Monday, November 2, 2009: 11:00 AM
Convention Center, Room 329, Third Floor
The science of nanoparticles has drawn significant research interest and has impacted almost every branch of natural sciences, including chemistry, physics, biology, and environmental sciences. The quantum confinement effect in metal and semiconductor nanoparticles imparts unique reactivity to such nanoparticles but generates increased biological and environmental toxicity as well, the latter may become a major concern if such nanomaterials are ultimately to be utilized in industry. The unique 1-100 nm nanoscale size leads to a number of important effects that can dramatically alter the material’s physiochemical properties when the material exists in the nanoparticle form. This talk will present the underlying fundamental physics and chemistry pertaining to the nanoparticle reactivity and potential toxicity, in particular, those properties that are relevant to environmental science, such as surface reactivity and solubility, etc. Specific examples to be covered include silver, gold, iron and zinc oxide nanoparticles. The scaling laws and quantum confinement effect of these types of nanomaterials will be discussed. Overall, the nanoscale fundamental science discussed in this talk is in hope of serving as a basis to understand the nanoparticles’ profound implications for the soil and environment.