A new scientific breakthrough at SDM could change the manufacturing industry

The research into self-repairing nanoparticles was supported by a Multi-disciplinary University...
The research into self-repairing nanoparticles was supported by a Multi-disciplinary University Research Initiative grant through the Office of Naval Research. Along with a collaboration with scientists at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Michigan.(Humberto Giles-Sanchez)
Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 11:43 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - It’s a scientific breakthrough so big it could change the manufacturing field, but so small it can’t be seen.

That breakthrough happened at South Dakota Mines where nanoscience and biomedical engineer assistant professor Dr. Shan Zhou and his team at South Dakota Mines have been working on a new technology involving nanoparticles.

“So, for example, how can we control the uniformity of the chirality within the metamaterials, how can we further scale up the self-assembly structure to make them into larger applications?” said Zhou “For example, how can we make those structures into an airplane that we can potentially use.”

Not only do the particles carry the potential to be used for aircraft but they could also be used for other machines such as cars.

“This means that it can be used in future machine innovation because chirality can be a way for an automatic vehicle to perceive depth,” said Zhou.

These nanoparticles also carry the potential to help with manufacturing.

“If we need something for example that has large holes for filtration processes or certain types of manufacturing purposes we can reconfigure them to demonstrate large holes in the structure,” said Zhou “But if we want them to be less porous, we can recraft the chemistry and they can reconfigure the structure.”

If you think this discovery sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, Zhou agrees.

“They can reconfigure themselves after a disturbance. That basically means if the position of the structure changes in the array, the particles can come back to their original state. Kind of like the concept in Sci-Fi movies,” said Zhou.

Zhou’s lab is dedicated to finding the capabilities for nanoparticles and molecules in order to find new solutions in the clean energy and biomedicine fields.

If you are interested in learning more about Zhou’s nanoparticle research, you can head over to the Nature journal website. You can also find out more about the research by heading to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign website.