January 8, 2013: Magnets & Nanotechnology

Science Pub RVA #6

Magnets Matter: The history and role of magnets in consumer alternative energy

Since the days when ancient people discovered simple lodestones, magnets have long fascinated man.  Today magnets power our blenders and TVs, power our subway systems, from powerful compact vacuum cleaners to hybrid cars magnets have now infiltrated our consumer market and they are essential for most technologies, including green energy applications.  Despite their various applications, however, development of magnets and magnetic materials has been extremely slow.  Dr. Carpenter presented some of the science surrounding this issue as well as his work with VCU colleagues to develop what  could be the first commercially available permanent magnet in over 30 years.  

Everett E. Carpenter is an associate professor of inorganic and materials chemistry, affiliate professor chemical and life science engineering and Science Director of VCU NANOCenter.  

Dr. Carpenter received his Ph.D. from University of New Orleans in 1999 and then spent one year as a National Research Council Fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).  In 2000, he was hired as a research chemist in the Materials Physics Branch at NRL.  While at NRL, he served as an adjunct faculty at Catholic University and was a founding member of the Navy’s Institute for Nanoscience.  In 2004, he moved his research to Virginia Commonwealth University department of Chemistry.  Dr. Carpenter has published over 95 peer reviewed publications, two book chapters, and one reference book entitled “Inorganic Materials Synthesis and Fabrication”.

Dr. Carpenter’s current major active research interests include the synthesis, characterization, and application of magnetic nanoparticles, specifically permanent magnet materials.  Of particular interest is the application of magnetic nanoparticles in drug delivery applications as well as targeted theranostics.  Dr. Carpenter is developing new contrast agent technologies for medical imaging.  In addition, special functionalized core-shell nanometals are being developed for point of care diagnostic technologies which utilize such techniques as surfaced enhanced Raman spectroscopy. 

While nanoparticles have the potential to have significant impact a significant problem that has been identified is the need to transition bench-scale research to larger-scale production for real world applications. To achieve this, Dr. Carpenter and his colleagues are investigating fundamental knowledge of the factors that govern nanoparticle synthesis which are required so that process parameters can properly be controlled during scale-up.

Dr. Carpenter has been funded by the Office of Naval Research’s casualty care program as a part of team that has produced novel technologies for controlled production of oxygen for use in portable oxygen generators, bandages, and other critical care uses.  His work as resulted in the awarding of several patents relating to materials and methods processing.