Concentrating light technologies for the continuous synthesis of particle and deposition based functional materials with in-situ high temperature heating
Sustainability is progressively more essential in the manufacture and design of materials, with the impetus to reduce the environmental impact and carbon footprint of production processes. A contending interest to this is the capacity to manufacture functional materials in large quantities through on-line and fast processes that can be incorporated into current industrial setups and are based on established industrial practices. Equally important, most novel materials with exotic properties and efficiencies do not reach industrial and commercial products due to complex and non-viable synthetic routes. Herein, aerosol synthesis of inorganic materials with nanoscale feature using concentrating light for direct heating of the reacting media is envisioned as an enabling and sustainable route to advanced functional materials. Reducing the size of the crystallites of inorganic materials to the scale of a few nanometers promotes their electrical, catalytic and optical properties. These nanoscale materials serve as building blocks and dopants of other particles or surfaces, e.g., in the form of thin films or decorating particles, with synergetic effects. The resulting materials and nanomaterials â advanced functional materials â find application in numerous fields, such as water treatment, energy conversion and storage, medicine, catalytic conversion, and sensing. Indeed, experience showed that aerosol synthesis of such materials is favored over wet-chemistry and sol-gel based industrial processes; also typical in bench- and lab-scale studies. Examples of aerosol-based materialsâ synthesis include the manufacture of ZnO vulcanizing catalysts, carbon blacks, pigmentary TiO2, optical fibers, filamentary Ni, and fumed SiO2; materials with very wide and well-known impact in the sectors of construction, transportation, energy, pharmaceuticals, and communications. At the same time, aerosol synthesis enables the development of more novel functional nanomaterials and sensors. Aerosol synthetic routes and devices are a vibrant research topic. However, more work is necessary to fully comprehend the physical and chemical processes occurring over multiple temporal and spatial scales. Preliminary conceptual and experimental work supports the working hypothesis that an aerosol synthesis process based on direct heating of the reacting media with concentrating light combines the advantages of the flame and hot-wall spray reactors; the two prime industrial aerosol synthesis routes. Although this may be true, there are at least two key challenges before demonstration and adaptation at an industrial scale. First, gradual blocking of the transparent window or reactor walls due to the phoretic phenomena on particles. Second, the need for an alternative heat application method, when applicable, for the gas precursors. Therefore, the main goal of this proposal is to address these challenges and further document the performance of the technology at a relevant scale (TRL6).........