09/13/2007 12:29 AMNanotechnology and fashionPage 2 of 3http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/May07/nanofibers.fashion.aj.html
(c) Michael Grace-Martin
Nicole Grospe '07, left, and Andrea Clark'07 model clothing designed by Olivia Ong'07, at the Cornell Design League fashionshow. The dress and jacket containnanoparticles with antibacterial and air-purifying qualities.
A scanning electronmicroscope image shows acotton fiber with palladiumnanoparticle coating.
Anne Ju/Cornell Chronicle
Assistant professor JuanHinestroza and postdoctoralresearcher Hong Dong, in their Martha Van Rensselaer Hall lab.
innocently hip. But closer inspection -- witha microscope, that is -- shows an army of electrostatically charged nanoparticlescreating a protective shield around thecotton fibers in the top part of the dress,and the sleeves, hood and pockets of the jacket."It's something really moving toward thefuture, and really advanced," said Ong,who graduates in December and aspires todesign school. "I thought this couldpotentially be what fashion is movingtoward."Dong explained that the fabrics werecreated by dipping them in solutionscontaining nanoparticles synthesized inHinestroza's lab. The resultant colors arenot the product of dyes, but rather,reflections of manipulation of particle size or arrangement.The upper portion of the dress contains cotton coated with silver nanoparticles. Dong firstcreated positively charged cotton fibers using ammonium- and epoxy-based reactions,inducing positive ionization. The silver particles, about 10-20 nanometers across (ananometer is one-billionth of a meter) were synthesized in citric acid, which preventednanoparticle agglomeration.Dipping the positively charged cotton into thenegatively charged silver nanoparticle solutionresulted in the particles clinging to the cotton fibers.Silver possesses natural antibacterial qualities thatare strengthened at the nanoscale, thus giving Ong'sdress the ability to deactivate many harmful bacteriaand viruses. The silver infusion also reduces the needto wash the garment, since it destroys bacteria, andthe small size of the particles prevents soiling andstains.The denim jacket includes a hood, sleeves andpockets with soft, gray tweed cotton embedded withpalladium nanoparticles, about 5-10 nanometers inlength. To create the material, Dong placed negativelycharged palladium crystals onto positively chargedcotton fibers.Ong, though strictly a designer, was drawn especiallyto the science behind creating the anti-smog jacket."I thought it would be cool if [wearers] could wipe their hands on their sleeves or pockets," Ong said.Ong incorporated the resultant cotton fiber into a jacket with the ability to oxidize smog. Such propertieswould be useful for someone with allergies, or for protecting themselves from harmful gases in the