New Game-Changing Approach for Synthesizing Compounds
A team of eight scientists led by David C. Johnson of the University of Oregon has invented a new technique for rapidly synthesizing compounds with very low thermal conductivity and other unique properties. The new method is a major breakthrough, as the traditional method is more time-consuming and limited in its application to only a few compounds that are thermodynamically stable.
The technique involves lightly warming a design of layered elemental precursors. Having been exposed to warmer temperatures, these automatically assemble into 18 new metastable and nano-sized compounds.
The new technique is revolutionary and has been described as paradigm changing. The traditional method for synthesising crystalline materials (in solid-state inorganic chemistry) has been limited in scope and application. This was largely due to the time and amount of heating required.
As Johnson states, it is now possible to make 20,000 compounds rather than only three. Johnson adds that the technique is possible because his team has found a way to control local compositions and diffusion distances of precursors.
Kimberly Andres Espy, the University of Oregon’s vice president of research and innovation, says that the new approach developed by Johnson and his team could potentially help create a more sustainable future for the world. This is because the technique has the potential to change how critical products are manufactured and delivered.