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Researchers discover whimsy on the nano scale


Researchers find whimsy at the nano scale
Mohsen Hosseini and William Ducker’s contest-winning picture, titled “Lotus on Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Coating.” Credit score: Mohsen Hosseini and William Ducker

At extraordinarily small scales, appears may be deceiving. Whereas at first look you would possibly see lily pads floating on a tranquil pond, this picture is definitely a intelligent adaptation of a snapshot taken on a scanning electron microscope.

In actuality, the inexperienced spots are only some micrometers throughout—smaller than width of a human hair. They make up a that was developed to restrict the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The consists of a silver-based materials utilized to a glass floor. The lotus flower, although, was some added inventive aptitude courtesy of image-editing software program.

Mohsen Hosseini, Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering, and William Ducker, professor of chemical engineering, not too long ago received an award within the Nationwide Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) picture contest with this picture. Each Hosseini and Ducker are affiliated with the Macromolecules Innovation Institute (MII).

Their win was within the class “most whimsical.”

“As a part of the rigor concerned in , I’m all the time cautious to take care of the accuracy of my unique outcomes,” stated Hosseini. “Nevertheless, this competitors was very liberating. It gave me an opportunity to take my scanning electron microscopy outcomes and legitimately alter it in any method that I selected. It was liberating and enjoyable to specific my inventive fashion. The end result is not a Monet, however I’m glad individuals favored it.”

The picture contest, titled “Loads of Magnificence on the Backside,” is hosted yearly by NNCI in celebration of Nationwide Nano Day, which occurred on Oct. 9, 2021. Funded by the Nationwide Science Basis, the NNCI is a community of 16 websites across the nation which can be devoted to supporting nanoscience and nanotechnology analysis and improvement. Virginia Tech’s NanoEarth middle is a part of that community, working to advance earth and environmental nanotechnology infrastructure. This picture was captured utilizing a (SEM) that’s a part of the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory (NCFL) within the Virginia Tech Company Analysis Middle. This SEM is the most recent addition to the instrument suite on the NCFL, which is an initiative of the Institute for Crucial Know-how and Utilized Science. The NCFL offers researchers throughout the College entry to superior instrumentation together with state-of-the-art electron microscopes, optical microscopes, and several other spectroscopic strategies.

Researchers find whimsy at the nano scale
Mohsen Hosseini views the pictures produced by the JEOL IT500 scanning electron microscope, positioned within the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory. Photograph by Reilly Henson for Virginia Tech.

The event of the protecting floor coating started greater than a yr in the past, when the coronavirus pandemic was in its early phases. Engaged on a group that included one other doctoral scholar, Saeed Behzadinasab, the researchers’ objective was to discover a technique to forestall the unfold of COVID-19 through contaminated surfaces. The coating they produced can efficiently inactivate the virus (SARS-CoV-2) when it lands on a strong floor, in order that when an individual later touches the floor, the virus is unable to contaminate them.

In learning how their floor coating behaves and performs, the researchers captured photos of it on the micro scale. Hosseini defined, “The NNCI contest invitation motivated me to pick one of many scanning electron microscope photos of my coatings, and edit it in line with the competition’s standards. My mind was crammed with concepts since I had not too long ago designed a entrance cowl that was awarded to our paper revealed in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering. I got here up with a lotus thought in minutes and that labored very properly.”

Apparently, the researchers had initially developed a brown coating that confirmed an excessive amount of promise. Nevertheless, after conducting exams with customers, it turned clear that the general public could be extra seemingly to make use of a coating that was clear, as a substitute of brown. Ducker’s analysis group was impressed to provide one other coating, which this time could be clear. As Hosseini put it, “It is ironic that the invisible coating ended up being the topic of visible artwork, and even bought an award for it.”

Ducker and Hosseini teamed up with Joseph Falkinham and Myra Williams from the Division of Organic Sciences to check the coating on quite a lot of different illness-causing microorganisms. It proved notably efficient in opposition to a number of micro organism together with MRSA, a hard antibiotic-resistant bacterium that plagues hospitals.

With its clear look and its broad antimicrobial effectiveness, the coating is now a powerful candidate for commercialization. Certainly, Ducker has based an organization devoted to pursuing the manufacturing of this floor coating on a bigger scale.

Hosseini and Ducker are proud to have their picture shared with the nationwide nanoscience group. The popularity exhibits an appreciation for his or her laborious work, along with their whimsical perspective. In accordance with NanoEarth assistant director Tonya Pruitt, “Virginia Tech has had some wonderful submissions to the NNCI picture contest through the years, however that is the primary yr we have had a winner.”


In a single hour, professor’s floor coating inactivates virus that causes COVID-19


Extra data:
Mohsen Hosseini et al, Discount of Infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 by Zinc Oxide Coatings, ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering (2021). DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.1c01076

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Virginia Tech


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