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  • Silica Nanospheres as Photonic Nanostructure Found in the ‘Disco’ Clam Ctennoides Ales

    Scientists from UC Berkeley have recently discovered that a strange naturally occurring bright display of the ‘disco’ or ‘electric’ clam Ctenoides ales is actually a photonic display created by a layer of silica nanospheres. The display functions solely by reflecting light.

    An article was published in the Journal of The Royal Society titled “A Dynamic Broadband Reflector Built from Microscopic Silica Spheres in the ‘Disco’ Clam Ctenoides Ales“, where the researchers shared their findings.

    Laboratory elemental analysis of the reflective nanospheres showed that they are indeed composed of amorphous silica. Both the outer shells and the cores are composed of silica. Silica nanospheres are secreted by the animal and used as a light scattering structure in a behavior modulated reflective photonic display.

    The measurements show that the diameter of the silica nanospheres is at around 300nanometers, an optimal particle size for scattering visible light, especially the shorter blue-green wavelengths of 400-500nm that predominate at 3-50m underwater, which is typically the clam’s habitat. In addition to the diameter, the highly organized packing structure of the nanospheres aid in the scattering of the visible light at the shorter wavelengths.

    The display is so bright that it has been mistakenly thought of as bioluminescent, but the findings show that it is actually based on light scattered by photonic nanostructures.

    Silica has a high index of refraction at n=1.43 at 589nm.

    Silica Nanospheres - 300nm in diameter

    Silica Nanospheres - 300nm in diameter - available from CosphericNano

    This study is extremely interesting to scientists in many different fields because it opens their minds up to many creative uses of silica nanospheres that have not been known before. The findings show a practical way to manipulate light in low light situations. Among its other advantages, silica, similar to glass, is a very durable material, with high melt point. Using silica nanospheres in tightly packed arrays to create photonic nanostructures seems like a great idea.

    Highly precise and spherical silica nanospheres with narrow size distribution, diameters around 300nm and sphericity of greater than 99% in dry powder from can be purchased from CosphericNano—a new website specializing in precise silica nanospheres.

  • Monodisperse Silica Nanospheres and Microspheres – Dry Powder

    Scientists are always pushing the limits of the technology and looking for more precise products and equipment to enable the next technology. Advances in nanotechnology is what enables this progress.  Nanoparticles are particles that have the dimensions of no less than 1 nanometer and no greater than 1000nanometers (1 micron). Nanospheres are specialized highly spherical nanoparticles. In an effort to provide our customers in the nanotechnology industry with specialty nanomaterials, Cospheric LLC has added a selection of highly precise and spherical monodisperse silica nanospheres to their broad product line and created CosphericNano – a website dedicated exclusively to nanospheres and nanoparticles.

    Silica Microspheres 3.8um DiameterSilica nanoparticles (nanospheres) and silica microspheres are now available in distributions of less than 10% CV in the sizes of 0.25 micron, 0.5 micron, 0.62 micron, 1 micron, 4 micron and 8 micron. Each product is extensively characterized under SEM (scanning electron microscope) to ensure perfect sphericity of each nanosphere and tight particle size specifications.

    Selection of Silica Nanospheres and Nanoparticles are available:

    SIO2MS 0.25um (250nm) <10% CV

    SIO2MS 0.48um (480nm) <10% CV

    SIO2MS 0.62um (620nm) <10% CV

    SIO2MS 1.15um  <10% CV

    SIO2MS 3.8um <10% CV

    SIO2MS 7.8um <10% CV

    SIO2MS 4-6um  (2-19um range)

    Dry precise monodisperse silica nanospheres are frequently used for biotechnology applications, sintering, microfluidics, electronics, optical coatings, spacers and other high tech applications.

  • ParaMagnetic Microspheres

    Paramagnetic microspheres have the ability to increase in magnetization with an applied magnetic field and loose their magnetism when the field is removed. Neither hysteresis nor residual magnetization is observed and that provides the end use two very practical advantages:

    • When the filed is removed, the microspheres demagnetize and re-disperse easily. This property allows efficient washing steps, low background and good reproducibility.
    • The behavior of the microspheres is always the same whatever the magnetization cycles may be. Such behavior is a key point for automated instrument.
    Black Paramagnetic Microspheres

    106-125um Magnetic Microspheres

    Recently black paramagnetic microspheres have been produced in larger sizes of 10 micron to 1mm (1000um) and in dry form enabling scientists to leverage the benefits of paramagnetic particles in new applications. These highly spherical polyethylene microspheres offer the flow-ability of standard microspheres, with the ability to be separated from other materials for re-use and cleanup.

    One use of paramagnetic microspheres as large as 1mm in diameter to simulate salmon eggs, Scientists are able to place them in a natural habitat, observe how they move with the water currents and then use their magnetic properties to clean them up.

    SuperParamagnetic microspheres, sometimes just called magnetic microspheres or paramagnetic microspheres have become widely used in the life sciences industry (<10um diameters) for applications such as:

    • Solid Phase Immunoassays
    • Bacteria Detection
    • High Throughput screening
    • Rapid Tests
    • Cell Sorting
    • Biosensors
    • Nucleic Acids Technology
    • Microfluidics1

    Super paramagnetic microspheres used in the life science industry are supplied in solution form.

    1. Merck Estapor Super Paramagnetic Microspheres Brochure

  • Dual nanocomposite multihollow polymer microspheres prepared by suspension polymerization based on a multiple pickering emulsion

    Excerpts from an interesting approach to creating hollow polymer microspheres from a pickering emulsion.


    A solid-stabilized multiple w/o/w or o/w/o emulsion was prepared in a two-step process. Various nanocomposite polymer microspheres with multihollow armored closed pores were fabricated easily by suspension polymerization of the multiple Pickering stabilized emulsions.

    Continue reading “Dual nanocomposite multihollow polymer microspheres prepared by suspension polymerization based on a multiple pickering emulsion” »