- Education & Outreach
National Nanomanufacturing Network
Elmarco introduces the updated Nanospider ("NS") LAB the first product update to the worlds best selling nanofiber research tool which was originally launched in 2005 at the Nanotech exhibition in Tokyo, Japan. Designed for experimental work on nanofiber material and applications, this new product incorporates years of customer feedback and product support. With a smaller footprint and lower cost, the NS LAB now makes use of the stationary wire electrode first introduced into Elmarcos industrial lines in 2010.
Surface coatings specialist Carbodeon has released a new PTFE/NanoDiamond coating with twice the durability and up to 66 percent less friction than current products. The new coating has huge potential to cost-effectively reduce CO2 output and fuel demand, as well as to improve equipment lifespan, in fields such as the automotive, aerospace and industrial machinery industries.
In 2004, a single layer of graphite known as graphene was synthesized for the first time via mechanical exfoliation of graphite. This discovery, for which Novoselov and Geim were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010, has ushered in a 'graphene frontier' with worldwide interest in exploiting their intriguing potential for technological applications in fields such as nanoelectronics and energy storage. The primary method that is used to fabricate large-scale transparent graphene films is chemical vapor deposition (CVD). However, this requires high-temperature processing and relatively long deposition times. Furthermore, this precludes the deposition of graphene onto temperature-sensitive substrates. Although the deposited films may be flaked off the metallic (usually Cu) substrate for transfer to another surface, this will lead to the incorporation of impurities and structural defects.
The administration has recently announced the latest awards for Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (http://manufacturing.gov/nnmi.html) (MIIs), a public-private partnership intended to boost advanced manufacturing while strengthening U.S. capabilities in defense, and creating sustainable economic impact and jobs through enhanced global competitiveness, and higher paying domestic jobs. Two new MIIs led by the Department of Defense supported by a $140 million Federal commitment combined with even larger non-federal resources are the Detroit-area headquartered consortium of businesses and universities with a focus on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing, and a Chicago headquartered consortium of businesses and universities that will concentrate on digital manufacturing and design innovation technologies. In concert with the announcement, the administration additionally delivered on its promise to continue the establishment of a network of MIIs throughout the U.S. by launching a competition for a new MII to build U.S. strength in manufacturing advanced composites as the first of four new competitions to be launched this year. This announcement builds off the success of a pilot Additive Manufacturing Institute (https://americamakes.us/) (AMI) headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio awarded in 2012, along with the new Department of Energy-led Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute (http://www.ncsu.edu/power/) in Raleigh, N.C., which was announced last month. The promise of 4 new MIIs pushes the U.S. over the top in achieving a critical goal of the administration, with broader impact to U.S. manufacturing, jobs, and sustainable economic impact. The new competition for an Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation Institute (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/manufacturing/newsandevents/news_detail.html?news_id=21300), led by the Department of Energy, will award $70 million over five years to improve U.S. capability to manufacture advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites at the production speed, cost and performance needed for widespread use in clean energy products including fuel-efficient and electric vehicles, wind turbines and hydrogen and natural gas storage tanks.
MIT researchers sponsored by Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the worlds leading university-research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, have introduced new directed self-assembly (DSA) techniques that promise to help semiconductor manufacturers develop more advanced and less expensive components. The MIT research focuses on the issue of next-generation lithography in the semiconductor manufacturing process. Photolithography at a 193 nanometer (nm) wavelength is currently used for semiconductor device manufacturing, but that is reaching its limit with feature sizes around 25 nm. Electron-beam lithography can produce smaller features and is used for mask making, one of the critical steps in semiconductor manufacturing. However, the throughput of electron-beam lithography is currently insufficient for sub-20 nm resolution patterning over large areas.
A prevalent challenge for progress in nanotechnology is characterization (http://www.internano.org/content/view/114/253/) [1 (#ref1), 2 (#ref2)]. Characterization, the measurement of various physicochemical properties of materials, is crucial for the evolution of nanotechnology from rudimentary nanomaterials and devices to those that are precision-engineered, mass producible, and safe. Each of the main sectors of nanotechnology research, manufacturing, and regulation needs systematic characterization in order to maximize knowledge and control of nanomaterials. Due to a number of factors, many of the nanomaterials that have been synthesized thus far are poorly defined, which can lead to false generalizations about performance and toxicity. The advancement of nanotechnology depends upon a coordinated effort made by researchers, manufacturers, regulators, and funding agencies to improve characterization techniques and practices so that well-defined and reproducible nanomaterials are studied and manufactured. An important consequence of thoroughly characterized materials will be increased public awareness, acceptance and use of nanotechnology.
Space and defense electronics are two of the most conservative markets in terms of new materials qualification unless there is a pressing technical issue. Counterfeiting is a huge issue for space, where recall and repair are excruciatingly expensive, or impractical [1 (#ref1)][2 (#ref2)]. One of the root causes for a recent failure was alleged to be counterfeit SRAM memory chips. In aviation and defense, the problems may be due to the age of the systems and the reliance and rapid obsolescence of COTS (commercial-off-the shelf) electronics with a lifetime of a few years whereas weapons systems have lifetimes of decades. An extreme example is the B-52, first flown in 1952 with a projected retirement date of 2040! Couple this with data quoted by King that 57% of counterfeit-part reports from 2001 through 2012 involved obsolete components and we have a real problem.
Molecular Imprints Inc. (MII), the market and technology leader for nanopatterning systems and solutions, today announced it has signed an agreement to sell its semiconductor imprint lithography equipment business to Canon Inc. of Tokyo, Japan. Canon currently manufactures and markets KrF excimer and i-line illumination optical lithography platforms. Canon began conducting research into nanoimprint technology in 2004 to enter the market for lithography equipment for leading-edge high-resolution patterning. Since 2009, the Company has been carrying out joint development with MII and a major semiconductor manufacturer for mass production using MIIs Jet and Flash™ Imprint Lithography (J-FIL™) technology.
The forum's participants described nanomanufacturing as a future megatrend that will potentially match or surpass the digital revolution's effect on society and the economy. They anticipated further scientific breakthroughs that will fuel new engineering developments; continued movement into the manufacturing sector; and more intense international competition. Although limited data on international investments made comparisons difficult, participants viewed the U.S. as likely leading in nanotechnology research and development (R&D) today. At the same time, they identified several challenges to U.S. competitiveness in nanomanufacturing, such as inadequate U.S. participation and leadership in international standard setting; the lack of a national vision for a U.S. nanomanufacturing capability; some competitor nations' aggressive actions and potential investments; and funding or investment gaps in the United States (illustrated in the figure, below), which may hamper U.S. innovators' attempts to transition nanotechnology from R&D to full-scale manufacturing.
Fabrication of three-dimensional (3D) objects through direct deposition of functional materials also called additive manufacturing has been a subject of intense study in the area of macroscale manufacturing for several decades. These 3D printing techniques are reaching a stage where desired products and structures can be made independent of the complexity of their shapes even bioprinting tissue is now in the realm of the possible.
Public surveys are an extremely useful tool in assessing stakeholder opinions, needs, and feedback regarding targeted topics. The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (http://www.ncms.org) (NCMS (http://www.ncms.org)) has partnered with the National Science Foundation (http://www.nsf.gov) under the auspices of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (http://www.nano.gov) (NNI) to conduct its latest study of commercialization trends in nanotechnology and nanofabrication. The goal of the 2014 survey is to document best practices in nanomanufacturing, i.e; nano-product development and integration, and subsequently identify the challenges stakeholders (academia, government labs, start-ups or established corporations) face in transitioning advances in nanotechnology from the laboratory to sustainable commercial applications of nano-enabled products.
Soiling -- the accumulation of dust and sand -- on solar power reflectors and photovoltaic cells is one of the main efficiency drags for solar power plants, capable of reducing reflectivity up to 50 percent in 14 days. Though plants can perform manual cleaning and brushing with deionized water and detergent, this labor-intensive routine significantly raises operating and maintenance costs (O&M), which is reflected in the cost of solar energy for consumers. Under the sponsorship of the Department of Energys Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy SunShot Concentrating Solar Power Program, Oak Ridge National Laboratory is developing a low-cost, transparent, anti-soiling (or self-cleaning) coating for solar reflectors to optimize energy efficiency while lowering O&M costs and avoiding negative environmental impacts.
Pixelligent Technologies, manufacturer of PixClear and leading producer of advanced high index materials for demanding applications in the solid-state lighting, flat panel display, and optical components and films markets, announced today that it has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (http://science.energy.gov/sbir/) (SBIR) Phase I grant by the Department of Energy (http://science.energy.gov) (DOE). The nine-month, $150,000 program will enable Pixelligent to accelerate the development of its proprietary nanocrystal dispersions for use in OLED lighting. As part of this program, Pixelligent will partner with OLEDWorks LLC (http://www.oledworks.com/), a leading OLED lighting company.
Those of you familiar with electronics will know that three of the most read roadmaps are the ITRS (http://www.itrs.net/) (International Roadmap for Semiconductors (http://www.itrs.net/)) roadmap, from the perspective of the semiconductor industry; the iNEMI (http://www.inemi.org) (International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (http://www.inemi.org)) roadmap, bringing together the value chain from OEMs to material and equipment suppliers; and the IPC (http://www.ipc.org) (Association Connecting Electronic Industries (http://www.ipc.org)) roadmap, focused on package and board assembly and fabrication. iNEMI publishes their Research Priorities every other year after the roadmap has been analyzed and the iNEMI 2013 Research Priorities are accessible at iNEMI.org (http://www.iNEMI.org). These Priorities represent the longer-term research needs identified by the 650 participants, 375 organizations and 18 countries represented. How do nanomaterials and nanostructures figure in the current Research Priorities? In 2008 five years ago the number of internet-connected devices exceeded the number of people on earth (http://share.cisco.com/internet-of-things.html). The internet of things and cloud computing are dramatically altering the landscape of electronics from communications to transportation to medicine. The better-smaller-faster-cheaper and thinner handheld devices we need require new materials sets and designs.
New Factory Creates Robust Technology Industrial Presence in Arkansas Springdale, Ark. (January 15, 2014) Today NanoMech announced it has purchased its existing factory and will build an adjoining state-of-the-art facility in east Springdale. The approximate 25,000 square foot building will triple the size of current operations and will serve as the companys world headquarters. NanoMech is a global nanomanufacturing company founded right here in Northwest Arkansas, said NanoMech CEO Jim Phillips. The new factory and expanded headquarters will provide for approximately 25-50 new jobs for world-class scientists and support staff. The space will also allow us to meet current demand for our products while advancing ongoing research and development efforts. This state-of-the-art, smart manufacturing facility and laboratories will further position our products and scientists as some of the best and most innovative in the world.
Nanocomp Technologies, Inc., a developer of performance materials and products composed of its unique carbon nanotubes (CNTs), today announced it has been awarded $18.5 million in additional funding under the Defense Production Act Title III program ("DPA Title III") to supply CNT yarn, sheet, tape, and slurry materials for the program needs of the Department of Defense, as well as for commercial industrial markets. The mission of the DPA Title III Program is to create assured and affordable production of products that have been identified as essential for national defense, but where U.S. industry has not demonstrated an ability to deliver due to market conditions or other fiscal barriers. By means of a Presidential Determination, Nanocomp's CNT materials were identified to satisfy this critical gap. Initial funding of $2.2 M was provided by DPA Title III in 2011, along with substantial Company investments, enabling Nanocomp to construct a 30,000 square foot Pilot Plant, the nation's largest, and relocate its headquarters to Merrimack, NH.
Tera-Barrier Films (TBF) Pte Ltd, a spin-off company from A*STARs Institute of Materials Research and Engineerings (IMRE), has invented a new plastic film using a revolutionary nano-inspired process that makes the material thinner but as effective as aluminium foil in keeping air and moisture at bay. The stretchable plastic could be an alternative for prolonging shelf-life of pharmaceuticals, food and electronics, bridging the gap of aluminium foil and transparent oxide films.
The French company NanoThinking (https://www.nanothinking.com) announces the release of the NanoTechMap: it gives a comprehensive view of the industrial offer in the field of nanotechnology and provides more visibility to actors in this field for a very modest cost compare to standard exhibitions.
(http://www.soligie.com)FlexTech Alliance today announced two R&D awards to Soligie of Savage, Minn. The intent of the awards is to advance flexible, printed electronics manufacturing and obtain delivery of innovative project demonstrators in 2014. The initial award is to a Soligieled team comprising Boeing, American Semiconductor and Imprint Energy. The team will develop and demonstrate a sensor platform leveraging printed components and silicon-on-polymer technology to achieve a thin, conformable and lightweight form factor. The goal is commercializing a sensing system consisting of a power source, microcontroller, display, and wireless communication channel, as well as an interchangeable or disposable portion that can be chosen by the user based on the application. Commercial and military applications include vital sign monitoring, environmental monitoring, point-of-care diagnostics, structural health monitoring, and many others.
3M announces the launch of a new touch sensor film, 3M Patterned Silver Nanowire Film, that combines the expertise of two leading technology and manufacturing companies to provide the quality, unique attributes, and volume that touch screen manufacturers demand. 3M plans to ramp up its total global touch sensor film manufacturing capacity to more than 600,000 square meters per month in 2014, which includes 3M Patterned Silver Nanowire Touch Sensor Film, 3M Patterned Metal Mesh Touch Sensor Film and 3M Advanced ITO Touch Sensor Film. This capacity will help support the growing demand for consumer touch enabled devices such as tablets, laptops, all-in-ones (AIO) and monitors.