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Pressure-Induced Fabrication of Nanomaterials


A simple, efficient approach to tuning and fabricating novel nanomaterial architectures with breakthrough properties using mechanical pressure


Nanomaterials possess shape and size-dependent properties for diverse applications such as sensing, optics, and catalysis. Currently, nanomaterials are synthesized using chemical methods that require specialized processing conditions, expensive reactors and requirements, added purification steps, and highly trained operators. Simplified nanoparticle synthesis presents opportunities to reduce production cost, improve quality and structure, and minimize the environmental and safety concerns related to current state of the art.

Sandia researchers have developed a simple, efficient approach to tune and fabricate novel nanomaterial architectures with breakthrough chemical and physical properties using mechanical pressure. The application of external pressure eliminates the need for specific chemical and physical interaction and provides a streamlined process. Pressure can be applied using a diamond anvil cell, piston-cylinder device, multi-anvil cell, or embossing machine. Gradual elevation of pressure can be applied below a threshold (8 GPa) to reversibly tune the interparticle spacing of ordered assemblies of metallic nanoparticles. When the applied stress exceeds the threshold pressure, the nanoparticle assemblies begin to contact, coalesce, and finally weld to form new nanostructures, such as nanorods, nanowires, and nanosheets.


  • Produces finer and cleaner results
  • Compatible with II-VI or IV-VI semiconductor materials
  • Can be used to refine metals and semiconductor materials
  • Eliminates environmentally harmful processes and residues

Applications and Industries

  • Photocatalysts and phototherapy solutions
  • Semiconductor fabrication
  • Optical devices
  • Nanomaterial fabrication
  • Nanosensors

Intellectual Property

ID Number
Patent Number
Tuning and synthesis of metallic nanostructures by mechanical compression 9,180,420 11/10/2015
Method for making nanomaterials 11478.1 8,455,048 06/04/2013
Tuning and synthesis of semiconductor nanostructures by mechanical compression 9,187,646 11/17/2015
Technology IDSD# 11478, 12473Development StageDevelopment - TRL 3-4AvailabilityAvailablePublished02/25/2021Last Updated02/25/2021