Zhiyong Gu, Chemical Engineering
The objective of this project is to design and fabricate a novel kind of nanocomposite materials, nanowire-colloidal composite particles, using self-assembly and emulsion polymerization. The fabricated composite particles have both metallic nanowires and colloidal particles such as polystyrene, which will have novel and distinguished thermal and electrical properties that cannot be normally obtained by other processes. The key techniques being used in the fabrication process have been well established in the macro- and micro-scale so they can be easily scaled up. The utilization of self-assembly concept during fabrication process can efficiently incorporate nanoscale building blocks (nanowires) onto colloidal particles with well controlled structures, which is of scientific importance and has great relevance for nanomanufacturing. The fabrication process is time efficient and low cost, and very large scale composite particles can be fabricated simultaneous in the same steps. These novel nanowire-colloidal composite particles have great potential in applications such as thermal coatings, paints, inks, papers, adhesives, thin films, novel sensing materials, and hybrid emulsions for imaging or drug deliveries.