Thank you to Karen Cunningham and the Jam Factory team for hosting Deputy Director Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem, Tim Zhao, Yunle Wei and Mel McDowall. The team added their own spin to paper weights and glass making and are eager to see the finished products!
This was the initial stages of a collaboration between the Jam Factory and CNBP, to create glass art incorporating nano-particles.
Australian researchers at the University of Adelaide have developed a method for embedding light-emitting nanoparticles into glass without losing any of their unique properties – a major step towards ‘smart glass’ applications such as 3D display screens or remote radiation sensors.
This new “hybrid glass” successfully combines the properties of these special luminescent (or light-emitting) nanoparticles with the well-known aspects of glass, such as transparency and the ability to be processed into various shapes including very fine optical fibres.
The research, in collaboration with Macquarie University and University of Melbourne, has been published online in the journal Advanced Optical Materials.
“These novel luminescent nanoparticles, called upconversion nanoparticles, have become promising candidates for a whole variety of ultra-high tech applications such as biological sensing, biomedical imaging and 3D volumetric displays,” says lead author Dr Tim Zhao, from the University of Adelaide’s School of Physical Sciences and Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS).
Although this method was developed with upconversion nanoparticles, the researchers believe their new ‘direct-doping’ approach can be generalised to other nanoparticles with interesting photonic, electronic and magnetic properties. There will be many applications – depending on the properties of the nanoparticle.
“If we infuse glass with a nanoparticle that is sensitive to radiation and then draw that hybrid glass into a fibre, we could have a remote sensor suitable for nuclear facilities,” says Dr Zhao.
To date, the method used to integrate upconversion nanoparticles into glass has relied on the in-situ growth of the nanoparticles within the glass.
“We’ve seen remarkable progress in this area but the control over the nanoparticles and the glass compositions has been limited, restricting the development of many proposed applications,” says project leader Professor Heike Ebendorff-Heideprem, Deputy Director of IPAS and Senior Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics.
“With our new direct doping method, which involves synthesizing the nanoparticles and glass separately and then combining them using the right conditions, we’ve been able to keep the nanoparticles intact and well dispersed throughout the glass. The nanoparticles remain functional and the glass transparency is still very close to its original quality. We are heading towards a whole new world of hybrid glass and devices for light-based technologies.”
Congratulations to Dr Jiangbo (Tim) Zhao and A/Prof Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem for the being awarded funding under the 2015-2016 Group of Eight Australia – Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme for the project “Incorporating Pd nanoparticles into fibre for plasmon-enhanced UV-blue photonic devices” ($20k awarded). This scheme is a joint initiative of the Go8 and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Germany’s national agency for the support of international academic co-operation.
Congratulations to both Dr Jiangbo (Tim) Zhao and Dr Erik Schartner who were successful in their application to the Australian Academy of Science’s National Committee for Physics to attend the 7th HOPE Meeting with Nobel Laureates in Japan, 1-5 March 2015 in Tokyo.