The research group from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY) led by Ganapathiraman Ramanath was able to glue two materials together a one nanometer-high layer of polymer chains. This thin but very strong nanoglue could become a useful adhesive in computer chips and other materials devices where thicker layers wouldn’t fit. One other unique property of the glue is that it can withstands temperatures up to 700°C so it could be used to hold paint on hot surfaces such as the inside of jet engines.

The polymer based glue that the research team used is commercially available with the price tag of only $35 per 100 grams. The scientist dramatically enhanced the polymer by sandwiching it between a thin layer of silica and copper, and then exposing it to 400°C that made the nanolayered polymer form very strong chemical bonds with adjoining surfaces. And the more this nanosandwich was exposed to the heat, the stronger the chemical bonds would get; whereas, in earlier experiments an unprotected nanolayer would degrade or detach from a surface when heated to 400 degrees Celsius.

“This could be a versatile and inexpensive solution to connect any two materials that donâ??t bond well with each other,â? Ramanath said. â??Although the concept is not intuitive at first, it is simple, and could be implemented for a wide variety of potential commercial applications.

Nanosandwich: green ball: silicon, blue: sulphur, red: carbon, white: hydrogen


References: D D Gandhi et al, Nature, 2007, 447, 299