Sandia National Laboratories has come up with an inexpensive way to synthesize titanium-dioxide nanoparticles and is seeking partners who can demonstrate the process at industrial scale for everything from solar cells to light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Titanium-dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles already show great in the production of reflective coatings on signs and optical encapsulants (a fancy term the outer-cover, usually made of silicone) for LEDs, solar cells and other optical devices.
Commercial practices have in the past turned away from TiO2 nanoparticles because they are expensive, difficult to produce and current methods result in particles that are too large. Sandia became interested in TiO2 for optical encapsulants because of its work on LED materials for solid-state lighting systems.
Sandia’s technique uses readily available, low-cost materials and results in nanoparticles that are adequately small, roughly uniform in size and don’t clump.
“We wanted something that was low cost and scalable, and that made particles that were very small,” said researcher Todd Monson, who along with principal investigator Dale Huber patented the process in mid-2011 as “High-yield synthesis of brookite TiO2 nanoparticles.”
The next step is to demonstrate synthesis at an industrial scale, which will require a commercial partner. The Lab is already in communications with several interested companies interested in commercializing this technology.
Sandia Labs is not set up to produce the particles on a commercial scale, so partnering with an outside company is the best way to get this technology into products for the end user.