Ready for Transfer



Laboratory: Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)

Summary: The nanoFOAM technique produces self-supporting, nanoporous metal foams. A nanofoam is produced by igniting a pressed pellet of one of LANL’s special compounds in an inert atmosphere. The compounds are high-nitrogen, transition-metal complexes synthesized with a low-cost, high-volume method. To date, LANL has produced nanofoams of iron, cobalt, copper and silver, and expects to produce nanofoams of many of the more than 60 transition metals in the periodic table. The nanofoams have pore diameters of 20 nanometers to 1 micrometer, surface areas as high as 258 meters-squared per gram, and densities as low as 0.01 gram per cubic centimeter. These values compare favorably with those of silica aerogels, the lightest known solids.

Opportunity: Available for express licensing


Nanofoams can improve the efficiencies of:

  • Catalytic production of ammonia, sulfuric acid, fuels, plastics, solid shortening, and many other chemicals and products
  • Oil refining processes
  • Electrical generation from fuel cells that run on hydrocarbons
  • Silver biocidal filters that destroy liquid- or airborne germs or bioweapons on contact
  • Solid and liquid monopropellant rocket fuels
  • Targets for inertial-confinement fusion experiments

Nanofoams can also:

  • Improve the strength and heat transfer properties of jet-turbine blades while decreasing their weight
  • Reduce the emissions of nitrogen oxides from internal combustion engines and coal-fired power plants
  • Remediate chlorohydrocarbons in the environment
  • Enhance the sensitivity of biomedical detectors, and
  • Serve as electron sources for plasma TVs and as radar-absorbing materials.

Contact: For more information about the technology or the licensing opportunity, email

Review additional details at LANL’s listing for this technology.