National Nanomanufacturing Network

The Impact of Nanomanufacturing on the Flexible Electronics Opportunity

National Nanomanufacturing Network - January 30, 2015 - 10:17am
The National Academy of Engineering report that was just released in 2014 on “The Flexible Electronics Opportunity (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/18812/the-flexible-electronics-opportunity) ” has re-established interest in this growing area which includes strategic opportunities for several future technology platforms, including the Internet of Things, and wearable sensors and systems. The key recommendations are well aligned with strategies, goals and public-private partnerships that have been developing over the past decade. Key recommendations from the report are consistent with the challenges and opportunities that the relevant committees have determined, with the committee recommending the following: The United States should increase funding of basic research related to flexible electronics and augment support for university-based consortia to develop prototypes, manufacturing processes, and products in close collaboration with contributing industrial partners. Consortia, bringing together industry, universities, and various levels of government, should be used as a means of fostering precompetitive applied research in flexible electronics. The United States should establish and support a network of user facilities dedicated to flexible electronics. Where possible, federal efforts to support the growth of competitive flexible electronics industries should leverage state and regional developmental efforts, with the objective of establishing co-located local supply chains and capturing the associated cluster synergies.Agency mission needs should help drive demand for flexible electronics technologies, while lowering costs, improving capabilities, and contributing to the development of a skilled workforce. These recommendations build upon the developments by numerous institutions in establishing industry consortia user facilities to transition the innovations in materials, processes, and integration to industrially meaningful platforms. As such, innovations in nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing processes emerging from NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers (NSECS) and Nanosystems Engineering Research Centers (NERCs) will play a pivotal role in the innovation cycle to accelerate developments in flexible-hybrid electronics technologies and manufacturing platforms. Complimenting this are the manufacturing demonstration facilities that have been established at various universities as industry user facilities to take advantage of these emerging processes and cutting edge tools that are unavailable elsewhere. Examples include the Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM) at Binghamton University, the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University, and the Center for Advanced Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The examples of academic driven public-private partnerships provide leading edge capabilities accessible to industry for acceleration of innovative product development.

'Bulletproof' battery: Kevlar membrane for safer, thinner lithium rechargeables

National Nanomanufacturing Network - January 29, 2015 - 9:19am
New battery technology from the University of Michigan should be able to prevent the kind of fires that grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliners in 2013. The innovation is an advanced barrier between the electrodes in a lithium-ion battery. Made with nanofibers extracted from Kevlar, the tough material in bulletproof vests, the barrier stifles the growth of metal tendrils that can become unwanted pathways for electrical current. A U-M team of researchers also founded Ann Arbor-based Elegus Technologies to bring this research from the lab to market. Mass production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter 2016. "Unlike other ultra strong materials such as carbon nanotubes, Kevlar is an insulator," said Nicholas Kotov, the Joseph B. and Florence V. Cejka Professor of Engineering. "This property is perfect for separators that need to prevent shorting between two electrodes."Lithium-ion batteries work by shuttling lithium ions from one electrode to the other. This creates a charge imbalance, and since electrons can't go through the membrane between the electrodes, they go through a circuit instead and do something useful on the way. But if the holes in the membrane are too big, the lithium atoms can build themselves into fern-like structures, called dendrites, which eventually poke through the membrane. If they reach the other electrode, the electrons have a path within the battery, shorting out the circuit. This is how the battery fires on the Boeing 787 are thought to have started. "The fern shape is particularly difficult to stop because of its nanoscale tip," said Siu On Tung, a graduate student in Kotov's lab, as well as chief technology officer at Elegus. "It was very important that the fibers formed smaller pores than the tip size." While the widths of pores in other membranes are a few hundred nanometers, or a few hundred-thousandths of a centimeter, the pores in the membrane developed at U-M are 15-to-20 nanometers across. They are large enough to let individual lithium ions pass, but small enough to block the 20-to-50-nanometer tips of the fern-structures. The researchers made the membrane by layering the fibers on top of each other in thin sheets. This method keeps the chain-like molecules in the plastic stretched out, which is important for good lithium-ion conductivity between the electrodes, Tung said. "The special feature of this material is we can make it very thin, so we can get more energy into the same battery cell size, or we can shrink the cell size," said Dan VanderLey, an engineer who helped found Elegus through U-M's Master of Entrepreneurship program. "We've seen a lot of interest from people looking to make thinner products." Thirty companies have requested samples of the material. Kevlar's heat resistance could also lead to safer batteries as the membrane stands a better chance of surviving a fire than most membranes currently in use. While the team is satisfied with the membrane's ability to block the lithium dendrites, they are currently looking for ways to improve the flow of loose lithium ions so that batteries can charge and release their energy more quickly. The study, "A dendrite-suppressing solid ion conductor from aramid nanofibers," (http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150127/ncomms7152/full/ncomms7152.html) appeared online Jan. 27 in Nature Communications. Source: University of Michigan (http://ns.umich.edu/new/multimedia/slideshows/22645-bulletproof-battery-kevlar-membrane-for-safer-thinner-lithium-rechargeables)

Fully transparent, rollable electronics built with a graphene/carbon nanotube backbone

National Nanomanufacturing Network - January 29, 2015 - 9:00am
The coming age of wearable, highly flexible and transparent electronic devices will rely on essentially invisible electronic and optoelectronic circuits. In order to have close to invisible circuitry, one must have optically transparent thin-film transistors (TFTs). In order to have flexibility, one needs bendable substrates. Both flexible electronics and transparent electronics have been demonstrated before, but never rollable electronics that are also fully transparent at the same time. This has now been achieved by a team of researchers in Korea, who have successfully built rollable and transparent electronic devices that are not only lightweight, but also don't break easily. To manufacture flexible electronics, one needs a starting material – the substrate – on which to build-up the device. In order for the final product to be flexible, the substrate of course also has to be flexible. In fact, it is the substrate that determines, to a large extent, the overall flexibility of the final product. So if the substrate is flexible to an extent of being rollable – which can be achieved making it very thin – the final product will also, to some extent, be rollable. Of course, the semiconductors, dielectrics, and metals making up the electronic device, should also be similarly flexible (or soft), otherwise faults will occur. Plastics are the obvious choice for flexible substrates as the substrates are also required to be insulating (nonconductive) in most applications. Other obvious advantages of plastics are that they are lightweight and non-breakable. A team led by Professor Jin Jang, Director of the Department of Information Display (http://display.khu.ac.kr/) at Kyung Hee University, has achieved this by overcoming two major challenges associated with the manufacture of flexible electronics: The temperature restriction of plastic substrates (<100°C) and the difficulty of handling flexible electronics during the fabrication process. They reported their findings in ACS Applied Materials Interfaces ("Fully Transparent and Rollable Electronics" (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1021/am506937s)). "To overcome the temperature restriction we chose our plastic substrate to be polyimide (PI), which is a polymer of imide monomers," Jang explains to Nanowerk. "PI has high chemical and heat resistance and when it is colorless, which is the case of this research, it withstands processing temperatures around 300°C." The researchers also chose an amorphous oxide semiconductor – amorphous-indium-gallium-zinc-oxide (a-IGZO) – which assures good device performance even when sputter-deposited at low temperatures. For consistency, they also chose a zinc-based metal, indium-zinc-oxide (IZO), for the metal electrodes – i.e. the gate, source, and drain electrodes of the field-effect transistors making up the electronic devices. "Both the a-IGZO and IZO have large band-gaps, and therefore, are transparent to visible light," says Jang. "As the dielectrics are also transparent and the substrate (PI) is colorless, the final product is see-through with a transmittance of 70% for the full circuit device. The colorless PI (CPI) is 15 µm thick and the thickness of the electronic devices is ∼1 µm, resulting in a total thickness of the fabricated thin-film transistor of only ∼16 µm. Hence, the electronic devices are rollable." In order to deal with the second major challenge – the difficulty of handling flexible electronics during the fabrication process – the researchers used a carrier glass substrate on which the CPI is first spin-coated from solution, and then detached from after device fabrication. Being around 0.7 mm in thickness, the carrier glass is rigid enough to provide mechanical support for the CPI, without which accurate layer registration is impossible during photolithography. This is because standalone plastics substrates can warp, shrink, or bulge at high temperatures. "A rigid carrier substrate is, therefore, a necessity when vacuum processes and photolithography are involved," Jang notes. "However, the way the flexible substrate is attached to the rigid carrier substrate is important as it has to be detached from the carrier substrate after device fabrication. The use of adhesive materials/glues to attach flexible substrates to carrier substrates is not recommended as most adhesives cannot withstand high processing temperatures." An alternative method is to spin-coat the flexible substrate from solution onto the carrier substrate. Although this method avoids the use of adhesive materials, it is very difficult to detach the flexible substrate from the carrier substrate afterwards because bonds between the two have a tendency of strengthening during the fabrication process. "The current solution is to deposit a thin layer such as amorphous-silicon between the flexible substrate and the carrier substrate, which can be evaporated by a laser to release the flexible substrate from the carrier substrate after device fabrication," says Jang. "Given the high cost of installing laser equipment, the complexity of the laser detachment process, and the limitations of the laser beam size, we felt their was a need for a better method." In their research, Jang's team do not use adhesive material or lasers. Neither do they deposit a layer of amorphous-silicon between the carrier glass and the CPI. Instead, they spin coat a mixture of carbon nanotubes (CNT) and graphene oxide (GO) to a thickness of 1 nm from solution onto of the carrier glass before spin coating the CPI. "As the CNT/GO layer has a flake like structure with CNT links, it decreases the area where the CPI contacts the glass, thereby reducing its adhesion to glass," explains Jang. "Inserting the CNT/GO layer also doesn't cost much because only a few drops are required to achieve a thickness around 1 nm." After fabrication, only a small amount of mechanical force is required to detach the CPI from the glass. According to the scientists, the beauty of having the CNT/GO layer is that it bonds stronger with the CPI compared to the glass, such that it remains embedded to the backside of the CPI after detachment – providing mechanical support to the flexible electronics and making the rollable electronics wrinkle-free. Electronic devices built on plastic substrates are prone to electrostatic discharge (ESD) damage because plastics are usually associated with the generation of electrostatic charge. By contrast, the CPI in this present work is ESD-free because localized ESD can be released via the conductive CNT. In their experiments, the team rolled the TFT devices 100 times on a cylinder with radius of 4 mm, without significantly degrading their performance. Integrated circuits also operated without degradation, while being bent to a radius of 2 mm, making these devices suitable for transparent and rollable displays. Source: Nanowerk (http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=38815.php)

Nanowire clothing could keep people warm — without heating everything else

National Nanomanufacturing Network - January 29, 2015 - 8:49am
To stay warm when temperatures drop outside, we heat our indoor spaces — even when no one is in them. But scientists have now developed a novel nanowire coating for clothes that can both generate heat and trap the heat from our bodies better than regular clothes. They report on their technology, which could help us reduce our reliance on conventional energy sources, in the ACS journal Nano Letters ("Personal Thermal Management by Metallic Nanowire-Coated Textile" (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1021/nl5036572)). Yi Cui and colleagues note that nearly half of global energy consumption goes toward heating buildings and homes. But this comfort comes with a considerable environmental cost – it's responsible for up to a third of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists and policymakers have tried to reduce the impact of indoor heating by improving insulation and construction materials to keep fuel-generated warmth inside. Cui's team wanted to take a different approach and focus on people rather than spaces. The researchers developed lightweight, breathable mesh materials that are flexible enough to coat normal clothes. When compared to regular clothing material, the special nanowire cloth trapped body heat far more effectively. Because the coatings are made out of conductive materials, they can also be actively warmed with an electricity source to further crank up the heat. The researchers calculated that their thermal textiles could save about 1,000 kilowatt hours per person every year — that's about how much electricity an average U.S. home consumes in one month. Source: American Chemical Society (http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2015/acs-presspac-january-28-2015/nanowire-clothing-could-keep-people-warm-without-heating-everything-else.html)

Wearable Sensor Smooths Path to Long-Term EKG, EMG Monitoring

National Nanomanufacturing Network - January 22, 2015 - 6:26am
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new, wearable sensor that uses silver nanowires to monitor electrophysiological signals, such as electrocardiography (EKG) or electromyography (EMG). The new sensor is as accurate as the “wet electrode” sensors used in hospitals, but can be used for long-term monitoring and is more accurate than existing sensors when a patient is moving. Long-term monitoring of electrophysiological signals can be used to track patient health or assist in medical research, and may also be used in the development of new powered prosthetics that respond to a patient’s muscular signals. Electrophysiological sensors used in hospitals, such as EKGs, use wet electrodes that rely on an electrolytic gel between the sensor and the patient’s skin to improve the sensor’s ability to pick up the body’s electrical signals. However, this technology poses problems for long-term monitoring, because the gel dries up – irritating the patient’s skin and making the sensor less accurate. The new nanowire sensor is comparable to the wet sensors in terms of signal quality, but is a “dry” electrode – it doesn’t use a gel layer, so doesn’t pose the same problems that wet sensors do. “People have developed other dry electrodes in the past few years, and some have demonstrated the potential to rival the wet electrodes, but our new electrode has better signal quality than most – if not all – of the existing dry electrodes. It is more accurate,” says Dr. Yong Zhu, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper describing the work. “In addition, our electrode is mechanically robust, because the nanowires are inlaid in the polymer.” The sensors stem from Zhu’s earlier work to create highly conductive and elastic conductors (https://news.ncsu.edu/2012/07/wms-zhu-silver-stretch/) made from silver nanowires, and consist of one layer of nanowires in a stretchable polymer. The new sensor is also more accurate than existing technologies at monitoring electrophysiological signals when a patient is in motion. “The silver nanowire sensors conform to a patient’s skin, creating close contact,” Zhu says. “And, because the nanowires are so flexible, the sensor maintains that close contact even when the patient moves. The nanowires are also highly conductive, which is key to the high signal quality.” The new sensors are also compatible with standard EKG- and EMG-reading devices. “I think these sensors are essentially ready for use,” Zhu says “The raw materials of the sensor are comparable in cost to existing wet sensors, but we are still exploring ways of improving the manufacturing process to reduce the overall cost.” An uncorrected proof of the paper, “Wearable Silver Nanowire Dry Electrodes for Electrophysiological Sensing (http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2015/ra/c4ra15101a#%21divAbstract),” was published online Jan. 14 in RSC Advances, immediately after acceptance. Lead author of the paper is Amanda Myers, a Ph.D. student at NC State. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Helen Huang, an associate professor in the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Source: North Carolina State University

NanoSphere Health Sciences Announces Patent-Pending Status for Nanoparticle Encapsulation of NSAIDs

National Nanomanufacturing Network - January 16, 2015 - 3:19am
NanoSphere Health Sciences, LLC, innovative developers of the industry-first, patent-pending NanoSphere™ delivery system, announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark office issued "Patent Pending" status for its new NSAID NanoSphere technology platform. NanoSphere Health's NSAIDs are the first to encapsulate prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen, etc.) as a method to treat and prevent inflammatory disorders and global inflammation and pain. The use of the NanoSphere delivery technology eliminates and alleviates many of the severe side effects NSAIDs can have, such as stomach irritation, stomach bleeding and GI bleeding, among others. At the same time, it increases the therapeutic activity of NSAIDs for safe, long-term and more effective therapy. NanoSphere NSAIDs are uniquely designed to be administered intraorally, intranasally and transdermally. The convenient liquid nanogels bypass the GI tract avoiding gastrointestinal irritation. When taken perorally, NanoSphere NSAIDs' structure of purified essential phospholipids maintains the protective GI tract mucosa barrier from damage by NSAIDs. The NanoSphere NSAIDs are then efficiently transported into the circulatory system for greater therapeutic activity in safely treating inflammatory conditions and relieving pain. "We are excited to announce that NanoSphere's NSAID technology platform has achieved a 'Patent Pending' status, protecting the intellectual property of our NanoSphere delivery system within NSAIDs," said Dr. Richard Kaufman, Chief Science Officer at NanoSphere Health Sciences. "Our disruptive NanoSphere delivery biotechnology introduces a significant advancement in the therapeutic potential and safety of OTC and prescription NSAIDs along with a tremendous growth potential." NSAIDs cause a range of gastrointestinal problems from mild upset stomach to serious conditions such as stomach bleeding, ulcers and kidney damage, factors which often limit their use. Among patients using NSAIDs, 30-40% have some degree of GI intolerance. NSAIDs physically damage the protective GI mucosa surface and promote bleeding. Furthermore, NSAIDs are fat-soluble drugs with low solubility and dissolution in water. This makes OTC and prescription NSAID pills hard to absorb and contributes to their causing GI problems. "The problems with current NSAID therapy are glaringly apparent," says Terry Grossman M.D., Medical Director at NanoSphere Health Sciences. "NSAIDs have low bioavailability and limited delivery into inflamed areas. They produce adverse effects, compounded with the fact that nearly half the population has difficulties swallowing currently sold NSAID pills and capsules." The company's patent-pending phospholipid nanoparticle encapsulation of NSAIDs technology provides the following potential benefits: Higher Concentration of NSAIDs Increased Bioavailability of NSAIDs (2-fold to 10-fold) Decreased Dosage of NSAIDS (2-fold to 10-fold) Enables Safe, Long-Term Use and More Efficacious NSAID Therapy and Treatment Reduced Risk of Gastrointestinal Problems Transport into and Targeting of Specific Body Sites Delivery into the Central Nervous System Enhanced Therapeutic Value Ideal for Long-Term and Daily Use NanoSphere Health expects availability of commercial licensing by the second quarter of 2015, after clinical trials have been completed. About NanoSphere Health Sciences, LLC With its headquarters in Denver, Colorado, NanoSphere Health Sciences is a biotechnology firm specializing in the creation of NanoSphere delivery systems for the supplement, nutraceutical, OTC and pharmaceutical industries. For more information, visit www.nanospherehealth.com (http://www.nanospherehealth.com) Source: NanoSphere Health Sciences

TechConnect World/Nanotech 2015 - Technical Call for Papers

National Nanomanufacturing Network - January 13, 2015 - 4:17am
TechConnect World/Nanotech 2015 - Conference and ExpoJune14-17, 2015Washington, DC Final Call for Abstracts Innovations - Friday Jan. 16 Nanotech 2015/TechConnect World Innovation Conference June 14-17, 2015 - Washington DCFor an InterNano supporting partnership 10% discount on registration (http://www.techconnectworld.com/World2015/register.html) enter our code: INANO10 Abstract submission will close on Friday, January 16, for the TechConnect World Innovation Conference, June 14-17, Gaylord Convention Center, Washington DC, USA. On behalf of our symposium organizers we warmly invite you to submit your research abstract and participate in this exciting international event. How to Participate: Submit Your Abstract - due January 16th Submit your technical research and development innovations for review and consideration for podium or poster presentation. Submit Your Innovation - due January 30th We are looking for breakthrough technologies that are ready for licensing, corporate partnering, or investment opportunities. Innovators and Prospectors Include: All U.S. Funding AgenciesAll U.S. National Labs Top-tier Academic Innovators State Country Innovation Delegations • Global Corporate Innovation Prospectors For further information, please visit: http://www.techconnectworld.com/World2015/ (http://www.techconnectworld.com/World2015/)Authors of research submissions, upon acceptance, registration (http://www.techconnectworld.com/World2015/register.html) enter our code: INANO10 About the event: The world’s largest nanotechnology event, Nanotech 2015, delivers application-focused research from the top international academic, government and private industry labs. Thousands of leading researchers, scientists, engineers and technology developers participate in Nanotech to identify new technology trends, development tools, product opportunities, R D collaborations, and commercialization partners. Join the global community that has been working together for over 17 years to integrate nanotechnology into industry with a focus on scale, safety and cost-effectiveness.The joint TechConnect World and the National Innovation Summit is uniquely designed to accelerate the commercialization of innovations, out of the lab and into industry. TechConnect World is divided into a Technical Research Program and an Innovation Partnering Program, gathering the world's leading market-focused research and commercially-viable innovations into the largest global technology accelerator program.

"Global Leadership and Service Award" of the International Union of Materials ...

National Nanomanufacturing Network - January 9, 2015 - 4:32am
The IUMRS Global Leadership and Service Award for 2015 will be awarded to Dr. Mihail Roco, Mr. Christos Tokamanis, and Dr. Paul Siffert at a ceremony to be held at the European Parliament on Monday, 23rd February 2015 For 2015, the Award honors very distinguished individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership through services having measurable impact in the fields of Nanotechnology and materials for the global community: Professor Doctor Mihail Roco, the founding Chair of the National Science and Technology Council's subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology of USA National Science Foundation, for his extra-ordinary services in the area of Nanotechnology with significant impact in the USA and around the world. Mr. Christos Tokamanis, head of Unit "Advanced Materials and Nano Technologies" - Directorate "Key Enabling Technologies, Research Innovation", European Commission, for the outstanding services to the European Union community in supporting an effective and efficient nanotechnology policy integrating the needs of innovation with societal impact and responsible governance. Professor Doctor Paul Siffert, founder and First President of the "European Materials Research, Society" (E-MRS); General Secretary of the "European Materials Forum" (EMF) and of the "European Materials Research Society" (E-MRS), Czochralski Gold Medal, and for 30 years of dedicated services to European and Global Materials Community. The IUMRS has a mission of supporting excellence in materials research and education, and development of future leaders to work together for a world that has critical needs in order to sustain itself. Accordingly, to promote this mission, IUMRS announced the Global Leadership and Service Award. This Award will be given to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership through service having measurable impact to the global community, relating to materials research and education. Source: IUMRS (http://www.iumrshq.org/attachments/197_Poster_Global_Awards_%281%29-final2-.pdf)

New webinar series focuses on the experiences of nanotechnology businesses

National Nanomanufacturing Network - January 9, 2015 - 4:10am
Webinar 1: Roadblocks to Success in Nanotechnology Commercialization – What Keeps the Small and Medium Enterprise Community Up at Night? What: The NNCO will hold a series of webinars focusing on the experiences, successes, and challenges for small- and medium-sized businesses working in nanotechnology and on issues of interest to the business community. The first webinar is “Roadblocks to Success in Nanotechnology Commercialization – What Keeps the Small and Medium Enterprise Community Up at Night?” When: The first webinar will be held Thursday, January 15, 2015, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST. This webinar will be a round-table discussion with small and medium-sized businesses involved in nanotechnology commercialization focused on understanding common problems that they face and identifying those problems that the NNCO and NSET can assist in overcoming. Who: Craig Bandes, Pixelligent LLC Doyle Edwards, Brewer Science Inc. Scott Rickert, PEN Inc. How: Questions of interest to the small- and medium-sized business community may be submitted to webinar@nnco.nano.gov (mailto:webinar@nnco.nano.gov) beginning one week prior to the event through the close of the webinar. During the question-and-answer segment of the webinars, submitted questions will be considered in the order received and may be posted on the NNI Web site (www.nano.gov (http://www.nano.gov/)). A moderator will identify relevant questions and pose them to the panelists. Due to time constraints, not all questions may be addressed during the webinar. The moderator reserves the right to group similar questions and to skip questions, as appropriate. Registration: Click here to register for this free, online event. (https://events-na12.adobeconnect.com/content/connect/c1/1305935587/en/events/event/shared/default_template/event_registration.html?sco-id=1309829163 _charset_=utf-8) Registration for the webinar is required and is on a first-come, first-served basis and will be capped at 200 participants. Source: NNCO (http://www.nano.gov/SMEwebinars2015)

Piezoelectricity in a 2D Semiconductor

National Nanomanufacturing Network - December 23, 2014 - 8:09am
Berkeley Lab Researchers Discovery of Piezoelectricty in Molybdenum Disulfide Holds Promise for Future MEMSA door has been opened to low-power off/on switches in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoelectronic devices, as well as ultrasensitive bio-sensors, with the first observation of piezoelectricity in a free standing two-dimensional semiconductor by a team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Xiang Zhang, director of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and an international authority on nanoscale engineering, led a study in which piezoelectricity – the conversion of mechanical energy into electricity or vice versa – was demonstrated in a free standing single layer of molybdenum disulfide, a 2D semiconductor that is a potential successor to silicon for faster electronic devices in the future. “Piezoelectricity is a well-known effect in bulk crystals, but this is the first quantitative measurement of the piezoelectric effect in a single layer of molecules that has intrinsic in-plane dipoles,” Zhang says. “The discovery of piezoelectricity at the molecular level not only is fundamentally interesting, but also could lead to tunable piezo-materials and devices for extremely small force generation and sensing.”Zhang, who holds the Ernest S. Kuh Endowed Chair at the University of California (UC) Berkeley and is a member of the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at Berkeley, is the corresponding author of a paper in Nature Nanotechnology describing this research. The paper is titled “Observation of Piezoelectricity in Free-standing Monolayer MoS2.” The co-lead authors are Hanyu Zhu and Yuan Wang, both members of Zhang’s UC Berkeley research group. (See below for a complete list of co-authors.) Since its discovery in 1880, the piezoelectric effect has found wide application in bulk materials, including actuators, sensors and energy harvesters. There is rising interest in using nanoscale piezoelectric materials to provide the lowest possible power consumption for on/off switches in MEMS and other types of electronic computing systems. However, when material thickness approaches a single molecular layer, the large surface energy can cause piezoelectric structures to be thermodynamically unstable. Over the past couple of years, Zhang and his group have been carrying out detailed studies of molybdenum disulfide, a 2D semiconductor that features high electrical conductance comparable to that of graphene, but, unlike graphene, has natural energy band-gaps, which means its conductance can be switched off. “Transition metal dichalcogenides such as molybdenum disulfide can retain their atomic structures down to the single layer limit without lattice reconstruction, even in ambient conditions,” Zhang says. “Recent calculations predicted the existence of piezoelectricity in these 2D crystals due to their broken inversion symmetry. To test this, we combined a laterally applied electric field with nano-indentation in an atomic force microscope for the measurement of piezoelectrically-generated membrane stress.”Zhang and his group used a free-standing molybdenum disulfide single layer crystal to avoid any substrate effects, such as doping and parasitic charge, in their measurements of the intrinsic piezoelectricity. They recorded a piezoelectric coefficient of 2.9×10-10 C/m, which is comparable to many widely used materials such as zinc oxide and aluminum nitride. “Knowing the piezoelectric coefficient is important for designing atomically thin devices and estimating their performance,” says Nature paper co-lead author Zhu. “The piezoelectric coefficient we found in molybdenum disulfide is sufficient for use in low-power logic switches and biological sensors that are sensitive to molecular mass limits.” Zhang, Zhu and their co-authors also discovered that if several single layers of molybdenum disulfide crystal were stacked on top of one another, piezoelectricity was only present in the odd number of layers (1,3,5, etc.) “This discovery is interesting from a physics perspective since no other material has shown similar layer-number sensitivity,” Zhu says. “The phenomenon might also prove useful for applications in which we want devices consisting of as few as possible material types, where some areas of the device need to be non-piezoelectric.” In addition to logic switches and biological sensors, piezoelectricity in molybdenum disulfide crystals might also find use in the potential new route to quantum computing and ultrafast data-processing called “valleytronics.” In valleytronics, information is encoded in the spin and momentum of an electron moving through a crystal lattice as a wave with energy peaks and valleys. “Some types of valleytronic devices depend on absolute crystal orientation, and piezoelectric anisotropy can be employed to determine this,’ says Nature paper co-lead author Wang. “We are also investigating the possibility of using piezoelectricity to directly control valleytronic properties such as circular dichroism in molybdenum disulfide.” In addition to Zhang, Zhu and Wang, other co-authors of the Nature paper were Jun Xiao, Ming Liu, Shaomin Xiong, Zi Jing Wong, Ziliang Ye, Yu Ye and Xiaobo Yin. This research was supported by Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion, an Energy Frontier Research Center (http://www.lmi.caltech.edu/) led by the California Institute of Technology, in which Berkeley Lab is a major partner. The Energy Frontier Research Center program is supported by DOE’s Office of Science.Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2014/12/22/piezoelectricity-2d-semiconductor/)

Promising New Method Found for Rapidly Screening Cancer Drugs

National Nanomanufacturing Network - December 17, 2014 - 6:45am
UMass Amherst researchers invent fast, accurate new nanoparticle-based sensor system Traditional genomic, proteomic and other screening methods currently used to characterize drug mechanisms are time-consuming and require special equipment, but now researchers led by chemist Vincent Rotello at the University of Massachusetts Amherst offer a multi-channel sensor method using gold nanoparticles that can accurately profile various anti-cancer drugs and their mechanisms in minutes. As Rotello and his doctoral graduate student Le Ngoc, one of the lead authors, explain, to discover a new drug for any disease, researchers must screen billions of compounds, which can take months. One of the added keys to bringing a new drug to market, they add, is to identify how it works, its chemical mechanism. “Rapid determination of drug mechanism would greatly streamline the drug discovery process, opening the pipeline of new therapeutics,” Ngoc says. She adds, “Drugs with different mechanisms cause changes in the surface of cells that can be read out using the new sensor system. We found that each drug mechanism generated a unique pattern, and we used these cell surface differences to quickly profile different drug mechanisms.” Details of this work appear in the current issue of Nature Nanotechnology. To expedite drug screening, the research team, which in addition to the chemists includes a UMass Amherst cognitive scientist and a materials scientist from Imperial College, London, developed a new, signature-based approach using a gold nanoparticle sensor system and three differently labeled proteins by color: blue, green and red. Using an engineered nanoparticle and three fluorescent proteins provides “a three-channel sensor that can be trained to detect subtle changes in cell surface properties,” the authors note. Drug-induced cell surface changes trigger different sets of fluorescent proteins to turn on together, offering patterns that identify specific cell death mechanisms. The new nanosensor is generalizable to different cell types and does not require processing steps before analysis. So, it offers a simple, effective way to expedite research in drug discovery, toxicology and cell-based sensing, the researchers add. Some signature-based drug screening using traditional biomarkers exists today, but it requires multi-step cell processing and special equipment, limiting its usefulness the authors point out. With their three-channel, gold nanoparticle sensor platform, Rotello and colleagues solve those challenges and enhance accuracy. Further, they say, “the information-rich output allows the determination of a chemotherapeutic mechanism from a single measurement, providing answers far more quickly (in minutes) than current methods, using standard laboratory instrumentation.” This invention could have a substantial potential impact on the drug discovery pipeline, says Ngoc. “The sensor is not only able to profile mechanisms for individual drugs but also determine the mechanisms of drug mixtures, that is, drug ‘cocktails’ that are an emerging tool with many therapies,” she adds. Rotello emphasizes, “While we have decent knowledge of individual drugs, we still have a lot to learn about the mechanisms of combination therapies. In addition to drug screening, the simplicity and speed of this enabling technology holds the promise to greatly accelerate the search for effective cancer treatments, and provides a step forward in areas such as toxicology, where the safety of thousands of uncategorized chemicals needs to be assessed. The researchers point out that their new sensor system offers “a potential way forward for toxicology, providing a viable method to classify the tens of thousands of commercial chemicals for which no data are available."Source: UMass Amherst (http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/promising-new-method-found-rapidly)Image credit: Vincent Rotello, Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Detecting gases wirelessly and cheaply

National Nanomanufacturing Network - December 12, 2014 - 4:28am
New sensor can transmit information on hazardous chemicals or food spoilage to a smartphone.MIT chemists have devised a new way to wirelessly detect hazardous gases and environmental pollutants, using a simple sensor that can be read by a smartphone. These inexpensive sensors could be widely deployed, making it easier to monitor public spaces or detect food spoilage in warehouses. Using this system, the researchers have demonstrated that they can detect gaseous ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and cyclohexanone, among other gases. “The beauty of these sensors is that they are really cheap. You put them up, they sit there, and then you come around and read them. There’s no wiring involved. There’s no power,” says Timothy Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry at MIT. “You can get quite imaginative as to what you might want to do with a technology like this.” Swager is the senior author of a paper describing the new sensors in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Dec. 8. Chemistry graduate student Joseph Azzarelli is the paper’s lead author; other authors are postdoc Katherine Mirica and former MIT postdoc Jens Ravnsbaek. Versatile gas detection For several years, Swager’s lab has been developing gas-detecting sensors based on devices known as chemiresistors, which consist of simple electrical circuits modified so that their resistance changes when exposed to a particular chemical. Measuring that change in resistance reveals whether the target gas is present. Unlike commercially available chemiresistors, the sensors developed in Swager’s lab require almost no energy and can function at ambient temperatures. “This would allow us to put sensors in many different environments or in many different devices,” Swager says. The new sensors are made from modified near-field communication (NFC) tags. These tags, which receive the little power they need from the device reading them, function as wirelessly addressable barcodes and are mainly used for tracking products such as cars or pharmaceuticals as they move through a supply chain, such as in a manufacturing plant or warehouse. NFC tags can be read by any smartphone that has near-field communication capability, which is included in many newer smartphone models. These phones can send out short pulses of magnetic fields at radio frequency (13.56 megahertz), inducing an electric current in the circuit on the tag, which relays information to the phone. To adapt these tags for their own purposes, the MIT team first disrupted the electronic circuit by punching a hole in it. Then, they reconnected the circuit with a linker made of carbon nanotubes that are specialized to detect a particular gas. In this case, the researchers added the carbon nanotubes by “drawing” them onto the tag with a mechanical pencil they first created in 2012 (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2012/drawing-with-a-carbon-nanotube-pencil-1009), in which the usual pencil lead is replaced with a compressed powder of carbon nanotubes. The team refers to the modified tags as CARDs: chemically actuated resonant devices. When carbon nanotubes bind to the target gas, their ability to conduct electricity changes, which shifts the radio frequencies at which power can be transferred to the device. When a smartphone pings the CARD, the CARD responds only if it can receive sufficient power at the smartphone-transmitted radio frequencies, allowing the phone to determine whether the circuit has been altered and the gas is present. Current versions of the CARDs can each detect only one type of gas, but a phone can read multiple CARDs to get input on many different gases, down to concentrations of parts per million. With the current version of the technology, the phone must be within 5 centimeters of the CARD to get a reading, but Azzarelli is currently working with Bluetooth technology to expand the range. Widespread deployment The researchers have filed for a patent on the sensing technology and are now looking into possible applications. Because these devices are so inexpensive and can be read by smartphones, they could be deployed nearly anywhere: indoors to detect explosives and other harmful gases, or outdoors to monitor environmental pollutants. Once an individual phone gathers data, the information could be uploaded to wireless networks and combined with sensor data from other phones, allowing coverage of very large areas, Swager says. The researchers are also pursuing the possibility of integrating the CARDs into “smart packaging” that would allow people to detect possible food spoilage or contamination of products. Swager’s lab has previously developed sensors (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2012/fruit-spoilage-sensor-0430) that can detect ethylene, a gas that signals ripeness in fruit. “Avoiding food waste currently is a very hot topic; however, it requires cheap, easy-to-use, and reliable sensors for chemicals, e.g., metabolites such as ammonia that could indicate the quality of raw food or the status of prepared meals,” says Wolfgang Knoll, a managing director of the Austrian Institute of Technology, who was not part of the research team. “The concept presented in this paper could lead to a solution for a long-lasting need in food quality control.” The CARDs could also be incorporated into dosimeters to help monitor worker safety in manufacturing plants by measuring how much gas the workers are exposed to. “Since it’s low-cost, disposable, and can easily interface with a phone, we think it could be the type of device that someone could wear as a badge, and they could ping it when they check in in the morning and then ping it again when they check out at night,” Azzarelli says. The research was funded by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the U.S. Army Research Office through the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies; the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation; and the National Cancer Institute. Source: MIT News Office (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/wireless-chemical-sensor-for-smartphone-1208)

Lawrence Livermore researchers develop efficient method to produce nanoporous metals

National Nanomanufacturing Network - December 12, 2014 - 4:17am
Nanoporous metals — foam-like materials that have some degree of air vacuum in their structure — have a wide range of applications because of their superior qualities. They posses a high surface area for better electron transfer, which can lead to the improved performance of an electrode in an electric double capacitor or battery. Nanoporous metals offer an increased number of available sites for the adsorption of analytes, a highly desirable feature for sensors. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) researchers have developed a cost-effective and more efficient way to manufacture nanoporous metals over many scales, from nanoscale to macroscale, which is visible to the naked eye. The process begins with a four-inch silicon wafer. A coating of metal is added and sputtered across the wafer. Gold, silver and aluminum were used for this research project. However, the manufacturing process is not limited to these metals. Next, a mixture of two polymers is added to the metal substrate to create patterns, a process known as diblock copolymer lithography (BCP). The pattern is transformed in a single polymer mask with nanometer-size features. Last, a technique known as anisotropic ion beam milling (IBM) is used to etch through the mask to make an array of holes, creating the nanoporous metal. During the fabrication process, the roughness of the metal is continuously examined to ensure that the finished product has good porosity, which is key to creating the unique properties that make nanoporous materials work. The rougher the metal is, the less evenly porous it becomes. “During fabrication, our team achieved 92 percent pore coverage with 99 percent uniformity over a 4-in silicon wafer, which means the metal was smooth and evenly porous,” said Tiziana Bond, an LLNL engineer who is a member of the joint research team. The team has defined a metric — based on a parametrized correlation between BCP pore coverage and metal surface roughness — by which the fabrication of nanoporous metals should be stopped when uneven porosity is the known outcome, saving processing time and costs. “The real breakthrough is that we created a new technique to manufacture nanoporous metals that is cheap and can be done over many scales avoiding the lift-off technique to remove metals, with real-time quality control,” Bond said. “These metals open the application space to areas such as energy harvesting, sensing and electrochemical studies.” The lift-off technique is a method of patterning target materials on the surface of a substrate by using a sacrificial material. One of the biggest problems with this technique is that the metal layer cannot be peeled off uniformly (or at all) at the nanoscale. Other applications of nanoporous metals include supporting the development of new metamaterials (engineered materials) for radiation-enhanced filtering and manipulation, including deep ultraviolet light. These applications are possible because nanoporous materials facilitate anomalous enhancement of transmitted (or reflected) light through the tunneling of surface plasmons, a feature widely usable by light-emitting devices, plasmonic lithography, refractive-index-based sensing and all-optical switching. The other team members include ETH researcher Ali Ozhan Altun and professor Hyung Gyu Park. The team’s findings were reported in an article titled “Manufacturing over many scales: High fidelity macroscale coverage of nanoporous metal arrays via lift-off-free nanofrabication.” (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/admi.201400084/abstract) It was the cover story in a recent issue of Advanced Materials Interfaces. Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (https://www.llnl.gov/news/lawrence-livermore-researchers-develop-efficient-method-produce-nanoporous-metals)

3D printed nanostructures made entirely of graphene

National Nanomanufacturing Network - December 12, 2014 - 3:49am
Graphene has received a great deal of attention for its promising potential applications in electronics, biomedical and energy storage devices, sensors and other cutting-edge technological fields, mainly because of its fascinating properties such as an extremely high electron mobility, a good thermal conductivity and a high elasticity.The successful implementation of graphene-based devices invariably requires the precise patterning of graphene sheets at both the micrometer and nanometer scale. Finding the ideal technique to achieve the desired graphene patterning remains a major challenge. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is becoming a viable alternative to conventional manufacturing processes in an increasing number of applications ranging from children toys to cars, fashion, architecture, military, biomedical science, and aerospace, to name a few. For the first time, researchers have now demonstrated 3D printed nanostructures composed entirely of graphene using a new 3D printing technique. The research team, led by Professor Seung Kwon Seol from Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI), has published their findings in the November 13, 2014 online edition of Advanced Materials ("3D Printing of Reduced Graphene Oxide Nanowires" (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1002/adma.201404380)) "We developed a nanoscale 3D printing approach that exploits a size-controllable liquid meniscus to fabricate 3D reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanowires," Seol explains. "Different from typical 3D printing approaches which use filaments or powders as printing materials, our method uses the stretched liquid meniscus of ink. This enables us to realize finer printed structures than a nozzle aperture, resulting in the manufacturing of nanotructures." The researchers note that their novel solution-based approach is quite effective in 3D printing of graphene nanostructures as well as in multiple-materials 3D nanoprinting. "We are convinced that this approach will present a new paradigm for implementing 3D patterns in printed electronics," says Seol. For their technique, the team grew graphene oxide (GO) wires at room temperature using the meniscus formed at the tip of a micropipette filled with a colloidal dispersion of GO sheets, then reduced it by thermal or chemical treatment (with hydrazine). The deposition of GO was obtained by pulling the micropipette as the solvent rapidly evaporated, thus enabling the growth of GO wires. The researchers were able to accurately control the radius of the rGO wires by tuning the pulling rate of the pipette; they managed to reach a minimum value of ca. 150 nm. Using this technique, they were able to produce arrays of different freestanding rGO architectures, grown directly at chosen sites and in different directions: straight wires, bridges, suspended junctions, and woven structures. "So far, to the best of our knowledge, nobody has reported 3D printed nanostructures composed entirely of graphene," says Seol. "Several results reported the 3D printing (millimeter- or centimeter-scale) of graphene or carbon nanotube/plastic composite materials by using a conventional 3D printer. In such composite system, the graphene (or CNT) plays an important role for improving the properties of plastic materials currently used in 3D printers. However, the plastic materials used for producing the composite structures deteriorate the intrinsic properties of graphene (or CNT)." He points out that this 3D nanoprinting approach can be used for manufacturing 2D patterns and 3D architectures in diverse devices such as printed circuit boards, transistors, light emitting devices, solar cells, sensors and so on. Reducing the 3D printable size to below 10 nm and increasing the production yield still remain challenges, though. Source: Nanowerk (http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=38253.php)

Inviting articles: Special issue on Nanoinformatics (Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology)

National Nanomanufacturing Network - December 12, 2014 - 3:16am
The Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology (BJNANO, http://www.beilstein-journals.org/bjnano (http://www.beilstein-journals.org/bjnano)) invites you to submit papers on any aspect of Nanoinformatics to a Thematic Issue of BJNANO. BJNANO is a High Impact (SCI: 2.3) Open Access journal with No Publication Fees in the broad areas of Nanosciences and Nanotechnology. The BJNANO Thematic issue on Nanoinformatics will include, but are not limited to, the following topics: Data management and database development for nanomaterialsOntology and meta-data design for nanomaterial data Nanomaterial data standards and interoperation/sharing protocols Nanomaterial characterization (i.e., physicochemical/structural properties) Text/Literature mining for nanomaterial data collection and integrationAnalysis/Quantification for nano-images (e.g., TEM images of nanomaterials, images generated from in-vivo high-throughput screening of nano-bioactivity)Assessment of the value of information in nanomaterial dataData mining/Machine learning for nanomaterial data, particularly the development of (quantitative) structure-activity relationships for nanomaterialsSimulation for nanomaterial fate transport, nano-bio interactionsComputing applications for nanomedicine (e.g., drug delivery systems (nano-excipient), diagnosis and prevention, and safe disposal of nanomedicine as household goods)Visualization of nanomaterials dataEnvironmental and health risk assessment, life-cycle analysis, and regulatory decision making for nanomaterialsAssessment of ethical and social issues of nanotechnologyInfrastructure (frameworks/software/tools/resources) for nanoinformatics If you're interested in submitting papers to the thematic issue on Nanoinformtics, the deadline for the submission is: March 31, 2015. Submission instructions can be found at: http://www.beilstein-journals.org/bjnano/submission/submissionOverview.htm (http://www.beilstein-journals.org/bjnano/submission/submissionOverview.htm). When submitting, please also indicate in your cover letter that your paper is submitted for consideration by the thematic issue on Nanoinformatics. For further information regarding the thematic issue on nanoinformatics please contact Dr. Rong Liu (rliu.pro@gmail.com (mailto:rliu.pro@gmail.com)).

Registration Open for 2015 Nanoinformatics Workshop

National Nanomanufacturing Network - December 8, 2014 - 4:31am
Nanoinformatics Workshop: Enabling successful discovery and applications January 26-28, 2015Holiday Inn National Airport Hotel Arlington, VA REGISTER FOR THE WORKSHOP TODAY (https://umass.irisregistration.com/Auth/Authenticate/Index?ReturnUrl=%2fRegister%3fcode%3dNanoinformatics code=Nanoinformatics) Regular attendees: $200, Students: FREE Registration for the Nanoinformatics 2015 workshop (http://nanoinformatics.org/2015/overview) is now available. Registration is open until January 16, 2015, but please note that discounted hotel reservations (http://nanoinformatics.org/2015/venue) have a December 29, 2014 deadline. The purpose of the NanoInfo 2015 workshop is to bring together stakeholders in order to assess the state of informatics relevant to the all aspects of the nanotechnology enterprise and to set priority targets for the future. From materials to processes to products; accessible data, information, models, and simulations will enable innovators to optimize performance and accelerate the innovation cycle from concept to product. Scientists and engineers will be able to efficiently assess the safety of new nanomaterials and quantitatively implement best practices of safe manufacturing and usage of nanomaterials throughout product lifecycles. Scientists will share predictive models and data that enable the design and discovery of nanomaterials and the resulting performance of systems that use them.Workshop Structure and Highlights NanoInfo 2015 will begin with a pre-workshop half-day tutorial, held on Monday, January 26 in the afternoon. The technical sessions will be held from Tuesday January 27 through Wednesday January 28. Accepted abstracts will be assigned to either a formal presentation session or to the poster presentation and discussion session on Tuesday.Workshop Exhibit and Sponsorship OpportunitiesNanoInfo 2015 is accepting sponsorship applications (http://nanoinformatics.org/node/54), offering marketing and workshop participation for those interested in supporting the event. Workshop Call for AbstractsThe NanoInfo 2015 online submission system is now open. Authors wishing to submit an abstract for review may do so by clicking on the 2015 Call for Presentations and Posters link (http://nanoinformatics.org/nidocuments/add). All submissions must be submitted using this online interface, and the deadline for Abstract submissions is December 15, 2014. Important Dates Abstract Submission Deadline December 15, 2014 Notification to Presenters December 17, 2014 Hotel Reservation Deadline December 29, 2014 Registration December - January 16, 2015 NanoInfo 2015 January 26-28, 2015

Extended Deadline - Call for Abstracts: Nanoinformatics Workshop 2015

National Nanomanufacturing Network - December 2, 2014 - 4:28am
Nanoinformatics Workshop: Enabling successful discovery and applications January 26-28, 2015Holiday Inn National Airport Hotel Arlington, VA NEW EXTENDED ABSTRACT SUBMISSION DEADLINE: January 4, 2015 The purpose of the Nanoinformatics 2015 workshop (http://nanoinformatics.org/2015/overview) is to bring together stakeholders in order to assess the state of informatics relevant to the all aspects of the nanotechnology enterprise and to set priority targets for the future. From materials to processes to products; accessible data, information, models, and simulations will enable innovators to optimize performance and accelerate the innovation cycle from concept to product. Scientists and engineers will be able to efficiently assess the safety of new nanomaterials and quantitatively implement best practices of safe manufacturing and usage of nanomaterials throughout product lifecycles. Scientists will share predictive models and data that enable the design and discovery of nanomaterials and the resulting performance of systems that use them.Workshop Structure and Highlights NanoInfo 2015 will begin with a pre-workshop half-day tutorial, held on Monday, January 26 in the afternoon. The technical sessions will be held from Tuesday January 27 through Wednesday January 28. Accepted abstracts will be assigned to either a formal presentation session or to the poster presentation and discussion session on Tuesday.The NanoInfo 2015 on-line submission system is now open Authors wishing to submit an abstract for review may do so by clicking here, on the 2015 Call for Presentations and Posters link (http://nanoinformatics.org/nidocuments/add ).Please note that all submissions must be submitted using this on-line interface. No other form of submission can be accepted.Please note, that while we have extended the abstract submission deadline, the hotel block reservations are only available before the December 29, 2014 hotel deadline. Important Dates Extended Abstract Submission Deadline January 4, 2015Notification to Presenters On a rolling basis Hotel Reservation Deadline December 29, 2014Registration December - January 16, 2015NanoInfo 2015January 26-28, 2015

NanoHybrids Launches its First Product Line of Premium Gold Nanoparticles

National Nanomanufacturing Network - December 2, 2014 - 4:23am
AUSTIN, TX NanoHybrids Corporation, a provider of nanotechnology-based contrast agents announced the launch of its new website and premium product line of gold nanoparticles specially designed to improve imaging results. The company’s initial technology platform was developed in collaboration with researchers from the Biomedical Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. "Frustrated by inconsistent imaging results due to highly variable shape, size and other properties of commercially available gold nanoparticle contrast agents, our team has developed highly monodisperse gold nanorods and nanospheres that will help scientists obtain consistent and better quality data. We also have a policy of ‘no proprietary coatings’ which means that unlike some companies in this space, we offer full transparency on surface chemistry, making it easier for our customers to modify and use these particles depending on their application," says Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Kimberly Homan. NanoHybrids’ offerings include an exclusive line of silica-coated gold nanorods that are quickly gaining popularity as contrast agents in photoacoustic (optoacoustic) imaging. As opposed to current preclinical imaging contrast agents on the market, NanoHybrids’ silica-coated nanorods resist melting and shape distortion even when subjected to extreme heat via focused laser beams. In addition to providing this enhanced thermodynamic stability, the silica-coating also facilitates better heat transfer to the surrounding fluid, thus dramatically increasing signal strength. Overall, these benefits make the company’s silica-coated gold nanorods an excellent contrast agent for not only in vitro and in vivo photoacoustic imaging but also many other applications involving continuous or pulsed lasers. The founders at NanoHybrids have decades of experience in biomedical imaging and have been pioneering the development of contrast agents alongside custom designed imaging systems. "Our products have been developed by imaging researchers, for researchers. As scientists ourselves, we understand the challenges involved when working with gold nanoparticles in imaging and strive to provide the highest possible level of quality and technical support," says Homan. (http://www.nanohybrids.net)About NanoHybrids Inc. NanoHybrids is an Austin-based company focused on commercializing nanotechnology solutions. The company’s current product line comprises of premium gold nanoparticles with specialized coatings, including a proprietary silica coating that provides colloidal stability, bioconjugation potential and enhanced optical properties. NanoHybrids’ gold nanoparticles are ideal for use in imaging, tumor targeting, microscopy, lateral flow assays, SERS, drug delivery research, sensors and several other high-technology applications within the fields of life science and materials science. http://www.nanohybrids.net (http://www.nanohybrids.net) Product Applications: http://nanohybrids.net/pages/applications (http://nanohybrids.net/pages/applications) Products: http://nanohybrids.net/collections/all-products (http://nanohybrids.net/collections/all-products) Contact information: info at nanohybrids.net (mailto:info@nanohybrids.net)

Director Named for National Nanotechnology Coordination Office

National Nanomanufacturing Network - November 20, 2014 - 9:44am
The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael A. Meador as its new Director. Dr. Meador joins NNCO on a detail from NASA, where he has been managing the Nanotechnology Project in the Game Changing Technology Program, a project involving five NASA centers, industry, and universities working to mature nanotechnologies with high potential for impact on NASA missions and to demonstrate them in selected applications.“Dr. Meador’s background and experience identifying nanotechnology applications, combined with his long involvement with the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), will help us accelerate the NNI’s activities aimed at facilitating the commercialization of nanotechnology research sponsored by the Federal Government over the past decade,” said Dr. Lloyd Whitman, who has been serving as Interim NNCO Director and is now the Assistant Director for Nanotechnology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Meador, chair of NASA’s Nanotechnology Roadmap Team, was instrumental in developing the NASA-wide Nanotechnology Project, and has been responsible for project planning and advocacy, overseeing technical progress, developing external partnerships to advance and transfer technology, coordinating with other nanotechnology related activities within NASA, and interacting with program and senior agency management. He has also played a key role in representing NASA in the NNI’s interagency activities, including co-chairing its Nanomanufacturing, Industry Liaison, and Innovation Working Group. During his long career at NASA, Dr. Meador has held a series of positions with increasing responsibility, including over twenty years as Chief of the Polymers Branch of the Materials Division at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he expanded the research portfolio of the branch from research in high-temperature stable polymers and composites for aircraft engines to include work in battery electrolytes, fuel cell membranes, and nonlinear optical and sensor materials. He also initiated the first nanotechnology program at NASA Glenn. Dr. Meador has been recognized as the NASA Glenn Small Disadvantaged Business Program Technical Advocate of the Year and NASA Small Business Program Technical Personnel of the Year. He has also received the NASA Equal Opportunity Employment Medal for his work to increase the involvement of faculty and students from minority serving institutions in NASA materials research, and last month was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for leading NASA's Nanotechnology R D activities and representing the agency as a proactive member of the NNI.Source: NNCO (http://www.nano.gov/node/1246) The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael A. Meador as its new Director. Dr. Meador joins NNCO on a detail from NASA, where he has been managing the Nanotechnology Project in the Game Changing Technology Program, a project involving five NASA centers, industry, and universities working to mature nanotechnologies with high potential for impact on NASA missions and to demonstrate them in selected applications. - See more at: http://www.nano.gov/node/1246#sthash.LAEDWssg.dpufThe National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael A. Meador as its new Director. Dr. Meador joins NNCO on a detail from NASA, where he has been managing the Nanotechnology Project in the Game Changing Technology Program, a project involving five NASA centers, industry, and universities working to mature nanotechnologies with high potential for impact on NASA missions and to demonstrate them in selected applications. “Dr. Meador’s background and experience identifying nanotechnology applications, combined with his long involvement with the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), will help us accelerate the NNI’s activities aimed at facilitating the commercialization of nanotechnology research sponsored by the Federal Government over the past decade,” said Dr. Lloyd Whitman, who has been serving as Interim NNCO Director and is now the Assistant Director for Nanotechnology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Meador, chair of NASA’s Nanotechnology Roadmap Team, was instrumental in developing the NASA-wide Nanotechnology Project, and has been responsible for project planning and advocacy, overseeing technical progress, developing external partnerships to advance and transfer technology, coordinating with other nanotechnology related activities within NASA, and interacting with program and senior agency management. He has also played a key role in representing NASA in the NNI’s interagency activities, including co-chairing its Nanomanufacturing, Industry Liaison, and Innovation Working Group. During his long career at NASA, Dr. Meador has held a series of positions with increasing responsibility, including over twenty years as Chief of the Polymers Branch of the Materials Division at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he expanded the research portfolio of the branch from research in high-temperature stable polymers and composites for aircraft engines to include work in battery electrolytes, fuel cell membranes, and nonlinear optical and sensor materials. He also initiated the first nanotechnology program at NASA Glenn. Dr. Meador has been recognized as the NASA Glenn Small Disadvantaged Business Program Technical Advocate of the Year and NASA Small Business Program Technical Personnel of the Year. He has also received the NASA Equal Opportunity Employment Medal for his work to increase the involvement of faculty and students from minority serving institutions in NASA materials research, and last month was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for leading NASA's Nanotechnology R D activities and representing the agency as a proactive member of the NNI. - See more at: http://www.nano.gov/node/1246#sthash.QpleixbX.dpufhe National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael A. Meador as its new Director. Dr. Meador joins NNCO on a detail from NASA, where he has been managing the Nanotechnology Project in the Game Changing Technology Program, a project involving five NASA centers, industry, and universities working to mature nanotechnologies with high potential for impact on NASA missions and to demonstrate them in selected applications. “Dr. Meador’s background and experience identifying nanotechnology applications, combined with his long involvement with the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), will help us accelerate the NNI’s activities aimed at facilitating the commercialization of nanotechnology research sponsored by the Federal Government over the past decade,” said Dr. Lloyd Whitman, who has been serving as Interim NNCO Director and is now the Assistant Director for Nanotechnology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Meador, chair of NASA’s Nanotechnology Roadmap Team, was instrumental in developing the NASA-wide Nanotechnology Project, and has been responsible for project planning and advocacy, overseeing technical progress, developing external partnerships to advance and transfer technology, coordinating with other nanotechnology related activities within NASA, and interacting with program and senior agency management. He has also played a key role in representing NASA in the NNI’s interagency activities, including co-chairing its Nanomanufacturing, Industry Liaison, and Innovation Working Group. During his long career at NASA, Dr. Meador has held a series of positions with increasing responsibility, including over twenty years as Chief of the Polymers Branch of the Materials Division at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he expanded the research portfolio of the branch from research in high-temperature stable polymers and composites for aircraft engines to include work in battery electrolytes, fuel cell membranes, and nonlinear optical and sensor materials. He also initiated the first nanotechnology program at NASA Glenn. Dr. Meador has been recognized as the NASA Glenn Small Disadvantaged Business Program Technical Advocate of the Year and NASA Small Business Program Technical Personnel of the Year. He has also received the NASA Equal Opportunity Employment Medal for his work to increase the involvement of faculty and students from minority serving institutions in NASA materials research, and last month was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for leading NASA's Nanotechnology R D activities and representing the agency as a proactive member of the NNI. - See more at: http://www.nano.gov/node/1246#sthash.QpleixbX.dpufhe National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael A. Meador as its new Director. Dr. Meador joins NNCO on a detail from NASA, where he has been managing the Nanotechnology Project in the Game Changing Technology Program, a project involving five NASA centers, industry, and universities working to mature nanotechnologies with high potential for impact on NASA missions and to demonstrate them in selected applications. “Dr. Meador’s background and experience identifying nanotechnology applications, combined with his long involvement with the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), will help us accelerate the NNI’s activities aimed at facilitating the commercialization of nanotechnology research sponsored by the Federal Government over the past decade,” said Dr. Lloyd Whitman, who has been serving as Interim NNCO Director and is now the Assistant Director for Nanotechnology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Meador, chair of NASA’s Nanotechnology Roadmap Team, was instrumental in developing the NASA-wide Nanotechnology Project, and has been responsible for project planning and advocacy, overseeing technical progress, developing external partnerships to advance and transfer technology, coordinating with other nanotechnology related activities within NASA, and interacting with program and senior agency management. He has also played a key role in representing NASA in the NNI’s interagency activities, including co-chairing its Nanomanufacturing, Industry Liaison, and Innovation Working Group. During his long career at NASA, Dr. Meador has held a series of positions with increasing responsibility, including over twenty years as Chief of the Polymers Branch of the Materials Division at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he expanded the research portfolio of the branch from research in high-temperature stable polymers and composites for aircraft engines to include work in battery electrolytes, fuel cell membranes, and nonlinear optical and sensor materials. He also initiated the first nanotechnology program at NASA Glenn. Dr. Meador has been recognized as the NASA Glenn Small Disadvantaged Business Program Technical Advocate of the Year and NASA Small Business Program Technical Personnel of the Year. He has also received the NASA Equal Opportunity Employment Medal for his work to increase the involvement of faculty and students from minority serving institutions in NASA materials research, and last month was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for leading NASA's Nanotechnology R D activities and representing the agency as a proactive member of the NNI. - See more at: http://www.nano.gov/node/1246#sthash.QpleixbX.dpufhe National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael A. Meador as its new Director. Dr. Meador joins NNCO on a detail from NASA, where he has been managing the Nanotechnology Project in the Game Changing Technology Program, a project involving five NASA centers, industry, and universities working to mature nanotechnologies with high potential for impact on NASA missions and to demonstrate them in selected applications. “Dr. Meador’s background and experience identifying nanotechnology applications, combined with his long involvement with the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), will help us accelerate the NNI’s activities aimed at facilitating the commercialization of nanotechnology research sponsored by the Federal Government over the past decade,” said Dr. Lloyd Whitman, who has been serving as Interim NNCO Director and is now the Assistant Director for Nanotechnology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Meador, chair of NASA’s Nanotechnology Roadmap Team, was instrumental in developing the NASA-wide Nanotechnology Project, and has been responsible for project planning and advocacy, overseeing technical progress, developing external partnerships to advance and transfer technology, coordinating with other nanotechnology related activities within NASA, and interacting with program and senior agency management. He has also played a key role in representing NASA in the NNI’s interagency activities, including co-chairing its Nanomanufacturing, Industry Liaison, and Innovation Working Group. During his long career at NASA, Dr. Meador has held a series of positions with increasing responsibility, including over twenty years as Chief of the Polymers Branch of the Materials Division at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he expanded the research portfolio of the branch from research in high-temperature stable polymers and composites for aircraft engines to include work in battery electrolytes, fuel cell membranes, and nonlinear optical and sensor materials. He also initiated the first nanotechnology program at NASA Glenn. Dr. Meador has been recognized as the NASA Glenn Small Disadvantaged Business Program Technical Advocate of the Year and NASA Small Business Program Technical Personnel of the Year. He has also received the NASA Equal Opportunity Employment Medal for his work to increase the involvement of faculty and students from minority serving institutions in NASA materials research, and last month was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for leading NASA's Nanotechnology R D activities and representing the agency as a proactive member of the NNI. - See more at: http://www.nano.gov/node/1246#sthash.QpleixbX.dpuf

Nanoimprint lithography for the fabrication of efficient low band gap polymer solar cells

National Nanomanufacturing Network - November 13, 2014 - 7:55am
In recent years, polymer solar cells have drawn considerable research interest due to their attractive features including flexibility, semi-transparency, and manufacturability using cost-effective continuous printing processes (read more: "The state of nanoimprinted polymer organic solar cell technology (http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=28622.php)"). However, one challenge limiting their commercialization is the relatively low power conversion efficiency when compared to inorganic solar cells."One of the causes for polymer solar cells' low performance is the difficulty to simultaneously realize donor-acceptor phase separation within the short exciton diffusion length (∼10 nm) and high charge mobility, especially hole mobility, which are critical for charge separation and transport," Yi Yang, a senior engineer at Globalfoundries, tells Nanowerk. "So far it has been impossible to achieve such a morphology in the most widely used bulk heterojunction structure in which randomly distributed phases cause significant charge recombination." New work, led by Walter Hu (http://www.ee.utdallas.edu/people/facultypages/Hu.html), an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Anvar Zakhidov (http://nanotech.utdallas.edu/personnel/staff/zakhidov.html), a professor of physics, both at UT Dallas, shows that nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is an effective technique to solve these issues simultaneously. The results, recently published in ACS Applied Materials Interfaces ("Efficient Low Bandgap Polymer Solar Cell with Ordered Heterojunction Defined by Nanoimprint Lithography" (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1021/am505303a)), show that low bandgap polymer solar cells with high efficiency of 5.5% can be fabricated using NIL. "Taking into account the fact that low bandgap polymers are becoming the main stream for this type of solar cell, we believe this technique will increasingly find more applications," says Yang. In a previous study ("How nanostructure geometry affects polymer photovoltaic device efficiency (http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=36631.php)"), the researchers focused on nanoimprinted P3HT solar cells. After carefully optimizing the nanostructure geometry, they achieved an efficiency of 3-4%, which is not as high as the efficiency record (over 4%) other groups have achieved with this polymer. In the new study, they extended their technique to low bandgap polymer solar cells and realized a high efficiency up to 5.5%, which is among the best efficiencies for this polymer reported in the literature. This result indicates that nanoimprint fabrication works better for low bandgap polymer solar cells. In the new work, the team demonstrates the feasibility of using nanoimprint lithography to make efficient low bandgap polymer solar cells with well-ordered heterojunction. They fabricate high-quality low bandgap conjugated polymer (PCPDTBT) nanogratings using this technique for the first time. "We found that NIL makes PCPDTBT chains interact more strongly and form an improved structural ordering," says Yang. "Solar cells made with the highest aspect ratio PCPDTBT nanostructures show a high power conversion efficiency of 5.5%. They are the most efficient nanoimprinted polymer solar cells, as well as the best reported solar cells using the same material." Nanoimprint lithography has emerged as an effective fabrication technique to precisely define the nanomorphology in polymer solar cells. Controlled chain ordering as well as a bicontinuous and interdigitized heterojunction can be achieved by imprinting conjugated polymers, where a nanoimprint induced chain alignment is present, followed by infiltrating fullerene into patterned polymer nanostructures. However, as Yang notes, most studies so far have focused on nanoimprinted P3HT/fullerene solar cells. "This material combination is not ideal due to a mismatch between the absorption of P3HT and solar spectrum, which has a maximum photon flux at 1.6-1.8 eV while P3HT has a relatively large bandgap of 1.9-2.0 eV," he explains. "A bandgap of 1.3-1.5 eV is considered to be ideal for polymer-fullerene solar cells." In recent years, many low bandgap polymers have been synthesized with record-breaking efficiencies. However, as Yang points out, it has been proven that the donor and acceptor phase separation for these polymers cannot be realized by thermal or solvent vapor annealing, which is usually carried out on P3HT/fullerene solar cells. Although additives such as 1,8-octanedithiol are added into the solution to help separate donor and acceptor domains, this separation cannot be controlled precisely. Therefore, NIL would provide an effective solution if an ordered active layer morphology could be formed by it. However, so far no results have been published that show that NIL can be applied to a wide variety of materials in the polymer solar cell field. Now, the UT Dallas team has utilized NIL to pattern the low bandgap (1.4 eV) solar cell polymer PCPDTBT. For the first time, they have used NIL to fabricate high quality nanogratings for this polymer. "After carefully optimizing the nanograting geometry, we were able to achieve a high solar cell efficiency of 5.5%," notes Yang. Furthermore, this work demonstrates that NIL is not only limited to solar cells made of the most widely studied polymer P3HT, but also can be applied to a wide variety of materials used in the fabrication of polymer solar cells – low bandgap polymers can also be patterned by this technique to make efficient devices. Despite considerable effort, the highest reported power conversion efficiencies obtained from nanoimprinted P3HT solar cells have been in the 3-4% range. These values are lower than the highest values (∼4-5%) when the same polymer is used in a bulk heterojunction structure. "This indicates that NIL works better for low bandgap polymer solar cells," says Yang. "One possible explanation is that the method of using thermal or solvent vapor annealing to control the phase separation in P3HT based bulk heterojunction solar cells is very effective, as shown by a number of studies; while that of using additives in the low bandgap polymer solar cells is not, as described in literature." "This less effective approach leaves NIL more space to demonstrate its advantage in improving the solar cell performance when compared to the bulk heterojunction structure," he concludes. "This is our preliminary thinking and more studies are required to understand these different behaviors. Also as predicted in our recent study, a larger interface area between polymer and fullerene is preferable for efficient devices. A practical way to further increase it is needed as well. Our future work will focus on these aspects." Source: Nanowerk (http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=38076.php)