- Education & Outreach
National Nanomanufacturing Network
New research published today in the journal ACS Nano ("Sensitive, High-Strain, High-Rate Bodily Motion Sensors Based on GrapheneRubber Composites" (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1021/nn503454h)) identifies a new type of sensor that can monitor body movements and could help revolutionise healthcare. Although body motion sensors already exist in different forms, they have not been widely used due to their complexity and cost of production. Now researchers from the University of Surrey and Trinity College Dublin have for the first time treated common elastic bands with graphene, to create a flexible sensor that is sensitive enough for medical use and can be made cheaply. Once treated, the rubber bands remain highly pliable. By fusing this material with graphene - which imparts an electromechanical response on movement the team discovered that the material can be used as a sensor to measure a patient's breathing, heart rate or movement, alerting doctors to any irregularities. "Until now, no such sensor has been produced that meets needs and that can be easily made. It sounds like a simple concept, but our graphene-infused rubber bands could really help to revolutionise remote healthcare," said Dr Alan Dalton from the University of Surrey. Co-author, Professor Jonathan Coleman from Trinity College, Dublin commented, "This stretchy material senses motion such as breathing, pulse and joint movement and could be used to create lightweight sensor suits for vulnerable patients such as premature babies, making it possible to remotely monitor their subtle movements and alert a doctor to any worrying behaviours. "These sensors are extraordinarily cheap compared to existing technologies. Each device would probably cost pennies instead of pounds, making it ideal technology for use in developing countries where there are not enough medically trained staff to effectively monitor and treat patients quickly." Source: University of Surrey (https://www.surrey.ac.uk/features/could-elastic-bands-monitor-patients%E2%80%99-breathing)
On August 18 and 19, 2014 the NSF will conduct a Workshop for a Future Nanotechnology Infrastructure Support Program.The workshop is a next step in NSF's preparation for developing a program to succeed the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN (http://nnin.org/)), after having received community input in response to a recent Dear Colleague Letter (DCL 14-068 (http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14068/nsf14068.jsp?org=ENG)). To broaden engagement, portions of the Workshop for a Future Nanotechnology Infrastructure Support Program will be webcast. (The approximate webcast times shown below are Eastern Daylight Time.) The workshop will convene a panel of experts from academe, industry, and government to: develop a vision of how a future nanotechnology infrastructure support program could be structured, and determine the key needs for the broad user communities over the coming decade. The workshop is co-chaired by Dr. Thomas Theis (IBM Research, on assignment to the Semiconductor Research Corporation) and Dr. Mark Tuominen (University of Massachusetts, Amherst). More details are in the workshop agenda (http://www.nsf.gov/attachments/132127/public/Workshop_Future_Nanotechnology_Infrastructure_Support_Program.pdf). Webcast: August 18, 2014 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and August 19, 2014 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM Morning sessions of the workshop will be broadcast via WebEx; afternoon breakout sessions will not be broadcast. If you have never used WebEx before or if you want to test your computer's compatibility with WebEx, please go to http://www.webex.com/lp/jointest/ (http://www.webex.com/lp/jointest/), enter the session information and click "Join". Please feel free to contact WebEx Support if you are having trouble joining the test meeting.Session number: 643 345 106 Session password: This session does not require a password. ------------------------------------------------------- To join the session ------------------------------------------------------- 1. Go to https://src.webex.com/src/k2/j.php?MTID=tb5710cac7d8b81a0e0e5c436b48545bc (https://src.webex.com/src/k2/j.php?MTID=tb5710cac7d8b81a0e0e5c436b48545bc) 2. Enter your name and email address. 3. Click "Join Now". 4. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen. 5. To receive a call back, provide your phone number when you join the session.------------------------------------------------------- To join the session by phone only ------------------------------------------------------- Call the number below and enter the access code. Toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-877-668-4490 Access code: 643 345 106 Meeting TypeWebcast Contacts Allison Hilbert, 919-941-9433, Allison.Hilbert@src.org (mailto:Allison.Hilbert@src.org)Preferred Contact Method: Email NSF Related Organizations NSF-Wide Directorate for Engineering Core Attachments Workshop Future Nanotechnology Infrastructure Support Program (http://www.nsf.gov/attachments/132127/public/Workshop_Future_Nanotechnology_Infrastructure_Support_Program.pdf)Source: NSF (http://www.nsf.gov/events/event_summ.jsp?cntn_id=132127 WT.mc_id=USNSF_13 WT.mc_ev=click)
About one in four older adults suffers from chronic pain. Many of those people take medication, usually as pills. But this is not an ideal way of treating pain: Patients must take medicine frequently, and can suffer side effects, since the contents of pills spread through the bloodstream to the whole body. Now researchers at MIT have refined a technique that could enable pain medication and other drugs to be released directly to specific parts of the body and in steady doses over a period of up to 14 months. The method uses biodegradable, nanoscale thin films laden with drug molecules that are absorbed into the body in an incremental process. Its been hard to develop something that releases [medication] for more than a couple of months, says Paula Hammond, the David H. Koch Professor in Engineering at MIT, and a co-author of a new paper on the advance. Now were looking at a way of creating an extremely thin film or coating thats very dense with a drug, and yet releases at a constant rate for very long time periods. In the paper, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe the method used in the new drug-delivery system, which significantly exceeds the release duration achieved by most commercial controlled-release biodegradable films. You can potentially implant it and release the drug for more than a year without having to go in and do anything about it, says Bryan Hsu PhD 14, who helped develop the project as a doctoral student in Hammonds lab. You dont have to go recover it. Normally to get long-term drug release, you need a reservoir or device, something that can hold back the drug. And its typically nondegradable. It will release slowly, but it will either sit there and you have this foreign object retained in the body, or you have to go recover it. Layer by layer The paper was co-authored by Hsu, Myoung-Hwan Park of Shamyook University in South Korea, Samantha Hagerman 14, and Hammond, whose lab is in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. The research project tackles a difficult problem in localized drug delivery: Any biodegradable mechanism intended to release a drug over a long time period must be sturdy enough to limit hydrolysis, a process by which the bodys water breaks down the bonds in a drug molecule. If too much hydrolysis occurs too quickly, the drug will not remain intact for long periods in the body. Yet the drug-release mechanism needs to be designed such that a drug molecule does, in fact, decompose in steady increments. To address this, the researchers developed what they call a layer-by-layer technique, in which drug molecules are effectively attached to layers of thin-film coating. In this specific case, the researchers used diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is often prescribed for osteoarthritis and other pain or inflammatory conditions. They then bound it to thin layers of poly-L-glutamatic acid, which consists of an amino acid the body reabsorbs, and two other organic compounds. The film can be applied onto degradable nanoparticles for injection into local sites or used to coat permanent devices, such as orthopedic implants. In tests, the research team found that the diclofenac was steadily released over 14 months. Because the effectiveness of pain medication is subjective, they evaluated the efficacy of the method by seeing how well the diclofenac blocked the activity of cyclooxygenase (COX), an enzyme central to inflammation in the body. We found that it remains active after being released, Hsu says, meaning that the new method does not damage the efficacy of the drug. Or, as the paper notes, the layer-by-layer method produced substantial COX inhibition at a similar level to pills. The method also allows the researchers to adjust the quantity of the drug being delivered, essentially by adding more layers of the ultrathin coating. A viable strategy for many drugs Hammond and Hsu note that the technique could be used for other kinds of medication; an illness such as tuberculosis, for instance, requires at least six months of drug therapy. Its not only viable for diclofenac, Hsu says. This strategy can be applied to a number of drugs. Indeed, other researchers who have looked at the paper say the potential medical versatility of the thin-film technique is of considerable interest. "I find it really intriguing because it's broadly applicable to a lot of systems," says Kathryn Uhrich, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University, adding that the research is "really a nice piece of work." To be sure, in each case, researchers will have to figure out how best to bind the drug molecule in question to a biodegradable thin-film coating. The next steps for the researchers include studies to optimize these properties in different bodily environments and more tests, perhaps with medications for both chronic pain and inflammation. A major motivation for the work, Hammond notes, is the whole idea that we might be able to design something using these kinds of approaches that could create an [easier] lifestyle for people with chronic pain and inflammation. Hsu and Hammond were involved in all aspects of the project and wrote the paper, while Hagerman and Park helped perform the research, and Park helped analyze the data. The research described in the paper was supported by funding from the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force.Source: MIT News (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/advanced-thin-film-technique-could-deliver-long-lasting-medication-0804)
Nanotechnology-enabled products offer the potential to expand future consumer markets having significant societal and economic impact. As part of its investment in nanotechnology, the U.S. government continues an open dialogue regarding the impact and return on investment of funding provided through the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) to foster fundamental science, education and training, and commercialization of nanotechnology. While the NNI investment in fundamental science has clearly positioned the U.S. as the global nanotechnology leader, commercialization of nanotechnology innovations in the U.S. has lagged behind other countries such that numerous panels of advisors and committees have called for increases or shifting of funds to foster nanomanufacturing, effective technology transfer, and commercialization of these innovations. Recently, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), part of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, held a hearing on "Nanotechnology: Understanding How Small Solutions Drive Big Innovation." Held on July 29, 2014, subcommittee members heard from several nanotech industry leaders about the current state of nanotechnology and the direction that it is headed. With Rep. Terrys emphasis that nanotechnology brings great opportunities to advance a broad range of industries, bolster the U.S. economy, and create new manufacturing jobs, the following response excerpts by panel members heard at the hearing provide key insights into how the U.S. may capitalize from these breakthrough opportunities. Professor Milan Mrksich of Northwestern University discussed the economic opportunities of nanotechnology, and obstacles to realizing these benefits. He commented, Current challenges to realizing the broader economic promise of the nanotechnology industry include the development of strategies to ensure the continued investment in fundamental research, to increase the fraction of these discoveries that are translated to technology companies, to have effective regulations on nanomaterials, to efficiently process and protect intellectual property to ensure that within the global landscape, the United States remains the leader in realizing the economic benefits of the nanotechnology industry. James Phillips, Chairman CEO at NanoMech, Inc., and a member of the NanoBusiness and Commercialization Association (NanoBCA), added, We must capitalize immediately on our great University system, our National Labs, and tremendous agencies like the National Science Foundation, to be sure this unique and best in class innovation ecosystem, is organized in a way that promotes nanotechnology, tech transfer and commercialization in dramatic and laser focused ways so that we capture the best ideas into patents quickly, that are easily transferred into our capitalistic economy so that our nations best ideas and inventions are never left stranded, but instead accelerated to market at the speed of innovation so that we build good jobs and improve the quality of life and security for our citizens faster and better than any other country on our planet. Other comments by panelists emphasized the need for nanotechnology education and training, strategies for global competitiveness, benefits of public-private partnerships to accelerate the innovation ecosystem, and challenges of retaining and transitioning foreign students into the U.S. workforce. The hearing concluded with an interesting perspective presented by Chairman Terry commenting, Nanotech is a true science race between the nations, and we should be encouraging the transition from research breakthroughs to commercial development. I believe the U.S. should excel in this area. For further details of the hearing and panelists commentary, the NNN recommends visiting the website link: http://energycommerce.house.gov/press-release/subcommittee-examines-breakthrough-nanotechnology-opportunities-america (http://energycommerce.house.gov/press-release/subcommittee-examines-breakthrough-nanotechnology-opportunities-america).
Reliable detection of trace amounts of hazardous chemicals, in particular explosives, remains a pervasive problem due to the broad variety of associated chemical compounds that must be monitored in an open environment. In combination with the inherently low vapor pressures of most explosive compounds, the challenges of detecting potential threats require sensing techniques having ultra-high sensitivity, high selectivity, and rapid response. While such performance is available using sophisticated and expensive equipment, the need exists for portable, low cost systems that can discriminate a broad range of chemical species with high sensitivity and low probability of false responses. A broad range of nanomaterials have proven effective for chem/bio detection due to their high surface to volume ratio, thereby providing high sensitivity. Effective probability of detection has been demonstrated for certain trace chemical analysis by chemically functionalizing the nanomaterial surface such that the analyte of interest has an increased affinity to bind with the nanomaterial surface, which changes the electrical properties of the sensor. While this has enabled a pathway for highly sensitive, low cost sensor platforms, chemical selectivity for detection in open environments remains a challenge. For this, the concept of a chemical nose is required that can accurately discriminate trace chemicals in air. Approaches to chemical nose sensing typically include arrays of nanosensors with different elements of the array having variable properties for binding different chemical species by varying the chemical functionality added to the individual sensors in the array. Subsequent statistical analysis of the sensor array when exposed to various compounds can then provide a specific signature associated with each compound. Establishing a library of signatures makes this approach extendable for identification of a broad range of chemical unknowns. Recently, Lichtenstein, et. al. reported on the demonstration of a chemically modified nanosensor array platform for ultrasensitive detection of explosives (http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140624/ncomms5195/full/ncomms5195.html) . The reported platform consisted of 144 nanosensors arranged into 8 subarrays of 18 nanosensors. Each nanosensor element consisted of a silicon nanowire Field Effect Transistor (FET) device, with each subarray chemically modified with different small molecule receptors for ultrasensitive discrimination of chemical species. Each subarray is fed by a microfluidic channel which controls the flow and interaction of the analyte with the modified sensor array. Detection occurs by first sampling the air for 5 seconds, which is pre-concentrated by flowing through a microporous filter (50-100 l/min), then flushing the adsorbed analyte from the filter membrane using a commercially available explosive standard solution, which subsequently carries the analyte to the nanosensor subarrays. Characterization of the chemical nose platform for a range of explosive compounds demonstrated unprecedented sensitivity in the parts per quadrillion (10-15) range. More importantly, the implementation of real time mathematical analysis, kinetically and thermodynamically, of the nanosensor array elements enables discrimination and identification of numerous explosive materials with standoff distance up to several meters, including non-nitrogen containing compounds. This demonstration provides a prominent example of a nano-enabled system with unprecedented performance solving a critical problem. Further development and application of surface modification chemistries and regeneration of nanosensor surfaces will impact a much broader range of applications in chemical identification and healthcare assessment. References: Lichtenstein A, Havivi E, Shacham R, Hahamy E, Leibovich R, Pevzner A, Krivitsky V, Davivi G, Presman I, Elnathan R, Engel Y, Flaxer E, Patolsky F. Supersensitive fingerprinting of explosives by chemically modified nanosensors arrays. Nat. Commun. 5(4195). doi: 10.1038/ncomms5195 (http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140624/ncomms5195/full/ncomms5195.html) Image reprinted with permission from Nature Publishing Group.
An organization established by the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (http://jsnn.ncat.uncg.edu/) and Gateway University Research Park (http://www.gatewayurp.com/) in Greensboro to build partnerships between academic researchers and industry has grown to 25 members in its first year, according to an update from the JSNN. The Nanomanufacturing Innovation Consortium was formed (http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/print-edition/2013/07/26/triad-companies-jsnn-join-forces-with.html?page=2) in July 2013 with an initial group of members that included RF Micro Devices (http://www.rfmd.com/), Syngenta (http://www.syngenta-us.com/home.aspx) and VF Jeanswear among others. Members pay a fee to join the NIC and in return gain access to the JSNNs cutting-edge equipment as well as access to ideas and expertise from the schools scientists. Other companies have joined since including (http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/blog/2013/12/itgs-cone-denim-burlington.html) International Textile Groups (http://www.itg-global.com/) Cone Denim and Burlington divisions, Callaway Carbons, Horiba and AxNano. The 25th member of the group and the most recent to join is Luna Innovations (NASDAQ: LUNA), a Roanoke company that makes fiber optic tools for the telecommunications, aerospace, automotive, energy and defense industries. Cone Denims Tom Tantillo (http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/search/results?q=Tom%20Tantillo) said his company is already seeing benefits from its first few months as part of the NIC. This is proving to be an invaluable resource to our organic growth as well as our market competitiveness, he said. Having access to the robust tool set and knowledge base at the JSNN gives us an unprecedented competitive edge in certifying that the technical metrics of a newly engineered product will meet consumer performance expectations. The development of strong industry relationships is critical to the success of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, said James Ryan (http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/search/results?q=James%20Ryan), founding dean of the school, which is a partnership of N.C. A T State University (http://www.ncat.edu/) and UNC-Greensboro (http://www.uncg.edu/). JSNN continues to benefit from the leadership and vision of member companies, and we look forward to growing the NIC and continuing collaborations with our partners.Source: Triad Business Journal
The development could lead to smaller, cheaper and more efficient rechargeable batteries. Engineers across the globe have been racing to design smaller, cheaper and more efficient rechargeable batteries to meet the power storage needs of everything from handheld gadgets to electric cars. In a paper (http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nnano.2014.152.html) published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, researchers at Stanford University report that they have taken a big step toward accomplishing what battery designers have been trying to do for decades design a pure lithium anode. All batteries have three basic components: an electrolyte to provide electrons, an anode to discharge those electrons and a cathode to receive them. Today, we say we have lithium batteries, but that is only partly true. What we have are lithium ion batteries. The lithium is in the electrolyte but not in the anode. An anode of pure lithium would be a huge boost to battery efficiency. Of all the materials that one might use in an anode, lithium has the greatest potential. Some call it the Holy Grail, said Yi Cui (http://profiles.stanford.edu/yi-cui), a professor of Materials Science and Engineering (http://mse.stanford.edu/) and leader of the research team. It is very lightweight, and it has the highest energy density. You get more power per volume and weight, leading to lighter, smaller batteries with more power. But engineers have long tried and failed to reach this Holy Grail. Lithium has major challenges that have made its use in anodes difficult. Many engineers had given up the search, but we found a way to protect the lithium from the problems that have plagued it for so long, said Guangyuan Zheng, a doctoral candidate in Cuis lab and first author of the paper. In addition to Cui and Zheng, the research team includes Steven Chu (http://physics.stanford.edu/people/faculty/steven-chu), the former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Nobel Laureate who recently resumed his professorship at Stanford. In practical terms, if we can triple the energy density and simultaneously decrease the cost four-fold, that would be very exciting. We would have a cell phone with triple the battery life and an electric vehicle with a 300 mile range that cost $25,000 and with better performance than an internal combustion engine car getting 40 mpg, Chu said. The engineering challenge In the paper, the authors explain how they are overcoming the problems posed by lithium. Most lithium ion batteries, like those you might find in your smart phone or hybrid car, work similarly. The key components include an anode, the negative pole from which electrons flow out and into a power-hungry device, and the cathode, where the electrons re-enter the battery once they have traveled through the circuit. Separating them is an electrolyte, a solid or liquid loaded with positively charged lithium ions that travel between the anode and cathode. During charging, the positively charged lithium ions in the electrolyte are attracted to the negatively charged anode, and the lithium accumulates on the anode. Today, the anode in a lithium ion battery is actually made of graphite or silicon.Engineers would like to use lithium for the anode, but so far they have been unable to do so. Thats because the lithium ions expand as they gather on the anode during charging. All anode materials, including graphite and silicon, expand somewhat during charging, but not like lithium. Researchers say that lithiums expansion during charging is virtually infinite relative to the other materials. Its expansion is also uneven, causing pits and cracks to form in the outer surface, like paint on the exterior of a balloon that is being inflated. The resulting fissures on the surface of the anode allow the precious lithium ions to escape, forming hair-like or mossy growths, called dendrites. Dendrites, in turn, short circuit the battery and shorten its life. Preventing this buildup is the first challenge of using lithium for the batterys anode. The second engineering challenge involves finding a way to deal with the fact that lithium anodes are highly chemically reactive with the electrolyte. It uses up the electrolyte and reduces battery life. An additional problem is that the anode and electrolyte produce heat when they come into contact. Lithium batteries, including those in use today, can overheat to the point of fire, or even explosion. They are, therefore, a serious safety concern. The recent battery fires in Tesla cars and on Boeings Dreamliner are prominent examples of the challenges of lithium ion batteries. Building the nanospheres To solve these problems the Stanford researchers built a protective layer of interconnected carbon domes on top of their lithium anode. This layer is what the team has called nanospheres. The Stanford teams nanosphere layer resembles a honeycomb: it creates a flexible, uniform and non-reactive film that protects the unstable lithium from the drawbacks that have made it such a challenge. The carbon nanosphere wall is just 20 nanometers thick. It would take about 5,000 layers stacked one atop another to equal the width of single human hair. The ideal protective layer for a lithium metal anode needs to be chemically stable to protect against the chemical reactions with the electrolyte and mechanically strong to withstand the expansion of the lithium during charge, said Cui, who is a member of the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The Stanford nanosphere layer is just that. It is made of amorphous carbon, which is chemically stable, yet strong and flexible so as to move freely up and down with the lithium as it expands and contracts during the batterys normal charge-discharge cycle. Ideal within reach In technical terms, the nanospheres improve the coulombic efficiency of the battery a ratio of the amount of lithium that can be extracted from the anode when the battery is in use compared with the amount put in during charging. A single round of this give-and-take process is called a cycle. Generally, to be commercially viable, a battery must have a coulombic efficiency of 99.9 percent or more, ideally over as many cycles as possible. Previous anodes of unprotected lithium metal achieved approximately 96 percent efficiency, which dropped to less than 50 percent in just 100 cyclesnot nearly good enough. The Stanford teams new lithium metal anode achieves 99 percent efficiency even at 150 cycles. The difference between 99 percent and 96 percent, in battery terms, is huge. So, while were not quite to that 99.9 percent threshold, where we need to be, were close. And this is a significant improvement over any previous design, Cui said. With some additional engineering and new electrolytes, we believe we can realize a practical and stable lithium metal anode that could power the next generation of rechargeable batteries.Source: Stanford School of Engineering (https://engineering.stanford.edu/news/stanford-team-achieves-holy-grail-battery-design-stable-lithium-anode)Image reprinted with permission from Interconnected hollow carbon nanospheres for stable lithium metal anodes ; Guangyuan Zheng, Seok Woo Lee, Zheng Liang, Hyun-Wook Lee, Kai Yan, Hongbin Yao; Nature Nanotechnology 2014.
The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO), on behalf of the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee of the Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), will hold a public webinar on Thursday, July 31, 2014 from 12 pm to 1 pm EDT. The purpose of this webinar is to provide a forum to answer questions related to the Federal Government's Progress Review on the Coordinated Implementation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) 2011 Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Strategy. Discussion during the webinar will focus on the research activities undertaken by NNI agencies to advance the current state of the science as highlighted in the progress review. Representative research activities as provided in the Progress Review will be discussed in the context of the 2011 NNI EHS Research Strategy's six core research areas: Nanomaterial Measurement Infrastructure, Human Exposure Assessment, Human Health, the Environment, Risk Assessment and Risk Management Methods, and Informatics and Modeling. A moderator will identify relevant questions and pose them to the panel of NNI agency representatives during the live webinar. Due to time constraints, not all questions may be addressed. The moderator reserves the right to group similar questions and to skip questions, as appropriate. Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. (mailto:email@example.com%3cmailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) Details: Thursday, July 31, 2014, 12 pm 1 pm EDTLog in information and event details at http://www.nano.gov/2014webinar (http://www.nano.gov/2014webinar).A public copy of the Progress Review on the Coordinated Implementation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative 2011 Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Strategy can be accessed at www.nano.gov/2014EHSProgressReview (http://www.nano.gov/2014EHSProgressReview). The 2011 NNI EHS Research Strategy can be accessed at www.nano.gov/node/681 (http://www.nano.gov/node/681).Source: Federal Register (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/07/22/2014-17189/national-nanotechnology-coordination-office)
The lithium ion battery market has been growing steadily and has been seeking an approach to increase battery capacity while retaining its capacity for long recharging process. Structuring materials for electrode at the nanometre-length scale has been known to be an effective way to meet this demand; however, such nanomaterials would essentially need to be produced by high throughput processing in order to transfer these technologies to industry.This article published in the Science and Technology of Advanced Materials ("High throughput production of nanocomposite SiO x powders by plasma spray physical vapor deposition for negative electrode of lithium ion batteries" (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1088/1468-6996/15/2/025006)) reports an approach which potentially has an industrially compatible high throughputs to produce nano-sized composite silicon-based powders as a strong candidate for the negative electrode of the next generation high density lithium ion batteries. The authors have successfully produced nanocomposite SiO powders by plasma spray physical vapor deposition using low cost metallurgical grade powders at high throughputs. Using this method, they demonstrated an explicit improvement in the battery capacity cycle performance with these powders as electrode.The uniqueness of this processing method is that nanosized SiO composites are produced instantaneously through the evaporation and subsequent co-condensation of the powder feedstock. The approach is called plasma spray physical vapor deposition (PS-PVD). In Fig. 1, raw SiO and PS-PVD SiO composites are shown.The composites are 20 nm particles, which are composed of a crystalline Si core and SiOx shell. Furthermore, the addition of methane (CH4) promotes the reduction of SiO and results in the decreased SiO-shell thickness as shown in Fig. 2. The core-shell structure is formed in a single-step continuous processing.As a result, the irreversible capacity was effectively decreased, and half-cell batteries made of PS-PVD powders have exhibited improved initial efficiency and maintenance of capacity as high as 1000 mAhg-1 after 100 cycles at the same time.Source: National Institute for Materials Science
Vantaa, Finland 9th July 2014: Carbodeon, a Finnish-based producer of functionalised nanodiamond materials, can now achieve a 20 percent increase in polymer thermal performance by using as little as 0.03 wt.% nanodiamond material at 45 percent thermal filler loading, enabling increased performance at a lower cost than with traditional fillers. Last October, Carbodeon published its data on thermal fillers showing that the conductivity of polyamide 66 (PA66) based thermal compound could be increased by 25 percent by replacing 0.1 wt.% of the typically maximum effective level of boron nitride filler (45 wt.%) with the companys application fine-tuned nanodiamond material. The latest refinements in nanodiamond materials and compound manufacturing allow similar level performance improvements but with 70 percent less nanodiamond consumption and thus, greatly reduced cost. The samples were manufactured at the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland and their thermal performance was analyzed by ESK (3M) in Germany. The performance improvements achieved are derived from the extremely high thermal conductivity of diamond, our ability to optimise the nanodiamond filler affinity to applied polymers and other thermal fillers and finally, Carbodeons improvements in nanodiamond filler agglomeration control, said Carbodeon CTO Vesa Myllymäki. With the ability to control all these parameters, the nanotechnology key paradigm of less gives more can truly be realised. The active surface chemistry inherent in detonation-synthesised nanodiamonds has historically presented difficulties in utilising the potential benefits of the 4-6nm particles, making them prone to agglomeration. Carbodeon optimises this surface chemistry so that the particles are driven to disperse and to become consistently integrated throughout parent materials, especially polymers. The much-promised properties of diamond can thus be imparted to other materials with very low, and hence economic, concentrations. For more demanding requirements, conductivity increases of as much as 100 percent can be achieved using 1.5 percent nanodiamond materials at 20 percent thermal filler loadings. This increase in thermal conductivity is achieved without affecting the electrical insulation or other mechanical properties of the material and with no or very low tool wear, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of electronics and LED applications, said Vesa Myllymäki. We know we have not yet uncovered all the benefits that Carbodeon nanodiamonds can deliver and continue our focused application development on both polymer thermal compounds, and on metal finishing and industrial polymer coatings, Myllymäki added. Recently we were granted a patent on nanodiamond-containing thermoplastic thermal composites and we see great future opportunities for these materials. About Carbodeon Ltd Carbodeon supplies super hard materials for applications where toughness is at a premium. Its patented technologies offer superior opportunities to several fields of business. Its grades of Ultra-Dispersed Diamonds - also known as NanoDiamonds possess the desired properties fine-tuned for a growing number of dedicated applications. These grades are sold under the name uDiamond®. Similarly, the companys Nicanite® graphitic carbon nitride can be converted to carbon nitride thin-film coatings with unique properties. http://www.carbodeon.com (http://www.carbodeon.com) Contact: Camille Closs +44 (0)20 8286 0654 Watch PR email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
While research on silicon solar cells has progressed the development of all organic, inorganic, and hybrid materials systems to simultaneously address the diverse set of design criteria for optimal photovoltaic (PV) performance, incorporation of hybrid materials systems has proven to be an effective method to improve some of these issues. With crystalline silicon representing the standard for high efficiency in solar cell designs, cell cost and production capacity remain concerns for the growing emphasis on broad implementation of renewable energy strategies on a global basis, with solar PV being a leading competitor. With recent studies demonstrating that the approach incorporating p-type nano-Carbon with n-type silicon in a hybrid film approach provides excellent diode junction rectification properties, improved collection and transport efficiencies due to the enhanced conductivity of the nano-C film, and superior semiconductor barrier properties at the nano-C/silicon junction. While this has proven effective for small cell design of a few square millimeters, scaling the cell area has proven challenging due to the increase in sheet resistance (Rs) of the nano-C layer as area increases resulting in a reduction in cell efficiency. Recently, Li, et.al, from the Taylor group in the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department at Yale University, reported on a approach to significantly improve the performance for scaling up cell area for hybrid single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT)/Silicon solar cells. In this work, the authors utilized p-type SWNTs cast onto n-type silicon as a dense film approximately 15 nm in thickness. For small cell areas on the order of 1-2 mm2, cell performance was significantly improved in comparison to other hybrid approaches due to the low Rs of the SWNT film. For larger cell areas, the Rs increased substantially to kilo-ohm/square, resulting in decreased cell efficiency. While increasing the SWNT film thickness could potentially lower Rs, the trade-off would be a reduction in optical transparency for the film, which would still reduce cell efficiency during scale-up. Patterning of metal conductor traces over the SWNT film was considered as a means to reduce Rs, but the evaporation of metal over the SWNT film resulted in cell shorting as some of the metal penetrated the pores in the film to the silicon junction. Instead, a strategy of casting silver nanowires (AgNWs) from solution at medium densities was investigated as a means to lower Rs while maintaining reasonable optical transparency during cell area scale-up. Reported results showed that casting of the AgNW films over the SWNT film reduced Rs for the scaled cell structures, and that even with the slight increase in optical absorption with the additive bilayer film, the overall performance of the scaled cells was significantly improved in comparison to the SWNT/Silicon hybrid cell design. The cells exhibited improved fill-factors which were most predominant in enhancing the efficiency, even with slight reductions in open circuit voltage and short circuit current observed for the scaled cell areas. To further improve the optical absorption for the cell, the authors cast titania (TiO2) nanoparticles over the AgNW/SWNT surfaces to reduce reflection and increase forward scattering of incident solar radiation, resulting in a marginal improvement which was further increased via post process steps. This work has developed a solution-based approach to mitigate the total resistive power loss that typically hinders the area scale-up of hybrid nano-C/Si solar cells. A nearly twofold increase of photovoltaic efficiency is observed upon the coating of AgNWs onto SWNT/Si junctions, resulting from the significant reduction in the Rs enabled by the AgNW/SWNT bilayer. The SWNT thin film with high optical transparency and extremely small thickness also allows for the direct solution deposition of antireflective TiO2 nanoparticles. A final efficiency of >10% was realized in 49 mm2 cells, with implications for complete solution processed solar cell manufacturing and ultimately cell cost reduction. The work further illustrates the role and versatility that additive nanostructured films can contribute to performance improvements for cell area scale-up. References: Device Area Scale-Up and Improvement of SWNT/Si Solar Cells Using Silver Nanowires (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aenm.201400186/pdf). Xiaokai Li, Yeonwoong Jung, Jin-Shun Huang, Tenghooi Goh, and André D. Taylor; Advanced Energy Materials 2014. DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201400186 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aenm.201400186) Images reprinted with permission from John Wiley and Sons; Advanced Energy Materials; Device Area Scale-Up and Improvement of SWNT/Si Solar Cells Using Silver Nanowires; © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH Co. KGaA, Weinheim; Xiaokai Li,Yeonwoong Jung,Jing-Shun Huang,Tenghooi Goh,André D. Taylor.
Researchers from Kyoto University in Japan have developed a novel way to waterproof new functionalized materials involved in gas storage and separation by adding exterior surface grooves. Their study, published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, provides a blueprint for researchers to build similar materials involved in industrial applications, such as high performance gas separation and energy storage.
A recent Request for Information (RFI) disseminated by the Department of Defense (DoD) solicits input from Industry and Academia as part in order to better understand the state-of-the-art, needs, and potential market and economic impact for future Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMIs). These institutes are consortium-based Public Private Partnerships enabling the scale-up of advanced manufacturing technologies and processes with the goal of successful transition of existing science and technology into the marketplace for both Defense and commercial applications. The IMI will be led by a not-for-profit organization and focus on one technology area. DoD is seeking responses which will assist in the selection of a technology focus area from those currently under consideration.
The Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge (NACK) Network (http://nano4me.org/) has announced its late summer and fall 2014 offerings of the NACK Nanotechnolgy Resource and Hands-On Introduction to Nanotechnology Workshops, held at the Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization (CNEU) at Penn State University.The Course Resource Workshops series consists of two workshops designed to provide the resources needed to effectively teach undergraduate nanotechnology courses based upon the NACK suite of six nanotechnology courses. They can be attended in any order to meet the needs and schedules of the workshop participants.The next Course Resource Workshop offering will be the August 11-14 offering of Nanotechnology Course Resources II: Patterning, Characterization Applications. This workshop will focus on the second set of courses in the 6 course suite: (4) Patterning for Nanotechnology, (5) Materials Modification for Nanotechnology Applications, and (6) Characterization, Testing of Nanotechnology Structures and Materials. (NOTE: This workshop will be offered again on October 6-9. Their April 2014 Course Resource I workshop was very successful with representatives of educational institutions from 7 states in attendance. This workshop Nanotechnology Course Resources I: Safety, Processing Materials will again be offered September 15-18. This workshop focuses on the first set of courses in the 6 course suite: (1) Materials, Safety, and Equipment Overview, (2) Basic Nanotechnology Processes, and (3) Materials in Nanotechnology. Our Hand-On Introduction to Nanotechnology Workshop will be offered for the second time this year November 11-13, 2014. This workshop presents an overview of the world of nanotechnology. Participants will learn about the growing applications of nano in industry and about nanofabrication processes and tools. All workshops have hands-on lab activities in cleanrooms at Penn State. Financial support to attend the workshops is available! The support covers the registration fee, travel expenses, and lodging. The form to apply for financial support is included with along with the workshop applications. NACK has had some very nice feedback on the workshop from past participants. Below is a sampling of attendee feedback from their recent workshop experiences: You guys are an inspiration. Penn State is a leader in nanotechnology instruction. Keep up the good work!!! The labs were fantastic. Overall this workshop is awesome and great! The workshop was fantastic. I gained a valuable understanding of nanofabrication and applications. Excellent overall. Lecture/Lab format was the best. The staff and faculty at this workshop are great and very helpful. This was an awesome workshop. I learned so much and hope I can get our students as excited as I am. I was very impressed with the workshop. I learned a tremendous amount. It was very valuable learned a lot on the basics of vacuum technology in much more detailed and comprehensive manner remote sensing and learning to use it was equally valuable. This workshop was probably the best I have ever attended! Excellent job. For more detailed information about the workshops (as well as a word version of the applications) refer to our website at http://nano4me.org/workshops (http://nano4me.org/workshops) Please apply as soon as possible for these upcoming workshops as spaces fill up quickly. The application period for the August workshop closes on June 30, 2014.Source: NACK
To coincide with Graphene Week 2014 (http://graphene-flagship.eu/?page_id=554), the Graphene Flagship (http://graphene-flagship.eu/) is proud to announce that today one of the largest-ever European research initiatives is doubling in size. 66 new partners are being invited to join the consortium following the results of a 9 million competitive call. While most partners are universities and research institutes, the share of companies, mainly SMEs, involved is increasing. This shows the growing interest of economic actors in graphene. The partnership now includes more than 140 organisations from 23 countries. It is fully set to take wonder material graphene and related layered materials from academic laboratories to everyday use. Vice-President of the European Commission @NeelieKroesEU (https://twitter.com/NeelieKroesEU), responsible for the Digital Agenda (http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/), welcomed the extended partnership: Europe is leading the graphene revolution. This wonder material has the potential dramatically to improve our lives: it stimulates new medical technologies, such as artificial retinas, and more sustainable transport with light and ultra-efficient batteries. The more we can unlock the potential of graphene, the better! SMEs on the Rise The 66 new partners come from 19 countries, six of which are new to the consortium: Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Israel. With its 16 new partners, Italy now has the highest number of partners in the Graphene Flagship alongside Germany (with 23 each), followed by Spain (18), UK (17) and France (13). The incoming 66 partners will add new capabilities to the scientific and technological scope of the flagship. Over one third of new partners are companies, mainly SMEs, showing the growing interest of economic actors in graphene. In the initial consortium this ratio was 20%. Big Interest in Joining the Initiative The 9 million competitive call of the 54 million ramp-up phase (2014-2015) attracted a total of 218 proposals, representing 738 organisations from 37 countries. The proposals received were evaluated on the basis of their scientific and technological expertise, implementation and impact (further information on the call (http://www.graphenecall.esf.org/)) and ranked by an international panel of leading experts, mostly eminent professors from all over the world. 21 proposals were selected for funding. Prof. Jari Kinaret, Professor of Physics at the Chalmers University of Technology (http://www.chalmers.se/en/Pages/default.aspx), Sweden, and Director of the Graphene Flagship, said: The response was overwhelming, which is an indicator of the recognition for and trust in the flagship effort throughout Europe. Competition has been extremely tough. I am grateful for the engagement by the applicants and our nearly 60 independent expert reviewers who helped us through this process. I am impressed by the high quality of the proposals we received and looking forward to working with all the new partners to realise the goals of the Graphene Flagship. Europe in the Driving Seat Graphene was made and tested in Europe, leading to the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov from the University of Manchester. With the 1 billion Graphene Flagship, Europe will be able to turn cutting-edge scientific research into marketable products. This major initiative places Europe in the driving seat for the global race to develop graphene technologies. Prof. Andrea Ferrari, Director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre (http://www.graphene.cam.ac.uk/) and Chair of the Executive Board of the Graphene Flagship commented todays announcement on new partners: This adds strength to our unprecedented effort to take graphene and related materials from the lab to the factory floor, so that the world-leading position of Europe in graphene science can be translated into technology, creating a new graphene-based industry, with benefits for Europe in terms of job creation and competitiveness. Background The Graphene Flagship @GrapheneCA (https://twitter.com/GrapheneCA) represents a European investment of 1 billion over the next 10 years. It is part of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships (http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/fet-flagships) @FETFlagships (https://twitter.com/search?q=%40FETflagships src=typd) announced by the European Commission in January 2013 (press release (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-54_en.htm)). The goal of the FET Flagships programme is to encourage visionary research with the potential to deliver breakthroughs and major benefits for European society and industry. FET Flagships are highly ambitious initiatives involving close collaboration with national and regional funding agencies, industry and partners from outside the European Union. Research in the next generation of technologies is key for Europes competitiveness. This is why 2.7 billion will be invested in Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) (http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/future-emerging-technologies-fet) under the new research programme Horizon 2020 (http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en) #H2020 (2014-2020). This represents a nearly threefold increase in budget compared to the previous research programme, FP7. FET actions are part of the Excellent science (http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/excellent-science) pillar of Horizon 2020.Source: Graphene Flagship (http://graphene-flagship.eu/?news=graphene-flagship-a-nnoun-ces-huge-new-influx-of-partners-through-competitive-call)
Today, three final guidances and one draft guidance were issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration providing greater regulatory clarity for industry on the use of nanotechnology in FDA-regulated products.One final guidance addresses the agencys overall approach for all products that it regulates, while the two additional final guidances and the new draft guidance provide specific guidance for the areas of foods, cosmetics and food for animals, respectively. Nanotechnology is an emerging technology that allows scientists to create, explore and manipulate materials on a scale measured in nanometersparticles so small that they cannot be seen with a regular microscope. The technology has a broad range of potential applications, such as improving the packaging of food and altering the look and feel of cosmetics.Our goal remains to ensure transparent and predictable regulatory pathways, grounded in the best available science, in support of the responsible development of nanotechnology products, said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. We are taking a prudent scientific approach to assess each product on its own merits and are not making broad, general assumptions about the safety of nanotechnology products.The three final guidance documents reflect the FDAs current thinking on these issues after taking into account public comment received on the corresponding draft guidance documents previously issued (draft agency guidance in 2011; and draft cosmetics and foods guidances in 2012). The FDA does not make a categorical judgment that nanotechnology is inherently safe or harmful, and will continue to consider the specific characteristics of individual products. All four guidance documents encourage manufacturers to consult with the agency before taking their products to market. Consultations with the FDA early in the product development process help to facilitate a mutual understanding about specific scientific and regulatory issues relevant to the nanotechnology product, and help address questions related to safety, effectiveness, public health impact and/or regulatory status of the product.The guidances are: FDA (http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm402499.htm)
Sandia National Laboratories has come up with an inexpensive way to synthesize titanium-dioxide nanoparticles and is seeking partners who can demonstrate the process at industrial scale for everything from solar cells to light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Titanium-dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles show great promise as fillers to tune the refractive index of anti-reflective coatings on signs and optical encapsulants for LEDs, solar cells and other optical devices. Optical encapsulants are coverings or coatings, usually made of silicone, that protect a device. Industry has largely shunned TiO2 nanoparticles because theyve been difficult and expensive to make, and current methods produce particles that are too large. Sandia became interested in TiO2 for optical encapsulants because of its work on LED materials for solid-state lighting.Current production methods for TiO2 often require high-temperature processing or costly surfactants molecules that bind to something to make it soluble in another material, like dish soap does with fat. Those methods produce less-than-ideal nanoparticles that are very expensive, can vary widely in size and show significant particle clumping, called agglomeration. Sandias technique, on the other hand, uses readily available, low-cost materials and results in nanoparticles that are small, roughly uniform in size and dont clump. We wanted something that was low cost and scalable, and that made particles that were very small, said researcher Todd Monson, who along with principal investigator Dale Huber patented the process in mid-2011 as Laboratory Directed Research and Development (http://www.sandia.gov/research/laboratory_directed_research/index.html) project Huber began in 2005. The original project goals were to investigate the basic science of nanoparticle dispersions, but when this synthesis was developed near the end of the project, the commercial applications were obvious, Huber said. The researchers subsequently refined the process to make particles easier to manufacture. Existing synthesis methods for TiO2 particles were too costly and difficult to scale up production. In addition, chemical suppliers ship titanium-dioxide nanoparticles dried and without surfactants, so particles clump together and are impossible to break up. Then you no longer have the properties you want, Monson said. The researchers tried various types of alcohol as an inexpensive solvent to see if they could get a common titanium source, titanium isopropoxide, to react with water and alcohol. The biggest challenge, Monson said, was figuring out how to control the reaction, since adding water to titanium isopropoxide most often results in a fast reaction that produces large chunks of TiO2, rather than nanoparticles. So the trick was to control the reaction by controlling the addition of water to that reaction, he said. Textbooks said making nanoparticles couldnt be done, Sandia persisted Some textbooks dismissed the titanium isopropoxide-water-alcohol method as a way of making TiO2 nanoparticles. Huber and Monson, however, persisted until they discovered how to add water very slowly by putting it into a dilute solution of alcohol. As we tweaked the synthesis conditions, we were able to synthesize nanoparticles, Monson said. The next step is to demonstrate synthesis at an industrial scale, which will require a commercial partner. Monson, who presented the work at Sandias fall Science and Technology Showcase (https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_releases/technology_showcase2/#.U1-wesfOO9c), said Sandia has received inquiries from companies interested in commercializing the technology. Here at Sandia were not set up to produce the particles on a commercial scale, he said. We want them to pick it up and run with it and start producing these on a wide enough scale to sell to the end user. Sandia would synthesize a small number of particles, then work with a partner company to form composites and evaluate them to see if they can be used as better encapsulants for LEDs, flexible high-index refraction composites for lenses or solar concentrators. I think it can meet quite a few needs, Monson said.Source: Sandia National Laboratories (https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_releases/nanoparticles_production/#.U6Hq8KLlFZI)
Material researchers at the INM Leibniz Institute for New Materials will be presenting a composite material which prevents metal corrosion in an environmentally friendly way, even under extreme conditions. It can be used wherever metals are exposed to severe weather conditions, aggressive gases, media containing salt, heavy wear or high pressures.The INM from Saarbruecken will be one of the few German research institutions at the TechConnect World trade fair on 16 and 17 June in Washington DC, USA, where it will be presenting this and other results. Working in cooperation with the VDI Association of German Engineers it will be showcasing its latest developments at Stand 301 in the German Area.This patented composite exhibits its action by spray application, explains Carsten Becker-Willinger, Head of the Nanomers Program Division. The key is the structuring of this layer - the protective particles arrange themselves like roof tiles. As in a wall, several layers of particles are placed on top of each other in an offset arrangement; the result is a self-organized, highly structured barrier, says the chemical nanotechnology expert. The protective layer is just a few micrometers thick and prevents penetration by gases and electrolytes. It provides protection against corrosion caused by aggressive aqueous solutions, including for example salt solutions such as salt spray on roads and seawater, or aqueous acids such as acid rain. The protective layer is an effective barrier, even against corrosive gases or under pressure. After thermal curing, the composite adheres to the metal substrate, is abrasion-stable and impact-resistant. As a result, it can withstand high mechanical stress. The coating passes the falling ball test with a steel hemispherical ball weighing 1.5 kg from a height of one meter without chipping or breaking and exhibits only slight deformation, which means that the new material can be used even in the presence of sand or mineral dust without wear and tear.The composite can be applied by spraying or other commonly used wet chemistry processes and cures at 150-200°C. It is suitable for steels, metal alloys and metals such as aluminum, magnesium and copper, and can be used to coat any shape of plates, pipes, gear wheels, tools or machine parts. The specially formulated mixture contains a solvent, a binder and nanoscale and platelet-like particles; it does not contain chromium VI or other heavy metals.Source: INM - Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien
Dr. Malcolm Gillis, a distinguished economist, served as President of Rice University from 1993 to 2004 and has been at the forefront of international research collaboration, working with Lord David Sainsbury when he was Minister for Science, to pioneer a truly international approach between the leading research academics working in nano science in the U.S., U.K. and Europe at leading research institutions. His upcoming lecture, Convergences in Technologies: Nano Bio and Info on June 3, 2014, will be held at The Royal Institution of Great Britain (http://www.rigb.org/), 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS, starting at 7:00 pm. To reserve tickets, please submit request to email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org). NanoBCA Please tell us about the genesis of your upcoming lecture concerning the convergence of Nano, Bio and Info. Dr. Gillis This will be the latest in a long series of lectures I have given over the last two decades about the promise of nanotechnology. My involvement in nano at Rice during that exciting time when Dr. Richard Smalleys team was conducting extraordinary work, and my subsequent involvement in the nano community has afforded me the ability to observe progress and trends not only in the U.S. but worldwide. During that time, I have had the good opportunity to engage with leaders in the field in Germany, Ireland, Scotland and England, among others. Its been an enlightening and inspiring journey for me. The goal of the upcoming lecture is to educate the general public, and to start a dialogue with a broader array of stakeholders, of the extraordinary possibilities that are borne at the intersection nano, bio, and information technologies. NanoBCA How did you come to work with Lord Sainsbury and what are the specific outcomes for the U.K. and Texas nano communities? Dr. Gillis I first met Lord Sainsbury in the late 1990s on a trip to the U.K. to give a lecture at the Royal Academy in Edinburgh, after which Lord Sainsbury and I met in London to explore potential collaborations in the field of nanotechnology. I remember being struck by how extremely well prepared he was on the subject. In just thirty minutes time, we were able to agree and establish the Nano Bio Collaborative on Research which involved eight British universities and ten Texas research universities. The Collaborative launched in 2002. Lord Sainsbury provided several million pounds to the effort. The Collaborative was extremely successful and lasted for ten years. NanoBCA The 21st Century Nanotechnology R D Act was signed into law by President Bush in December of 2003. Since then, the U.S. Government has spent approximately $20 billion on nanotechnology R D. This investment was spread over 9 major U.S. agencies. What do you believe are some of the major accomplishments as they relate to nanobio? Dr. Gillis There have been so many notable achievements. Too many to cover here but let me mention a few that stand out in my mind. There was a $2.9 million grant from NIH to fund research at Rice and Baylor College of Medicine for neuro-vascular regeneration which has generated great results in that field. Another grant was provided in the amount of £6.7 million from BPSRC for research at University College London and Swansea for research in interactive medical devices. The Center of Nano Health was established in Wales with a£1.9 million grant from BPSRC. And there were another eight or so grants in the range of $30 million for funding other areas of research. You mention the signing of the 21st Century Nanotechnology R D Act in 2003. Neal Lane, who is at Rice with me, and was the former Provost at Rice and former head of the NSF was very instrumental in getting that legislation passed. That legislation set in motion four generations of evolution in nano: first, the immediate effect of moving from prior-2000 (buckeyballs and nanotubes) to 2nd generation (2000-2005) of more active nanoparticles, and 3rd and now 4th. The National Nanotechnology Initiative was absolutely instrumental. According a recent article in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, there are now some 507 nanotech firms worldwide. Two-thirds of those are small firms, which is where a lot of truly great innovation occurs. NanoBCA Often we hear a variety of different opinions about the definition of nanotechnology. Whats your opinion? Dr. Gillis From my perspective, the definition of nanotechnology is broad and includes many biological innovations, because most anything that goes on in a human cell is natures nanotechnology. NanoBCA One of the participating agencies of the NNI is the NIH. What are some breakthroughs we can expect from NIH in the next 5-10 years? Dr. Gillis There have been some very significant advances in therapy and diagnostics which will continue to deliver tremendous results in the years ahead. For instance, novel techniques developed at Rice and other places that allow for the use of gold nanoshells to kill cancer cells. Also, advances that allow targeted delivery of cancer drugs to a single cell. Breakthroughs in early cancer cell detection will have a profound impact. Unfortunately, due to woes in the federal budget, prospects for increased funding for NIH are not bright and will limit the possibility of breakthroughs. However, we will certainly continue to see breakthroughs in cancer treatment, biomarkers and tissue engineering. Lab-on-a-chip is also coming close to a reality. Human tissues married with nanowires create a type of cyborg tissue that might enable doctors to monitor changes in human tissue not imagined before. And, there are remarkable developments in building living tissue with 3D printing technologies. Genomics has already given us a complete parts list for humans. New advances in nano-bio-IT provide us with the extensive capability to manmake these parts. In conclusion, the big picture for future breakthroughs is that most of these advances are the product of the convergence of nano, bio and information technologies. That convergence is a powerful force for innovation. That will be the focus of my lecture in London on June 3rd. NanoBCA Dr. Gillis, thank you for your time and tremendous insight. Good luck in London! Thank you Dr. Gillis for your contributions to the nano community over the last decade.
Theuse of nanotechnology for effective filtration of contaminants, ions, or toxicparticles from water and air sources has been demonstrated at various levelsnow for well over a decade. As methods to scale technologies for industrialapplication through emerging nanomanufacturing methodologies have matured inrecent years, an emerging focus has been the development of personal protectiongarments, textiles, and equipment based on nanostructured materials that canadsorb or filter potential contaminants based on size of ionic charge or particles.Similarly, antimicrobial/antibacterial surfaces can be created by tailoring thesurface morphology and functionality nanostructured materials to effectivelycapture or immobilize the microbes, and have shown superior properties incomparison to other approaches in part by way of the ultrahigh surface area ofsuch materials. Examples that have previously been reported on InterNanoinclude silver nanowires, carbon nanotubes, and woven nanofibers. Single walledcarbon nanotubes (SWNTs) for example have exhibited unprecedented properties interms of water transport with size dependent ion and heavy metal exclusion onthe order of 1-2 nm. SWNTs are also the foundation for wearable protectivesuites for first responders (http://www.internano.org/content/view/745/251/), that enablebreathability while also enabling other functionalities such as the sensing of chem/biothreats, isolating the wearer from the threat, and then providing breathabilityonce the threat has been mitigated. While such functionally reactive protectivegarments are still in development, nearer term technology impact utilizing highsurface area nanoporous or nanofiber materials are already at hand. One of the the challenges for personal protection equipment (PPE) garments is the need toprovide breathability. Recently, nanofibers have been demonstrated to providecompetitive or superior performance for filtration of pollutants and possibletoxic particulate matter for protective masks. R D Magazine reports theuse of nanofiber face masks developed by Hong Kong Polytechnic University totrap the most harmful air pollutants at PM 2.5 (2.5 microns) and smaller. Dr.Leung and his team have developed effective filters that also allow adequateair-flow for respiration., reports Alan Rae in a recent expert commentary toInterNano.http://www.rdmag.com/news/2014/05/multilayer-nanofiber-face-mask-helps-combat-pollution Theuse of nanofibers in a textile-like filter allows sufficient air-flow forrespiration for continuous wearability while demonstrating effective filtrationof particulate to the micron scale, and partial filtration of particles down tothe 100 nm scale. Further developments in this area would anticipateimprovements to enable effective screening of nanoscale pollutants. In thisparadigm, nanomaterials provide a significant societal benefit addressing theneed for both workforce and public safety while enabling PPE concepts withunique and superior performance. In addition, scaled nanomanufacturing willultimately affect new markets for application of such materials that requirechallenging form factors, assembly, or integration with other functionalities.The NNN looks forward to future reporting of such technology demonstrations andcommercialization.