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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 6 Issue 4 (2001) pp 238-246

Nanostructures in Physical Materials Chemistry: An Exploratory Laboratory

Thomas J. Manning,* Amy Feldman, Michael Anderson, Leri Atwater, Brent Lesile, Derek Lovingood, Anna Lee McRae, Rob Stapleton, Kim Riddle, Jun Lui, Thomas Vickers,Naresh Dalal, and Lambertus J. van de Burgt

Department of Chemistry, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA 31698*,, Electron Microscope Facility, Biology Department, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, and Department of Chemistry, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Received January 22, 2001 Accepted March 9, 2001

Published online: 27 July 2001

Abstract. The blend of nanotechnology and material science is often beyond the scope of undergraduate laboratories. Through undergraduate research, graphite-intercalated compounds have been incorporated in the production of carbon-based nanostructures. Based on this work a series of exploratory exercises were designed for the undergraduate physical chemistry laboratory emphasizing nanostructure material science. This rapidly expanding area of science and technology can be introduced at an undergraduate level using a high temperature oven to produce nanostructure samples that are analyzed by Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy at research university laboratories, infrared spectroscopy, and a bomb calorimeter. In these experiments we use samples of pure graphite, fluorinated graphite, and lanthanum oxide to induce the formation of nanostructures. An overview of fullerenes, nanotubes, boron nitride and Si nanostructures, other carbon forms, graphite-intercalated compounds, and the storage of hydrogen in nanotubes are provided in an appendix. Several extensions of the laboratory are proposed.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; inorganic chemistry; nanostructures

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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Issue date: August 3, 2001

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