Nanoparticles (both organic and inorganic) are observed in many areas of modern life, from the black toner in a laser printer and the white pigment in paint, to self-cleaning coatings on windows and exhaust emissions from IC engines and boilers.

Understanding the mechanisms by which these particles are formed and grow will help us understand how their size, shape and composition might be tuned to promote useful properties or assist in preventing their formation in the first place.

We employ a variety of techniques to model the growth and morphology of nanoparticles. These are described in more detail in one of our user stories; we examine the process starting from the most fundamental level, in that quantum chemistry techniques are employed to determine the stable energy states of chemical species associated with the gas-phase chemistry. By performing these calculations, we can gain insight into the processes which lead to nanoparticle formation.

Once the smallest particles have been formed and are in a stable state in the system, growth systems take over. These range from the coagulation of particles and surface growth processes (gas-phase chemical species reacting on the surface of the particles), to restructuring processes also known as sintering – where the surface area of the particle reduces towards that of a perfect sphere.

Based on our modelling capabilities we can determine the sizes and shapes of the full population of particles. The Monte Carlo techniques employed to solve the underlying population balance equation have allowed us to describe the particles in such detail that we are now able to observe the full 3-dimensional structure of individual particles. For a more detailed summary of the analysis of the inorganic silica nanoparticle synthesis route, please see one of our User Stories.

How can we help?

  • Detailed population balance models describing formation of nanoparticles
  • Detailed chemistry describing gas phase to particle transition
  • Dynamics of nanoparticles
  • Nanoparticle synthesis and manufacturing processes
  • Combustion generated and flame synthesized nanoparticles
  • Organic and in-organic nanoparticles
  • Nanoparticle fire safety and hazard prevention