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Nanoreactor for making nanomaterials

Researchers of Kyoto University, Japan have developed a unique concept of nano-reactor for producing nano-sized materials that cannot be produced in a macro-reactor. The concept utilizes nano-space of porous materials such as activated carbon and activated alumina as a kind of nano-reactor. The reactant is made to be adsorbed in the nano-space of the activated material and then subjected to reaction in such a manner that most of reaction will be completed in the nano-space. A rapid heating of 3000 K/s and a high pressure of 2 MPa are employed to complete the pyrolysis reaction within the nano-space. The validity of this concept was proved by conducting two pyrolysis reactions forming carbon and TiO2 from volatile compounds. The carbon produced by this nano-reactor was a nano-graphite consisting of 2–3 graphene layers of less than 2 nm in diameter and TiO2 produced were fine particles of 5–8 nm in diameter. The carbon yield reached as high as 0.89 when anthracene adsorbed on an activated carbon was pyrolyzed, and the TiO2 yield reached a value as high as 0.60 when TTIP adsorbed on the activated carbon was pyrolyzed. Such products were significantly different from those that are obtained when the same reactions were carried out in the bulk phase.

Biochemical nanoreactor

Researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen, Eindhoven University of Technology and Wageningen University have created a biochemical nanoreactor. They split open the protein coat of the cowpea chlorotic mottle virus, which can be made to reversibly fall apart or reassemble depending on the pH. They then reassembled the coat proteins in the presence of the enzyme horseradish peroxidise, trapping a single molecule of the enzyme inside each virus. The researchers were able to demonstrate that the enzyme remained active within the cage, and that substrate molecules could enter the viral shell and products diffuse out. By changing the pH, the team was also able to alter how easily small molecules passed in and out. It is claimed that nanoreactor could provide a way of studying a single enzyme molecule without having to pin it down and approach could be used to study artificial anzymatic cascades, with the viral cage isolating the enzyme until it is ready to be dropped into the right place.

Nano-Reactor for hydrogen production

Global Hydrogen, Inc. claims to have developed a hydrogen producing nano-reactor that is less than 5 cubic centimeters (e.g. standard razor blade) and generates hydrogen at a rate of 1.5 cc per minute. The Nano Reactor is built around a proprietary nano particle electrolyte and a (low cost, non-precious metal) zinc and metal electrode. Hydrogen is developed on the surface of a newly-invented nano-nickel electrode that releases hydrogen by reacting to the chemicals when the switch electrically connects the nickel electrode to the zinc electrode. Unlike other systems the Nano-Reactor produces pure hydrogen whereas standard electrolysis units produce both hydrogen and oxygen. This Nano-Reactor offers wide appeal to applications where immediate control of hydrogen generation is necessary and electrical power normally needed for electrolysis systems is not available.

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