LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 19, 2012) — Bruce Hinds, a William Bryan Professor of Materials Engineering in the University of Kentucky College of Engineering and his team of researchers have found that ions can pump fluids thousands of times faster through carbon nanotubes than through conventional materials. Their research is currently featured in the top-tier journal "Nature Nanotechnology."
Hinds and his team have discovered that this more efficient way to pump ions and fluids through nanotubes works at a rate just as fast as proteins in nature bring chemicals into and out of cell walls.
"Pore-per-pore, nothing man-made in the past has been as good as nature is at pumping chemicals," said Hinds. "We were able to use ions to pump fluids thousands of times faster, greatly improving their efficiency. The advantage here is that we can make robust large area platforms for a variety of applications from medicine to energy."
The research is especially significant since it applies to the areas of drug delivery, energy storage and water purification. Specifically, it follows up on previous NIH sponsored research on the development of a smart skin patch that treats nicotine dependence. This project was awarded in 2010 by the White House Office of National Science and Technology Council's Presidential Award for Early Career Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and included a White House visit.
Hinds' current team includes Ji Wu and Karen Gerstandt in the UK Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, as well as Hongbo Zhang, a post-doc at Duke University, and his professor Jie Liu, also from Duke.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, (859) 257-5343; Jenny.Wells@uky.edu