"By varying the microwave power, it can precisely control nucleation temperature and the resulting size and shape of particles."
New York, June 11 - The technology that microwaves use to heat your leftover food or yesterday's pizza before you can say Jack Robinson can be of great assistance in manufacturing future electronics that could be cheaper and more energy-efficient.
A continuous flow reactor can produce high quality nanoparticles by using microwave-assisted heating, a new study shows.
Combining continuous flow with microwave heating could give us the best of both worlds - large, fast reactors with perfectly controlled particle size, said Greg Herman, an associate professor at Oregon State University in the US.
This concept may provide a technological revolution as it could change everything - from the production of cell phones and televisions to counterfeit-proof money, improved solar energy systems or quick identification of troops in combat, the study noted.
Nanoparticles are extraordinarily small particles at the forefront of advances in many biomedical, optical and electronic fields.
But precise control of their formation is needed and hot injection as other existing synthetic approaches are slow, costly, sometimes toxic and often wasteful.
A continuous flow system, by contrast, is like a chemical reactor that moves constantly along.
It can be fast, cheap, more energy-efficient and offer lower manufacturing cost.
However, heating is necessary in one part of the process, and in the past, that was best done only in small reactors.
The new research has proven that microwave heating can be done in larger systems at high speeds.
By varying the microwave power, it can precisely control nucleation temperature and the resulting size and shape of particles.
The study appeared in the journal Materials Letters.