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Nanoscale lattice is world’s smallest

by • February 2, 2016 • No Comments

Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have created a small lattice they claim is the world’s smallest. Formed with struts and braces measuring less than 10 micrometers in length and less than 200 nanometers in diameter, the 3D lattice has a total size of less than 10 micrometers, but boasts a higher specific durablity than many solids.

The KIT team says the lattice accomplishes new durablity to density ratios for metamaterials (man-created materials that have properties not discovered in nature), thanks to size that are smaller in size than comparable metamaterials by a factor of five. It is created of glassy carbon, that is a form of pure carbon that boasts both glassy, ceramic properties and graphite properties.

Production of the lattice started with an built 3D lithography system, is that the structure is hardened in a photoresist by computer-controlled lasers. This system is limited to making struts ranging of around 5 to 10 micrometers in length and 1 micrometer in diameter, so the team and so vitrified and additional shrunk the lattice through –in what they claim is a initially for the make of microstructured lattices – pyrolysis.

Pyrolysis involves exposing material to high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. In this case, the lattice was placed in a vacuum furnace and subjected to temperatures of around 900° C (1,652 °F), causing the chemical bonds to reorient themselves and all elements with the exemption of carbon being removed of the lattice. This leaves the unordered carbon, in the form of glassy carbon, forming the shrunk lattice structure.

In subsequent testing, the researchers discovered this lattice boasted astonishing properties of stability under pressure.

“According to the results, load-bearing ability of the lattice is quite close to the theoretical limit and far above that of unstructured glassy carbon,” says Prof. Oliver Kraft, co-author of the study. “Diamond is the just solid having a higher specific stability.”

The team believes such microlattices may potentially find applications as electrodes, filters in the chemical industry, or optical components in telecommunications.

The initially author of the study was Dr.-Ing. Jens Bauer, who was in addition involved in previous work at KIT in that a microstructured framework was generated that was less dense than water, but as sturdy as steel.

The paper detailing the Bauer and the KIT team’s latest work seems in the journal Nature Materials.

Source: KIT

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