November 2017 Nanolecture Series Event

Flame-made Nanomaterials: from Carbon Black & Fumed Silica to Nanosilver & Breath Sensors

Sotiris Pratsinis, Ph.D.
Professor of Process Engineering & Materials Science
ETH Zürich
November 30th, 2017
1:00-2:00 pm
665 Huntington Ave,
Bldg. 1, Room 1302,
Boston, MA, 02115

Abstract: Nanoparticles constitute the largest, stand-alone, nanotechnology product today. Dry technologies are most attractive for their synthesis since they do not involve the tedious, multi-process steps and high liquid volume byproducts of wet chemistry. Recent advances in combustion and aerosol sciences extend now this technology to synthesis of nanosilver and far more sophisticated materials and even devices such as portable gas sensors. So flame aerosol deposition of films led, first, to epsilon-WO3 for selective detection of acetone at the ppb level and 90% RH. Such a portable breath sensor was used for on/offline testing of humans benchmarked with standard glucose tests while a prototype was assembled by industry for clinical testing. New MoO3– and ZnO-based sensors are developed for selective sensing of NH3 and isoprene for monitoring kidney disease and cholesterol in the blood, respectively. Emphasis now is placed in development of E-noses with focus on formaldehyde (FA), a tracer for indoor air quality monitoring and a potential breath marker for lung cancer that could facilitate easy screening of patients before MRI.

Biographical Sketch: Professor Pratsinis has a 1977 Diploma from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and a 1985 PhD from Univ. of California, Los Angeles. He was in the chemical engineering faculty of the Univ. of Cincinnati (1985-98) until elected Professor of Process Engineering & Materials Science at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. His research focuses on aerosol dynamics and flame reactors for synthesis of functional nanomaterials (catalysts, sensors and biomaterials). He has graduated 38 PhD students, published 300+ articles, filed 20+ patents that are licensed to industry and have contributed also to creation of four spinoffs. His research has been recognized by the 1988 Kenneth T. Whitby Award of AAAR, a 1989 Presidential Young Investigator Award from NSF, the 1995 Marian Smoluchowski Award (European Association for Aerosol Research) and the 2003 AIChE Thomas Baron Award. In 2009 he won an Advanced Investigator Grant from the European Research Council and in 2011 a Humboldt Research Award from Germany while in 2012 he was elected to the Swiss Academy of Engineering. He is Associate Editor of AIChE Journal and on the Editorial Boards of Progress in Energy and Combustion Sciences, J. Nanoparticle Research, Powder Technology, Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, J. Aerosol Science.