Behavior of materials in nanoscale confinement


               How small is too small?

Various properties of macroscopic materials are primarily defined by the behavior within the bulk. As the sizes of objects approach nanometer scale, behavior of surface and interface becomes increasingly dominant over bulk terms. In addition to studying detailed structure and other properties of materials in nanoscale confinement, we also aim to learn how to manipulate various phases of matter into the confinement matrix.



Recent experiments include manipulation of nanoparticles confined within nanoporous alimina samples through capillary condensation of solvent, studies of discontinuous filling transition and structure of metallic nanowire arrays that are just a few nm thick.



We use octane-thiol stabilized Au-core nanocrystals with the diameter ranging from 2 nm to 10nm. We are also experimenting with magnetic nanoparticles.

For more TEM images see this gallery.



We are using nanoporous anodized alumina samples which produce a dense matrix of well oriented porous channels in aluminum oxide membrane, which are relatively transparent to hard x-ray beams.

The nanoporous samples can also form well-ordered hexagonal honeycomb-like structures:


We use square-wave profile groves, forming micro- and nano-sized channels to study the effects of lateral confinement on the capillary surface fluctuations in liquids.