Kyler Radmall, Southern Utah University
Our research focuses on the synthesis of silver nanoparticles using microfluidic devices. These devices are of particular interest to us because of the controlled environment that they provide for reactions to take place. As the name suggests, the “micro” scale of this device gives us a high surface area to volume ratio while the “fluidic” aspect allows a controlled flow rate and pattern. This provides reproducible products with accuracy and precision as we control exactly when turbulent and laminar flow occurs. Our microfluidic device is created by using Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), a polymer that is similar to glass. Using a magnesium wire we can shape our microfluidic device to fit the needs of our experiment and then suspend it in PDMS. The magnesium wire can be dissolved once the PDMS solidifies, forming a hollow chamber in which we can perform our reaction and synthesize our silver nanoparticles. Silver nanoparticles have a wide range of applications but the focus of our research will be to learn more about what causes inconsistency in the size of the particles. Since one of the major challenges of nanoparticle synthesis is creating a product that is uniform in size, learning how to control the synthesis process to create highly uniform nanoparticles would be beneficial. To accomplish this, we plan to gather more information about the nanoparticles using Raman spectroscopy. We will also use a UV-Vis spectrometer and spectrofluorimeter to analyze the stages of nanoparticles synthesis.