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Research activies within Applied Nano Chemistry

Nanocrystals for improved chemical sensors

A novel sensing project carried out in collaboration with Profs. Anita Lloyd-Spetz, Applied Physics at LiU, and Lars Ojamäe, Physical Chemistry at LiU, is the development of a SiC based methanol sensor for application under demanding conditions. The project is highly multidisciplinary, involving inorganic chemical synthesis, quantum chemical studies and sensor science.

Nanocrystals for catalytic hydrogenation of CO2

In the last two years, a new project has been initiated in close collaboration with Prof. Magnus Odén, Nanostructured materials at LiU. The project is partly funded by KAW and is an experimental and theoretical study of catalytic hydrogenation of CO2 in the formation of methanol and dimethyl ether. An obvious aim here is to be able to reduce the level of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere by binding it to methanol that can be used as fuel.

Also this project is highly interdisciplinary involving several pepole from synthetic chemistry, theoetical chemistry and materials science. The catalytical studies are conducted in a high pressure reactor (autoclave) connected to a GC-MS.

Nano crystals of rare earth oxides

The rare earth metals are the elements in the 6th period of the periodic table (marked by yellow in the periodic table below). Their technical importance can hardly be overrated and several of them are irreplaceable parts in modern devices ranging from internal combustion engines and wind power mills to batteries, mobile phones, computers and LCD screens. Today about 90 percent of the rare earths are mined in China but Sweden too is believed to possess large deposits, particularly in the area surrounding the city Gränna.  

Several of the rare earth metals are strongly magnetic due to their unpaired 4f   and at least one of them, gadolinium, is unique because it combines a high magnetic moment with a very high cross-section for thermal neutrons, implying that Gd(III) containing nanocrystals are potentially interesting both as contrast agent in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and so called neutron capture therapy (NCT).

In our research, we have shown that small nanocrystals of cubic Gd2O3 produce significantly shorter T1 relaxation times than the conventional gadolinium containing chelates normally used in examination of patients. A possible explanation of the effect is the higher density of magnetic active ions in a nanoparticle compared to that of a bulky chelate providing access of only a single water molecule to the magnetic central atom.

Responsible for this page: Maria Sunnerhagen
Last updated: 09/23/13