analysis and characterization of organic and inorganic nanorods. Specifically, silicon nitride nanorods, silver nanorods, and single-walled carbon nanotubes were studied in this work. Upon dispersion of carbon nanotubes in biological aqueous solutions of DNA and lysozyme, the solutions were then used in a layer-by-layer assembly of films on slides. These dispersed solutions were characterized using X-Ray Diffraction, FTIR, UV-Visible spectroscopy, TEM, SEM, and optical microscopy. The films created were analyzed using SEM and ellipsometry.

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