- Education & Outreach
National Nanomanufacturing Network
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