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Center for Molecular Science : Hoff Research Nanofibers

Electrospinning Nanofibers for Enhanced Solid Phase Microextraction  

The industrial production of polymer fibers is called spinning, although there is usually no rotational movement at all and the process is actually an extrusion.  In electrospinning, the same extrusion process is combined with a very high electric field (10-25 kV).  Emerging droplets, under the force of this field, are drawn out by electrostatic forces until they literally explode along the direction of the field.  This allows rapid evaporation of the solvent and forms fibers in the sub-micron diameter range.  The tremendous surface area this creates offers opportunities for advantages in the adsorptive processes involved in detection and quantification for both toxic chemicals and explosives.  This project will develop the physical parameters for electrospinning a broad variety of polymeric fibers.   These will be tested using protocols developed in conjunction with Dr Riegner of this department and  Dr’s Willis and Mantooth of the chemical decontamination branch of the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, to assess their potential for use in detection and decontamination projects.  In addition, Dr Mantooth and Dr Willis are working on a broader project to develop structure-function relationships that govern the transport of contaminants and decontaminants in bulk materials.  The measurement of adsorption isotherms and transport kinetics with these fibers will provide inputs for this project.

Recent efforts have involved successful deposition of fibers onto 0.7 mm metal rod supports, mimicking the physical structure of Solid Phase Microextraction probes.  

Hoff research nanofibers.png

Electrospun polystyrene as (upper left) droplets, (upper right) droplets with nascent fibers, (lower left)
fibers with residual droplets, (lower right) pure fibers.


Point of contact
Dr. Richard Hoff