Synthesis and Analysis of Nanostructures - Jiří Pinkas
Synthesis and Analysis of Nanostructures - Jiří Pinkas


Prof. Jiří Pinkas, Ph.D. Prof. Jiří Pinkas, Ph.D.
Associate professor, head

Research areas

  • Nonhydrolytic sol-gel syntheses of porous metal oxides, phosphates, silicates,
  • metallo-organic coordination polymers and frameworks, molecular building blocks for metallo-phosphate materials
  • Sonochemical synthesis of binary and ternary metal oxide nanoparticles and precipitation of nuclear waste forms
  • Nanoparticles of metals and alloys as lead-free solders, calculation and verification of their phase diagrams
  • Theoretical studies of structural, magnetic, thermodynamic properties of intermetallic phases, magnetism of grain boundaries
  • Semiempirical phase equilibria modelling using the CALPHAD method, study and modelling (DICTRA) of phase transformations in alloys
  • Macrocyclic ligands, physico-chemical properties of complexes and applications in medicine, radiotherapy, and diagnostics (MRI, PET, SPECT, luminescence probes)
  • Development of sensors and sensor arrays – environmental/in vivo analysis
  • Laser ablation-ICP-MS applications to elemental mapping of corroded layers for structural materials of molten salt reactors (MSR), microanalysis of geological and archaeological samples, microanalysis and elemental mapping of biominerals and biological samples
  • Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) elemental mapping and microanalyses, development of LIBS analytical methods with LA-ICP-OES/MS
  • Application of nanomaterials in biological analysis (SALDI MS)

Main objectives

Fabrication of nanostructures using “bottom-up” methods

Nonhydrolytic sol-gel syntheses of nanoporous metal oxides, phosphates, and silicates. Synthesis and assembly of molecular building blocks into new materials. Sonochemical methods of nanoparticle synthesis, synthesis of alloy nanoparticles, synthesis of inorganic-organic complex materials, coordination and modified polymers and supramolecular entities. Surface mounted functional molecules. All the methods developed will be utilized directly for the fabrication of nanostructures, advanced materials and devices.

Investigation of the functional properties of nanostructures

Characterization and optimization of the functional properties of nanostructures for catalysis, nanoelectronics, nanophotonics and (bio)sensing; and their correlation with compositional, morphological, and structural parameters. Theoretical ab initio electronic structure calculations of structural, magnetic, and thermodynamic properties of materials. Novel and unique properties of nanostructures not observable in conventional materials and microstructures open ways to qualitatively new applications.

Research and development of submicron devices and nanostructures

Development of methods and techniques into higher functional integrated systems, optimized nanocatalysts, soldering formulation based on nanoalloy particles, nano- and micro-analytical systems and sensors and advanced materials for them. Nanostructures implemented into these systems will enhance the performance and efficiency of devices and systems and widen the areas for their applications e.g. in catalysis, separation, soldering, mapping and imaging, biosensing, biorecognition.

Research and development of analytical and measurement methods

Development of the techniques and methodologies for analysis of nanomaterials/nanostructures and for diagnostics of their properties – new techniques of elemental mapping, microanalysis, MS surface imaging, medical diagnostics, and biosensing. This will be used to meet the other objectives of the Advanced Nanotechnologies and Microtechnologies Research Programme and characterization of nano- and micro-structures in general.

Content of research

Fabrication of nanostructures using bottom-up methods

Sonochemical and thermolytic synthesis of nanomaterials

The preparation of nanomaterials by means of ultrasound and thermolytic methods – synthesis of nanoscopic metals, alloys, and metal oxides from newly designed precursors. The study of the mechanisms of sonochemical and thermolytic transformations of molecular precursors to solid-state products and ways to control these reactions. Emphasis on gaining control over the chemical constitution, phase composition, and morphology of the synthesized nanoparticles.

HRTEM image of the nanoalloy particles Cu20Ni
Synthesis of inorganic-organic materials – complexes, coordination polymers, modified polymers and supramolecular systems.

The development of methods for the preparation of molecular building blocks for the construction of new functional materials using the bottom-up approach. The complete characterization of the structure of new molecular species suitable for forming higher molecular, supramolecular, polymeric, and nanostructured systems. Studies of molecular features providing functionalities for binding or cross-linking leading to porous materials, metallo-organic, coordination and organic polymers. Studies of chemical properties including intermolecular interactions and self-organization properties. Tuning physico-chemical properties and experimental conditions influencing precursor reactivity for kinetic control of reactions. The expected applications are mainly aimed at catalysis, opto-electronics, nano-solders, gas storage, sensors in bio-analytical chemistry, self-assembled monolayers, the development of molecular machines, etc.

Investigation of the functional properties of nanostructures

The main goal is to find a correlation between the properties and the geometrical and structural parameters of nanostructures and to use this knowledge for feedback in the technology of their preparation and for various applications.

Theoretical studies of extended defects in metallic materials and of properties of intermetallic phases

  • Theoretical ab initio electronic structure calculations of structure and magnetism of grain boundaries.
  • Theoretical calculations of structural, magnetic, thermodynamic properties of intermetallic phases.
  • Semiempirical phase equilibria modelling using the CALPHAD (CALculation of PHAse Diagrams) method, also in nanoparticles and nanowires (nanoalloys).
  • Development and application of ab initio and semiempirical techniques for studies of the  chemical, mechanical and magnetic properties of extended defects in metallic materials and analysis of the effect of impurity segregation on their strength and ductility. Construction of phase diagrams of systems with complex intermetallic phases by a combination of ab initio electronic calculations and a phenomenological CALPHAD method, also in nanoparticles and nanowires (nanoalloys).

Research and development of instruments and methods for the investigation of nanomaterials and nanostructures

The development of methods and methodologies for the analysis of nanomaterials, nanostructures, for measuring their properties and the development of new analytical/diagnostic equipment and components. To surpass the limits of individual methods and the ambiguities of their results on the local characterization of individual nanoobjects the combinations of more analytical techniques and procedures will be developed.

Methods, such as desorption mass spectrometry with nanoparticle matrix (MALDI/SALDI TOF MS), high–throughput off-line analysis of microcolumn fractions (CE/HPLC – MALDI TOF MS), simultaneous detection: MALDI/ICP MS, fluorescence, capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection (CE-LIF) will be developed.

Mass spectrometry imaging and laser ablation-ICP-MS and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) elemental mapping will be applied to many diverse types of samples, such as corroded layers for structural materials of molten salt reactors (MSR), geological and archaeological samples, biominerals and biological samples.