Researchers have identified molecules that can transform optical, electronic and magnetic properties.
They used a cutting-edge technique called electron tomography to understand why the properties depend on "polymer nano-patches". Electron Tomography is a process of 3D reconstructive imaging.
The 3D imaging from electron tomography showed the details of the polymer patches. They found three patches that were common polymerized polystyrene, BNL reported.
They also found a ridge-like structure that came from the interaction the polymers in the nanospheres. They visual image allowed them to have a look on the nanosphere synthesis.
Eugenia Kamucheva of the University of Toronto explained that this lays the foundation for new nanoscale architectures. This can revolutionize solar cells technologies
The researchers looked at the synthetic polymer patches on gold nanospheres for this study. Synthetic polymers can usually be found on plastics and electronics.
They attached the polymer that's 20 to 80 nanometers in the diameter on the surface of the gold sphere. They mix these particles in different solvent solution that causes patches formation on the polymers.
Huolin Xin from Brookhaven Lab explained that the three-dimensional feature helps them look at the nanoparticle in every angle.
Xin also explained that they used a technique called low-dose transmission. This can generate unprecedented nanoscale insights, Science Daily reported.
Their study provided variations in polymer length and the size and shape of gold nanoparticles. Researchers found out that there are patches formed on large clumps while other formed around the corner.
They explained that these patches give them the ability to manufacture new precision tools at a nanoscale. Oleg Gang of Columbia University explained that they manage to set the nanoparticles on right conditions and manufacture it using complex structures.
He explained that their finding showed that nanoparticles could assemble by themselves. This is caused by the interaction of polymer chains, solvents, and high nanoparticle curvature.
The researchers believe that their work served as a foundation for the testing of nanoparticles. They believe that they can customize nanoparticles soon.