The discovery of new colloidal nanoparticles

Researchers based at The University of St Andrews’ School of Chemistry have been working with a DrySyn Spiral Evaporator as part of their work to synthesize novel reactive colloidal nanoparticles. These nanoparticles represent a promising tool in the development of a new generation of ‘smart’ nanomaterials.

Nanomaterials’ unique properties make them suitable for a diverse array of applications, ranging from use in smart drug delivery systems to new catalysts and the enhancement of solar cell efficiency. Despite this promise, the field is hindered by limited synthetic capabilities.

Virginie Viseur and Ellie Reid from the Kay Group

Virginie Viseur and Ellie Reid from the Kay Group. Image Credit: Asynt

Research at the University of St Andrews’ laboratory exists at the nexus of supramolecular chemistry and nanomaterials.

In particular, Dr. Euan Kay’s research group is working to translate supramolecular chemistry concepts into applicable processes for nanomaterials, in order to achieve molecular-level control over structure and function.

Dr. Kay’s team is developing an array of new synthetic methodologies based on novel colloidal nanoparticles. These nanoparticles are suitable for handling ‘in solution’ in a similar fashion to larger molecules.

This work will allow researchers to effectively combine synthetic supramolecular chemistry principles and molecular science’s analytical tools to control and characterize nanoscale structures with molecular precision.

The discovery of new colloidal nanoparticles

Image Credit: Asynt

Dr. Kay elaborates on this work:

“The DrySyn Spiral Evaporator was mainly purchased for the removal of high boiling point solvents, such as water, dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) and dimethylformamide (DMF), to produce dry samples of organic compounds and nanoparticles, and for removing solvent traces when transferring small samples into vials for storage.”

“Before acquiring the DrySyn Spiral Evaporator from Asynt, we would dry down samples in rotary evaporators which were prone to solvent bumping (creating an unwanted sample clean-up).”

“Alternatively, we would evaporate solvents from vials using a stream of compressed air. This option is only really feasible for lower boiling point solvents. Some of the nanomaterials we work with are only readily dispersed in water or DMF.”

“Having the possibility to dry samples directly into vials, without resorting to freeze drying, is a big benefit to us both in terms of productivity and sample stability during storage.”

“In many situations, the DrySyn Spiral Evaporator has shown itself to be more practical and faster than other methods. In addition, several of our bespoke molecular precursors are dense oils.”

“Without the spiral evaporator, these were particularly difficult to dry down into vials (traces of solvents were left, bumps occurring while drying caused the loss of material). Because of the spiral evaporation effect of this instrument, oils are not static while drying, avoiding bumps and achieving far more efficient removal of solvent traces.”

“We would definitively recommend the DrySyn Spiral Evaporator to others for all the reasons explained above. The instrument is easy to set up and takes up very little space, which is an important bonus in a crowded lab environment.”

About Asynt

Asynt was formed in July 2003 with the aim to develop, supply and support new, sustainable and novel products central to the laboratory.

Since inception, they have developed the DrySyn range (a clean, safe alternative to oil baths and heating mantles) both reducing costs in purchasing / disposal of oil and a 35% reduction in energy consumption.

They also take pride in reducing laboratory water consumption using their air cooled CondenSyn units and highly effective water circulators.

The current team has over 70 years of experience in the scientific sector and work hard to help their customers find the best possible solutions for their requirements.

Key product lines available include Asynt ReactoMate Controlled Lab Reactors, the DrySyn heating and cooling blocks, and tools from Grant, IKA, Julabo, Huber, Porvair, Telstar and Vacuubrand amongst others. With a broad range of scientific equipment and consumables ranging from bench top laboratory scale to pilot plant and beyond both in the chemical and biological sectors.

Asynt’s Managing Director, Martyn Fordham, spent almost twenty years dealing with the requirements of research chemists (at the outset just custom glassblowing) before forming Asynt. For Martyn, having the right staff who are both knowledgeable and dedicated to customer support has been the key to Asynt’s successful growth.


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Last updated: Apr 21, 2022 at 1:14 PM

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