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Design of novel nanoporous metallic actuators

PhD students: Eric Detsi and Sergey Punzhin
Nanoporous metallic actuators have appeared recently and have the potential to outperform existing (dense) materials. The key feature is the materials' nanostructural architecture, which links the overall behavior to the charge-induced surface stresses at the nanoscale. The opportunity lies in the unique combination of nanoscale surface properties, that can be tuned by an applied potential, and the design freedom offered by the three-dimensional nanostructural architecture. We propose to explore this opportunity through the concerted action of experiments and modeling, aimed at designing novel nanoporous metals with a superior actuation performance. In this project we synthesize novel nanoporous metals by exploiting the self-assembling properties of block copolymers at the nanoscale, characterize their microstructure and test their functionality.(in collaboration with prof. Patrick Onck)


Figure: Scanning electron micrographs showing qualitative changes in nanoporous gold morpholgy as a function of the applied potentials. A snapshot of the digitized image for the specimen is also shown.