There is an interest in functionalizing high surface area fine particles by controlling their surface chemistry while maintaining bulk properties. A powerful method co-invented/developed in the lab is to use atomic layer deposition (ALD) to deposit nearly perfect ultrathin nano-thick films at angstrom level precision onto primary particles, i.e. Particle ALD. A current focus in the lab includes developing a fundamental understanding of the fluidized bed reactor process used to carry out the coating and improving the process as well as expanding the applications. Additional focus is directed towards materials useful for protecting nuclear fission materials and thrust segments for travel to Mars and beyond the solar system. Investigation also includes improving materials for PEM catalysts and solid oxide fuel cell ionic conductivity. Applications vary and include catalysis, micro-electronic devices, pigments, sunscreen materials, nuclear materials, separations media, printed inks and the development of porous thin films with angstrom control of pore diameter. Students in the lab have pioneered Particle ALD innovation and have been recognized with cover articles in Nanotechnology, best dissertation awards in the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the Best Ph.D. in Particle Technology Award by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. ALD NanoSolutions was spun out of the lab in 2001 and merged with Forge Nano in 2020.
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