The Laboratory of Nanoparticle Science and Technology (LNST) has been created on March 24, 2000, as part of the Department of Inorganic Chemistry. Being unique unit for the country, it aims to develop new nanomaterials based on the experience acquired abroad and the departmental traditions in the synthesis of phosphors, monocrystals, catalysts and other inorganic chemical compounds.
The main goal of LNST is the synthesis of nanoparticles of various crystalline materials: semiconductors (compound and doped materials), metals (pure and alloy) and metal and rare earth oxides. These are species of nanometer dimensions, narrow size distribution and uniform geometry. They have peculiar physical properties, which are different from those of the bulk material due to quantum confinement effects. This fact allows their application in precise optical, magnetic and electronic devices. The synthetic methods use various colloidal dispersions with the reaction carried out in the core of micelles, microemulsion droplets or bicontinuos structures. These species comprise organic shell of amphiphilic nature, which serves as the capping layer protecting the nanoparticle surface. It can be modified by adsorbing other organic molecules making the nanoparticle biocompatible or changing its properties. Monitoring the process of nanoparticle growth is used to control the size in the range required for the applications. The ensembles of closely packed nanocrystals exhibit special properties due to cooperative behavior of the species. They are prepared by two- or three-dimensional aggregation in coatings on solid substrate, thin liquid films and colloidal crystals. Studying the interactions in the ensemble provides the feedback for design of the nanoparticles during the synthesis procedure.
LNST is located in three rooms connected with computer network and other communications. Two rooms are offices for the senior personnel and the students; the third one is the experimental room with two divisions. One division is with the drafts for chemical work where the apparatus for nanoparticle synthesis is situated. The other one is with analytical tools and methods for nanoparticle assembly.
The Laboratory has permanent staff of four senior researchers: two senior assistant professors, one assistant professor and one chemist. The novelty of scientific area, as part of modern nanotechnology, necessitates two categories young researchers acquiring nano- knowledge: constant and virtual. The constant staff is about ten undergraduate students, continuously renewable, who are prepared for long-term experimental work in nanoparticle synthesis related to the respective practical applications. The virtual staff is graduate students who are hired for short-term work in relation to projects with the industry and academia partners from domestic and international organizations. All students have language ability in English.
Below are listed the conditional subjects of research where the laboratory staff has knowledge and potential ability. The devices and other practical applications show possible orientations of the nanoparticle synthesis. The development of a subject and reorientation of researchers entirely depends on the financial support from projects with organizations outside the University.