The main research areas of the group are
- the aerosol synthesis and mechanistic studies of formation of carbon nanotubes and inorganic nanoparticles
- the applications of carbon nanotubes in transparent and flexible electronics
- pharmaceutical nanoparticles and nanostructured microparticles as drug delivery systems
- high resolution electron microscopy
Professor Esko I. Kauppinen, PhD (Physics) is the Vice Dean responsible for research, innovations and industry relationships at the Aalto University School of Science and Tenured Professor of Physics at the Department of Applied Physics. He has published more than 390 scientific journal papers in Nature Nanotechnology, NanoLetters, ACS Nano, Angewandte Chemie, Carbon, Energy and Environmental Sciences among others, has a Hirsch-index over 43 and over 7500 citations. He has given more than 100 keynote and invited conference talks and 200+ talks at world-leading companies and universities. He is considered one of the world's expert authors in the area of single walled carbon nanotube synthesis, characterisation and thin film applications, as well as in the gas phase synthesis of particles for inhalation drug delivery. He is the founding member of the companies Canatu Oy and Teicos Pharma Oy.
The NanoMaterials group is active in several research fields:
- Aerosol-based synthesis of nanomaterials: single-walled and multiwalled carbon nanotubes (CNTs), metal and metal oxide catalyst nanoparticles
- Carbon nanotube based thin film electronics: transparent conducting electrodes (TCEs), thin film transistors (TFTs), sensors
- Pharmaceutical nanomaterials: nanostructured microparticles and nanoparticles for drug delivery and controlled release
- Electron microscopy: atomic resolution imaging of nanomaterials, EDX, chirality measurements of CNTs
- Aerosol measurements and techniques: Differential Mobility Analysis (DMAs), nanoaerosol deposition by thermophoretic and electrostatic precipitators
- Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
The Nanomaterials group has a wide range of experimental facilities for the synthesis of carbon nanotubes and for their characterization as well as for developing pharmaceutical inhalation products.
Aerosol reactors for drug delivery systems
The Nanomaterials Group has developed the Aerosol Flow Reactor Method to formulate nano- and microparticles for pharmaceutical applications. The aerosol method enables formulating materials with different solubilities and thermal properties as novel platforms for controlled drug delivery, non-viral vectors for gene therapy and carrier-free drug powders for inhalation therapy.
Current focus areas
- Next generation pulmonary delivery of therapeutic peptides
- Efficient pulmonary delivery of poorly water-soluble drugs
- Coating and encapsulation of combination drugs for pulmonary delivery
Aerosol flow reactor
Solutions where materials are dissolved are dispersed into droplets which are carried to the aerosol reactor with a gas. The particles are dried in a laminar flow followed by the coating process. Dry particles are collected by a cyclone or impactor. The general features of the aerosol reactor are listed below.
- Jet atomizer: droplet size 300 nm, production 104-105 1/cm3
- Ultrasonic nebulizer: droplet size 3-4 µm, production 105-106 1/cm3
- Temperature 20-300 ºC, flow rate 1-20 l/min
- Solvent options are many, however, no solvent mixtures are recommended
Carbon nanotube reactors
The Nanomaterials Group operates five carbon nanotube reactors based on the aerosol-based synthesis technique.