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How to form nanoparticles

Nanoparticles which are chemicals or objects with dimensions of 1-100nm can be

synthesized through top down and bottom up processes [1, 2]. The top down approach
dealing with large piece of material and process it into smaller size by milling, grinding
or electron beam machining. The mechanical process usually yield particle of various size
distributions in the range of (10 -1000nm) of different particle shape [5]. The method has
the advantage for the application of nanocomposite due to its superior possibility of
interconnection and integration to improve the particular property of a material [6].
For bottom up approach it involves the use of single atoms and molecules for building
block of structures [2]. The methods can be further classified into vapor phase and liquid
phase fabrication. Pyrolysis and solvothermal reaction are the examples for the synthesis
method in each phase where the pyrolysis happens in vapor phase while the latter occurs
in liquid phase [5]. Pyrolysis will result in aggregates and agglomerates through
thermodecompostion of vaporous precursor at high pressure and elevated temperature.
The oxide particles will then be recovered by air classified the resulting solid. For
solvothermal reaction, the precursor mainly dissolved in hot non aqueous solvents for
growing nanocrystal. Both the methods promised low cost, simple, continuous operation
and high yield [3]. Refer to Figure 1 and 2 in appendix for the detail synthesis process.
In comparison with both the top down and bottom up approach, top down methods are
good for structures that make macroscopic connections and possess the property of long
range order. Whereas, bottom up approaches are good for fabricate and establishing short
range order at nanoscale dimensions [4].
[1] Kennedy, Chris. 2014. What are nanoparticles.
[2] Kulkarni, Lokesh. 2009. Synthesis And Characterization of Nanoparticles.
[3] Mandal, Ananya. 2015. Synthesis of Nanoparticle. Accessed March 3,
[4] Picraux, Tom. 2014. Nanotechnology.

[5] Overney, Rene. 2010. Nanoparticle Synthesis. Accessed March 3,

[6] Public Health. 2015. Nanotechnologies. Accessed March 3,


Figure 1: Vapor phase fabrication process [3]

Figure 2: Liquid phase fabrication process [3]

Top-down approaches are good for producing structures with

long-range order and for making macroscopic connections, while
bottom-up approaches are best suited for assembly and
establishing short-range order at nanoscale dimensions.
simple process, low cost, continuous operation and high yield.
are the example of methods that used to build the nanoparticle atom-by
atom through chemical reaction.

In pyrolysis, a vaporous precursor (liquid or gas) is forced through a hole or

opening at high pressure and burned. The resulting solid is air classified to
recover oxide particles from by-product gases. Pyrolysis often results in
aggregates and agglomerates rather than singleton primary particles.
Precursors are dissolved in hot solvents (e.g., n-butyl alcohol) and solvent
other than water can provide milder and friendlier reaction conditions If the
solvent is water then the process is referred to as hydrothermal method.
growth and self assembly from single atoms or molecules for

Take a large hunk of material and drill/blast/mechanically process it into

tiny nano-sized pieces. This is the top-down approach. Another way to
think about this is making big stuff smaller.
2. Take a molecule, or a simple salt , that has the right atoms, and perform
a chemical reaction to build the nanoparticle atom-by-atom. This is
the bottom-up approach. Another way to think about this is making
small stuff bigger.
Nanotechnology is dependent on nanostructures that require creation and

characterization. Two fundamentally different approaches for the controlled

generation of nanostructures have evolved. On one hand there is growth and self
assembly, from the bottom up, involving single atoms and molecules. On the other
hand there is the top- down approach in which the powerful techniques of lithography
and etching start with large uniform pieces of material and generate the required
nanostructures from them. Both methods have inherent advantages. Top down
assembly methods are currently superior for the possibility of interconnection and
integration, as in electronic circuitry.
Bottom-up assembly is very powerful in creating identical structures

with atomic precision, such as the supramolecular functional entities in living

organisms. In many different fields of nanoscale science, e.g. the production of
semiconductor quantum dots for lasers, the production of nanoparticles by self
organization, and the generation of vesicles from lipids, self organization is used for
the generation of functional nanometre sized objects. To date, man made self
organised structures (Niemeyer 2001) remain much simpler than natures complex
self organised processes and structures