Nanoparticles that deform to liquid defies scientific theories

14 Oct 2014

A new phenomenon discovered that shows that metal nanoparticles that appear as a liquid while maintaining its crystallised structure has thrown the field of science on its head.

The team of international researchers, led by Professor Ju Li and published in the journal Nature Materials, used particles of pure silver that measured only a diameter of 10 nanometres at room temperature but were astonished to find that the particles were somehow acting like a liquid, according to MIT.

This is depite the fact that silver has a rather high melting point of 962 degrees Celsius which Prof Li has rather calmly described as ‘quite unexpected’.

The material’s appearance as a liquid is not consistent throughout however as using an electron microscope, it was found that only the outer year, about one or two atoms in density, was actually liquid, while the rest remained a solid.

An illustration of the nanoparticles appearing to change form. Image: Yan Liang.

The researchers claim that it is not just silver that this could be applied to, but a variety of other metals which could have a number of uses including creating electrical circuits that would need to withstand rotational configuration.

It could prove to be a negative however in some instances, as their unstable nature would prove harmful to a variety of electrical components and would fair rather quickly.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic