- Education & Outreach
National Nanomanufacturing Network
InterNano is an open-source online information clearinghouse for the nanomanufacturing research and development (R&D) community in the United States. It is designed provide this community with an array of tools and collections relevant to its work and to the development of viable nanomanufacturing applications.
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The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) in the Executive Office of the President is seeking candidates interested in serving as the Director of the U.S. National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO). The NNCO supports the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), the U.S. Federal Governments interagency activity for coordinating research and development as well as enhancing communication and collaborative activities in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. The NNCO acts as the primary point of contact for information on the NNI; provides technical and administrative support to the Initiative, including the preparation of multiagency planning, budget, and assessment documents; develops, updates, and maintains the NNI website www.nano.gov (http://www.nano.gov); and provides public outreach on behalf of the NNI. The NNCO is currently hosted by the National Science Foundation with offices in Arlington, Virginia.
NanoBusiness Commercialization Association (NanoBCA) returns to Washington, DC for our 2014 DC Roundtable May 6-7th. This will be our 12th visit, dating back to 2002, meeting with numerous government officials in regard to the National Nanotechnology Initiative (http://nano.gov/) (NNI).
Researchers at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering have improved the performance and capacity of lithium batteries by developing better-performing, cheaper materials for use in anodes and cathodes (negative and positive electrodes, respectively). Lithium-ion batteries are a popular type of rechargeable battery commonly found in portable electronics and electric or hybrid cars. Traditionally, lithium-ion batteries contain a graphite anode, but silicon has recently emerged as a promising anode substitute because it is the second most abundant element on earth and has a theoretical capacity of 3600 milliamp hours per gram (mAh/g), almost 10 times the capacity of graphite. The capacity of a lithium-ion battery is determined by how many lithium ions can be stored in the cathode and anode. Using silicon in the anode increases the batterys capacity dramatically because one silicon atom can bond up to 3.75 lithium ions, whereas with a graphite anode six carbon atoms are needed for every lithium atom. The USC Viterbi team developed a cost-effective (and therefore commercially viable) silicon anode with a stable capacity above 1100 mAh/g for extended 600 cycles, making their anode nearly three times more powerful and longer lasting than a typical commercial anode.
Overall funding for the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) as detailed in the supplement to the President's 2015 budget request maintains a roughly flat funding profile with respect to 2013-2014 levels at approximately $1.5 B, significantly lower than the peaks from the 2008-2010 period. The NNN encourages stakeholders to review the NNI FY2015 Budget Supplement (http://www.nano.gov/sites/default/files/pub_resource/nni_fy15_budget_supplement.pdf) report as it provides some key insights into priorities as detailed in the 2014 NNI Strategic Plan (http://eprints.internano.org/1921/), as well as some rebalancing across the NNI priorities in nanotechnology. With NNI goals, objectives and priorities described in detail within these documents, some shift in priority towards nanomanufacturing and commercialization can be observed.
Arevo Labs, a Silicon Valley startup, announced today the availability of technology and materials to create Ultra Strong High Performance Polymer parts using a 3D printing process. Supported materials include High Performance Polymers such as KetaSpire® PEEK, AvaSpire® PAEK, Radel® PPSU and PrimoSpire® SRP. Arevos offering consists of Proprietary Carbon Fiber and Carbon Nanotube (CNT) Reinforced High Performance Materials, printing technology compatible with commercially available filament fusion 3D Printers and specialized software algorithms to create 3D objects with deterministic mechanical properties.
This document is a supplement to the Presidents 2015 Budget request submitted to Congress on March 4, 2014. It gives a description of the activities underway in 2013 and 2014 and planned for 2015 by the Federal Government agencies participating in the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), primarily from a programmatic and budgetary perspective. It is based on the NNI Strategic Plan released in February 2014 and reports actual investments for 2013, estimated investments for 2014, and requested investments for 2015 by Program Component Area (PCA), as called for under the provisions of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-153, 15 USC §7501). The report also addresses the requirement for Department of Defense reporting on its nanotechnology investments, per 10 USC §2358.
Organic solar cells (OSCs) are of interest for next-generation photovoltaic applications due to their lower costs and milder fabrication requirements relative to c-Si and thin-film devices. The power conversion efficiency (PCE) of these devices has risen to 11-12% in recent years, which is promising in order to gain market share in this competitive field. Requiring only simple spin- or dip-coating techniques, organic or polymer solar cells are an attractive low-cost technology; in recent years, there has been a focus on solution and roll-to-roll high throughput processing of OSCs to lower the fabrication costs even further.
Finnish thin film coating specialist Picodeon Ltd Oy has developed its ultra-short pulsed laser deposition (USPLD) surface coating technology to be able to create either porous or dense aluminium oxide (Al2O3) coatings on heat-sensitive substrates for use in a wide range of industrial metallisation applications.
Engineers would love to create flexible electronic devices, such as e-readers that could be folded to fit into a pocket. One approach involves designing circuits based on electronic fibers, known as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), instead of rigid silicon chips. But reliability is essential. Most silicon chips are based on a type of circuit design that allows them to function flawlessly even when the device experiences power fluctuations. However, it is much more challenging to do so with CNT circuits.
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.