Nanoparticle Synthesis and Characterization

Reproducible quality due to continuous synthesis processes

Nanoparticles made from inorganic and organic/polymer materials have unique properties, which have already been demonstrated in various applications in material sciences and life sciences. This comprises coatings, adhesives, polymers, catalysis, paper, assembly and packaging technology, textiles, food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. When synthesizing nanoparticles one of the major goals is a high reproducibility. Material properties and, thus, product quality, often directly depend from particle size and size distribution. While the reproducibility is one of the biggest challenges in conventional batch synthesis, continuous synthesis can eliminate this problem making use of a series of inherent advantages. This allows access to high quality uniform particles. We are developing modular reactors for different nanoparticle systems to be used with continuous synthesis routes such as liquid phase reactions with rapid mixing and, if required, high temperatures up to for instance 400 °C. Central parts of the setup are our microfluidic mixers in combination with temperature controlled reaction zones. Integrated on-line process analysis provides valuable information about critical product parameters and, thus, permits a real-time quality control. We optimize and establish continuous synthesis processes for nanoparticles according to our customers’ requirements.

Your advantage

  • Demonstrated scalability by means of internal scale-up, parallelization and external numbering-up,
  • exact control of process parameters such as flow rate and temperature,
  • particle sizes according to material, ranging from a few nanometers up to several millimeters,
  • specialization in bulk and on-line analysis of nanomaterials.

Our success factors

  • Long-time experience in the field of chemical micro process engineering as well as in design and implementation of continuous chemical processes in flow chemistry,
  • extension of the scope of our materials by means of hydrophilic and hydrophobic surface functionalization,
  • method diversity in the characterization of nanoparticles, for instance electron microscopes, dynamic light scattering, static light scattering, analytic centrifugation, optical spectroscopy (transmission, absorption, fluorescence, thermo FTIR), streaming potential and zeta potential.

We give your particles the desired properties, be they fluorescence, magnetism, catalytic activity, fouling inhibition, durability (for instance against temperature, humidity, heat, light), antimicrobial surfaces, protein repelling, biocompatibility or ion and gas selectivity, respectively. Specific particle systems we are working on are for instance fluorescent quantum dots, single core iron oxide nanoparticles as well as polymer particles and capsules made of, for instance, polyacrylates, polyurethanes as well as crosslinked polysaccharides.

Typical questions

  • Customer specific synthesis and validation of the manufacturing process for inorganic and polymer based nanoparticles,
  • encapsulation of active components for in-situ release,
  • functionalization of particles for improving specificity and effectivity in the release of active substances at the target site,
  • transfer of batch processes into continuous synthesis processes, including scale-up,
  • development of protocols for material characterization, further processing as well as handling,
  • characterization of nanoparticles in liquid and solid media.
reactor for contiuous nanoparticle synthesis
© Fraunhofer IMM

pilot plant for continuous nanoparticle synthesis
© Fraunhofer IMM

TEM
© Fraunhofer IMM