2020-067 – Sol-Gel Process Control using Electric Fields

Background The modulation of electromagnetic waves to transport and convey information is an ever present and powerful action in our lives. It is needed in a variety of technologies such as emerging 5G cellular technologies, software define radios, and fiber optic networks, among many more. To modulate electromagnetic waves, an electric field applied to a chemical solution undergoes a silica sol-gel condensation reaction into nanoparticles. With research it is possible we may be able to convey information to ions in-situ, enabling control of the Gibbs free energy of the system via ion mobility. Currently, there are no other published works that discuss the impacts of strong electric fields on sol-gel condensation processes. The proposed technology offers an opportunity to increase the condensation degree of the sol-gel particles, potentially revolutionizing chemical processes on an industrial scale. Technology Description A researcher at the University of New Mexico has developed a method to produce nanomaterials via a non-invasive sol-gel process. The sol-gel process control invention utilizes electric fields to non-evasively localize sol-gel reaction conditions without inserting probes or electrodes. A variety of sol-gel condensation experiments have been conducted under various externally applied electric and electromagnetic fields to understand their impacts on silica condensation degree, particle size, dispersity, and overall condensation patterns. By investigating the impacts of using an electric field in-situ to modulate the free energy of sol-gel processes, the resulting data can be used to model a nanostructure development process for numerous industrial and biomedical applications. Andrew Roerick aroerick@innovations.unm.edu 505-277-0608

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