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Material-Independent Design of Photoluminescent Systems

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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PDF Document Publication12-G00206_2034.pdf (683 KB)

Technology Marketing SummaryNanomaterials have attracted much attention recently because of their unique functionality. Researchers at ORNL have discovered a method to make nonluminescent nanostructured materials luminescent (photoluminescent and/or electroluminescent), independent of the starting material. This material-independent approach enables conversion of many different types of nanomaterials for optoelectronic applications such as light-emitting displays, solar panels, optoelectronic sensing and imaging spectroscopy, and fiber-optic communications. It will also enhance their use in many in vivo applications such as the study of intracellular processes; high resolution cellular imaging; long-term observation of cell trafficking; cancer diagnostics; and tumor targeting, where many of the competing methods are cytotoxic.Description

The ORNL technique involves (1) providing a nanostructured material; (2) modifying the surface of the material to create isolated regions that will act as luminescent centers, in the process generating a charge imbalance on the surface of the nanostructured material; (3) applying one or more polar molecules to the charged surface of the nanostructured material; and (4) orienting the polar molecules to compensate for or neutralize the surface charge imbalance. Once the surface charge imbalance has been neutralized, the isolated regions can exhibit luminescent behavior.

The nanostructured material itself can be any of a variety of materials, such as boron nitride, amorphous carbon, or silicon carbide, and could be in the form of single-walled nanotubes, multiwalled nanotubes, nanohorns, nano-onions, etc. The formation of the isolated regions and the charge imbalance on the surface of the nanostructured material may be accomplished by acid etching or functionalizing the surface of the nanostructured material with charged groups such as carboxylic acid (−COOH) moieties or hydroxyl (-OH) moieties. The polar molecules may be applied to the charged surface by a number of methods, including immersing the nanostructured material in a liquid solution containing the polar molecules or applying the polar molecules as part of a coating to the surface of the nanomaterial.

  • Materials independent
  • Flexible processes
  • Cost-effective to manufacturea
Applications and Industries
  • Electroluminescent systems for use in light-emitting displays, solar panels, or optoelectronic sensing elements
  • Single-electron transistors, diode lasers, and electronic/optical amplifiers
  • Inert biological markers/sensors
  • High resolution cellular imaging
  • Long-term in vivo observation of living organisms at the cellular level
  • Tumor detection
  • Therapeutic drug delivery, including tumor targeting
  • Security ink; signage (e.g., exit signs, safety signs)
  • Industrial/factory process monitoring
  • Replacement for organic dyes in diagnostic systems (20 × brighter and 100 × more stable than traditional fluorescent reporters)
More InformationIlia N. Ivanov, Alexander A. Puretzky, Bin Zhao, David B. Geohegan, David J. Styers-Barnett, and Hui Hu. Luminescent Systems Based on the Isolation of Conjugated PL Systems and Edge Charge Compensation with Polar Molecules on a Charged Nanostructured Surface, U.S. Patent Application 12/895,226, filed September 30, 2010.Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,778,226
Luminescent systems based on the isolation of conjugated PI systems and edge charge compensation with polar molecules on a charged nanostructured surface
A photoluminescent or electroluminescent system and method of making a non-luminescent nanostructured material into such a luminescent system is presented. The method of preparing the luminescent system, generally, comprises the steps of modifying the surface of a nanostructured material to create isolated regions to act as luminescent centers and to create a charge imbalance on the surface; applying more than one polar molecule to the charged surface of the nanostructured material; and orienting the polar molecules to compensate for the charge imbalance on the surface of the nanostructured material. The compensation of the surface charge imbalance by the polar molecules allows the isolated regions to exhibit luminescence.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory 07/15/2014
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B ID 200802034PrototypeAvailable07/17/201207/17/2012

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