National Nanomanufacturing Network

Novel nanoparticle production method could lead to better lights, lenses, solar cells

National Nanomanufacturing Network - June 18, 2014 - 9:39am
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 they’ve 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. Sandia’s technique, on the other hand, uses readily available, low-cost materials and results in nanoparticles that are small, roughly uniform in size and don’t 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 ( 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 couldn’t 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 Sandia’s fall Science and Technology Showcase (, said Sandia has received inquiries from companies interested in commercializing the technology. “Here at Sandia we’re 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 (

New nanocomposite protects from corrosion at high mechanical stress

National Nanomanufacturing Network - June 11, 2014 - 5:48am
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

NanoBCA Interview with Nanotech Pioneer Dr. Malcolm Gillis

National Nanomanufacturing Network - June 4, 2014 - 7:57am
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 (, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS, starting at 7:00 pm. To reserve tickets, please submit request to ( 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 Smalley’s 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. It’s 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.” What’s 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 “nature’s 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.

Nanomaterials for Personal and Environmental Protection: Combating Air Pollution Using Nanofibers

National Nanomanufacturing Network - May 30, 2014 - 3:25am
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 (, 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. 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.

University of Massachusetts Amherst Purchases Nanonex Advanced 8” Nanoimprint Tool NX-2608BA

National Nanomanufacturing Network - May 29, 2014 - 3:38am
It features all imprint forms: thermal, photo-curable, and embossing, with sub-5 nm imprinting resolution, up to 8 inches wafer size. Based on the Nanonex unique patented Air Cushion PressTM technology, the NX-2608BA offers unsurpassed uniformity regardless of backside topology, wafer or mask flatness, or backside contamination. This ACP technology also eliminates lateral shifting between the mask and substrate, which significantly increases mask lifetime. The small thermal mass design allows fast thermal cycling, resulting in a fast process cycle. The new NX-2600BA system is the second Nanonex nanoimprint equipment purchased by UMass Amherst. Both Nanonex nanoimprint systems will be located at the new UMass Life Sciences Center at UMass Amherst to support the center’s multidisciplinary research, that include nanoimprint material and processing, nanoimprint mold fabrication and duplication, roll-to-roll nanoimprint, bio/chemical sensors, etc. Nanonex ( is excited to supply the cutting-edge nanoimprint tool to UMass Amherst’s new Life Sciences Center.Source: Nanonex (

NanoBCA News – Recap of 12th Annual DC Roundtable

National Nanomanufacturing Network - May 28, 2014 - 7:01am
2014 has become a banner year for the nanotechnology community. We have seen M A, liquidity exits and new start-ups joining our nanotechnology community! On May 6-7th we completed our K L Gates ( with a presentation by Paul Stimers, Partner of K L Gates and NanoBCA Public Policy Advisor. We proceeded to Capitol Hill to the Dirksen Senate Office Building where we heard presentations from NanoBCA Legacy Foundation members, Graphene Stakeholders Association ( members and new NanoBCA members. Scott Rickert, Ph.D., CEO of Nanofilm ( and Director of PEN, Inc., began the private sector presentations with the announcement of the future activities of Nanofilm and PEN, Inc ( NanoBCA Legacy member, Jess Jankowski, CEO of Nanophase ( – NANX, updated us on recent successes. Nanophase is committed to building a company that offers value and transparency to its shareholders. Jim Phillips, Chairman/CEO of NanoMech (, Inc. updated us on the emerging markets and their recent Edison Award ( Congratulations to Jim, Ajay and the NanoMech Team. Anil Diwan, Ph.D., President Chairman of NanoViricides, Inc ( – NNVC, gave a presentation announcing their expansion into a 20,000 sq. ft. facility. NanoViricides won the IAIR Award ( as Best North American Company for Leadership in the Nanomedicine Sector. Craig Bandes, President CEO of Pixelligent Technologies ( shared with the community their recent successes ( The Pixelligent story, with Craig at the helm, is the greatest come-back story of any company from our nano community. Congratulations to Craig and his team! We heard two presentations from Graphene Stakeholders Association members, Mike Patterson, CEO of Graphene Frontiers ( and Gary Economo, CEO of Grafoid (, discussing the markets for their products. Next up were three presentations from new NanoBCA members: Mark Shaw, CEO of UltraTech International (; Carleton Hsia, Ph.D., Chairman CEO, NanoBlood LLC (; and Matthew Putman, CEO of Nanotronics Imaging ( Rounding out the morning we had in-depth presentations from: Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of Bergeson Campbell ( P.C. and NanoBCA EHS Chairperson, offering her guidance on EHS (; Dr. Gilberto M. (Ybet) Villacorta, Chair of the Intellectual Property Department of the Washington, DC Office of Foley Lardner ( LLP, discussing the importance of Intellectual Property (; William Morris, CEO/Chairman, Emerging Technologies Ventures, LLC, spoke about investing in companies specializing in commercializing nanotechnology products. I would like to thank Foley Lardner, LLP, NanoBCA Legacy member, for the use of their conference center on Wednesday, May 7th. Dr. Gilberto M. (Ybet) Villacorta kicked off our Wednesday session observing the past and looking at future trends in the nanotechnology community. Next, we had comprehensive presentations from the following government officials: - Dr. Mihail C. Roco (, Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology, National Science Foundation - Dr. Altaf (Tof) Carim (, Assistant Director for Nanotechnology, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President - Lloyd Whitman (, Interim Director, NNCO - Robert J. Celotta (, Director, CNST, Center Office Lastly, our final set of speakers on Wednesday were the following: - Governor George F. Allen (, Then, Senator Allen was the co-sponsor of the National Nanotechnology Initiative legislation in 2003. - Mostafa Analoui, Ph.D. (, Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences, Livingston Securities. Mostafa updated us on the biotechnology industry. - The Honorable Kelly H. Carnes (, President CEO, TechVision21. As the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy, Kelly Carnes addressed many high-profile technology issues, including Federal R D, innovation and competiveness policy. Kelly’s presentation explained the current R D environment. - Philip H. Lippel, Ph.D., ( Assistant Director, MIT Washington Office. Phil highlighted advanced manufacturing activities at MIT.

U.S. Government Accountability Office Issues New Report on Nanomanufacturing and U.S. ...

National Nanomanufacturing Network - May 28, 2014 - 6:47am
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published its report Nanomanufacturing and U.S. Competitiveness: Challenges and Opportunities ( in May 2014. What GAO Found Forum participants described nanomanufacturing as an emerging set of developments that will become a global megatrend: a technological revolution that is now in its formative phases but that many knowledgeable persons—in science, business, and government—expect to burgeon in the years ahead, bringing new opportunities, “disruptive innovation,” jobs creation, and diverse societal benefits. They said that the United States likely leads in sponsorship and overall quality of nanotechnology R D today as well as some areas of nanomanufacturing—for example, nanotherapeutic drug development and the design of semiconductor devices. But they cautioned that the United States faces global-scale competition and is struggling to compete in some industry areas (notably, advanced batteries). Challenges facing U.S. nanomanufacturing include (1) a key U.S. funding gap in the middle stages of the manufacturing-innovation process, as illustrated below; (2) lack of commercial or environmental, safety, and health (EHS) standards; (3) lack of a U.S. vision for nanomanufacturing; (4) extensive prior offshoring in some industries, which may have had unintended consequences; and (5) threats to U.S. intellectual property. Key actions identified by our experts to enhance U.S. nanomanufacturing competitiveness include one or more of the following: (1) strengthen U.S. innovation by updating current innovation-related policies and programs, (2) promote U.S. innovation in manufacturing through public-private partnerships, and (3) design a strategy for attaining a holistic vision for U.S. nanomanufacturing. Key policy issues identified by our experts include the development of international commercial nanomanufacturing standards, the need to maintain support for basic research and development in nanotechnology, and the development of a revitalized, integrative, and collaborative approach to EHS issues. Why GAO Did This Study Nanotechnology has been defined as the control or restructuring of matter at the atomic and molecular levels in the size range of about 1–100 nanometers (nm); 100 nm is about 1/1000th the width of a hair. The U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), begun in 2001 and focusing primarily on R D, represents a cumulative investment of almost $20 billion, including the request for fiscal year 2014. As research continues and other nations increasingly invest in R D, nanotechnology is moving from the laboratory to commercial markets, mass manufacturing, and the global marketplace. Today, burgeoning markets and nanomanufacturing activities are increasingly competitive in a global context—and the potential EHS effects of nanomanufacturing remain largely unknown. GAO was asked to testify on challenges to U.S. competitiveness in nanomanufacturing and related issues. Our statement is based on GAO's earlier report on the Forum on Nano-manufacturing, which was convened by the Comptroller General of the United States in July 2013 (GAO 2014; also referred to as GAO-14-181SP ( ). That report reflects forum discussions as well as four expert-based profiles of nano-industry areas, which GAO prepared prior to the forum and which are appended to the earlier report. For more information, contact Timothy Persons, Chief Scientist, at (202) 512-6412 or (

Check Out the Assembly Line of the Future!

National Nanomanufacturing Network - May 21, 2014 - 4:35am
There's no shortage of ideas about how to use nanotechnology, but one of the major hurdles is how to manufacture some of the new products on a large scale. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst chemical engineer Jim Watkins and his team are working to make nanotechnology more practical for industrial-scale manufacturing.

Protecting Workers in Nanotechnology Industries

National Nanomanufacturing Network - May 14, 2014 - 10:02am
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has updated its report Protecting the Nanotechnology Workforce: NIOSH Nanotechnology Research and Guidance Strategic Plan, 2013–2016 ( This plan updates the November 2009 strategic plan with knowledge gained from results of ongoing research, as described in the 2012 report Filling the Knowledge Gaps for Safe Nanotechnology in the Workplace: A Progress Report from the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center, 2004–2011. The NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Program follows a comprehensive plan that is managed as a matrix structure across NIOSH and supports multiple sectors in the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).