Soot forensics: Carbon fingerprints reveal curved nanostructure | 9/19/2018 | Staff
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Researchers have moved one step closer to reducing air pollution from engines by imaging soot nanoparticles to reveal their unique signatures. The nanoparticle structures are like fingerprints, revealing curved fullerene-like molecules and helping to shed light on the earliest stages of soot formation.

Soot makes up a large proportion of human pollution, clogging our engines and lungs. Soot also contributes to heating the atmosphere while airborne and warming ice once settled, damaging the planet.

Soot - Formation - Engines - Presents - Opportunity

Understanding how to stop soot formation in engines presents a unique opportunity to rapidly reduce warming, increase air quality and improve engine efficiency. However, achieving this has been challenging due to the speed and complexity of the chemical reactions involved.

In a recent publication, researchers from the University of Cambridge, National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University used an electron beam to image the carbon-rich, saucer shaped molecules that make up soot. Each dark fringe, which corresponds to one of these saucers imaged side-on, was analyzed. Interestingly, they found that these early soot nanoparticles contain many curved molecules, indicating pentagon integration into the normally hexagonal arrangement of carbon atoms. The majority of fringes (>62.5 percent) indicated pentagon-induced...
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