CAREER: Low-Temperature Solution Synthesis Of Intermetallic Nanomaterials

Project: Research project

Project Details



The goal of this program is to synthesize intermetallic compounds of the late transition metals that exhibit a wide variety of important physical properties that place them at the forefront of modern science and technology. The project focuses on understanding how intermetallics can be formed using chemical methods that work at much lower temperatures, typically 100 to 550 degrees. This temperature regime (a) is more energy efficient, (b) can form new structures that are not stable at high temperatures, and (c) can provide insight into how the solids form. Because solid-solid diffusion is the rate-limiting step in the synthesis of intermetallic compounds, this project will combine concepts and techniques from solid-state chemistry, solution chemistry, and nanoscience to develop and explore low-temperature synthesis approaches that overcome diffusion problems. This will lead to (a) a diverse toolbox of new chemical reactions, (b) functional new nanomaterials that cannot be made using traditional methods, and (c) an understanding of the formation mechanisms and reactivity of nanocrystalline intermetallics. Graduate and undergraduate students will be trained in both solid-state and solution chemistry techniques as part of this cross-disciplinary project. To integrate research and education, a new research-driven course in inorganic materials chemistry will be developed, and it will contain both classroom and laboratory components and be accessible to graduate and undergraduate students from all materials-relevant science and engineering majors. In addition, a summer fellowship will be established to allow students from traditionally underrepresented groups to participate in this modern solid-state chemistry project.


Technology feeds off of solid-state materials, and the prerequisite to new technologies is the synthesis and creation of new materials. Some of the most important technological materials are intermetallics, which are chemical compounds that form from combinations of metallic elements. These synthetic methods also yield nanometer-size particles, which are important building blocks for creating thin films, composites, and porous materials for possible applications as fuel cells, batteries, and information storage devices. This project provides cross-disciplinary training for undergraduate and graduate students in modern and traditional areas. It also involves the creation of a new materials chemistry course with both classroom and laboratory components, as well as a summer research program focused on providing opportunities to individuals in underrepresented groups. Because of their physical properties, intermetallic nanomaterials are of high interest to industry, and students trained in these areas compete well in the job market.

Effective start/end date8/1/072/29/12


  • National Science Foundation: $410,139.00


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