National Nanomanufacturing Network

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Detecting gases wirelessly and cheaply

December 12, 2014 - 4:28am
New sensor can transmit information on hazardous chemicals or food spoilage to a smartphone.MIT chemists have devised a new way to wirelessly detect hazardous gases and environmental pollutants, using a simple sensor that can be read by a smartphone. These inexpensive sensors could be widely deployed, making it easier to monitor public spaces or detect food spoilage in warehouses. Using this system, the researchers have demonstrated that they can detect gaseous ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and cyclohexanone, among other gases. “The beauty of these sensors is that they are really cheap. You put them up, they sit there, and then you come around and read them. There’s no wiring involved. There’s no power,” says Timothy Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry at MIT. “You can get quite imaginative as to what you might want to do with a technology like this.” Swager is the senior author of a paper describing the new sensors in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Dec. 8. Chemistry graduate student Joseph Azzarelli is the paper’s lead author; other authors are postdoc Katherine Mirica and former MIT postdoc Jens Ravnsbaek. Versatile gas detection For several years, Swager’s lab has been developing gas-detecting sensors based on devices known as chemiresistors, which consist of simple electrical circuits modified so that their resistance changes when exposed to a particular chemical. Measuring that change in resistance reveals whether the target gas is present. Unlike commercially available chemiresistors, the sensors developed in Swager’s lab require almost no energy and can function at ambient temperatures. “This would allow us to put sensors in many different environments or in many different devices,” Swager says. The new sensors are made from modified near-field communication (NFC) tags. These tags, which receive the little power they need from the device reading them, function as wirelessly addressable barcodes and are mainly used for tracking products such as cars or pharmaceuticals as they move through a supply chain, such as in a manufacturing plant or warehouse. NFC tags can be read by any smartphone that has near-field communication capability, which is included in many newer smartphone models. These phones can send out short pulses of magnetic fields at radio frequency (13.56 megahertz), inducing an electric current in the circuit on the tag, which relays information to the phone. To adapt these tags for their own purposes, the MIT team first disrupted the electronic circuit by punching a hole in it. Then, they reconnected the circuit with a linker made of carbon nanotubes that are specialized to detect a particular gas. In this case, the researchers added the carbon nanotubes by “drawing” them onto the tag with a mechanical pencil they first created in 2012 (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2012/drawing-with-a-carbon-nanotube-pencil-1009), in which the usual pencil lead is replaced with a compressed powder of carbon nanotubes. The team refers to the modified tags as CARDs: chemically actuated resonant devices. When carbon nanotubes bind to the target gas, their ability to conduct electricity changes, which shifts the radio frequencies at which power can be transferred to the device. When a smartphone pings the CARD, the CARD responds only if it can receive sufficient power at the smartphone-transmitted radio frequencies, allowing the phone to determine whether the circuit has been altered and the gas is present. Current versions of the CARDs can each detect only one type of gas, but a phone can read multiple CARDs to get input on many different gases, down to concentrations of parts per million. With the current version of the technology, the phone must be within 5 centimeters of the CARD to get a reading, but Azzarelli is currently working with Bluetooth technology to expand the range. Widespread deployment The researchers have filed for a patent on the sensing technology and are now looking into possible applications. Because these devices are so inexpensive and can be read by smartphones, they could be deployed nearly anywhere: indoors to detect explosives and other harmful gases, or outdoors to monitor environmental pollutants. Once an individual phone gathers data, the information could be uploaded to wireless networks and combined with sensor data from other phones, allowing coverage of very large areas, Swager says. The researchers are also pursuing the possibility of integrating the CARDs into “smart packaging” that would allow people to detect possible food spoilage or contamination of products. Swager’s lab has previously developed sensors (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2012/fruit-spoilage-sensor-0430) that can detect ethylene, a gas that signals ripeness in fruit. “Avoiding food waste currently is a very hot topic; however, it requires cheap, easy-to-use, and reliable sensors for chemicals, e.g., metabolites such as ammonia that could indicate the quality of raw food or the status of prepared meals,” says Wolfgang Knoll, a managing director of the Austrian Institute of Technology, who was not part of the research team. “The concept presented in this paper could lead to a solution for a long-lasting need in food quality control.” The CARDs could also be incorporated into dosimeters to help monitor worker safety in manufacturing plants by measuring how much gas the workers are exposed to. “Since it’s low-cost, disposable, and can easily interface with a phone, we think it could be the type of device that someone could wear as a badge, and they could ping it when they check in in the morning and then ping it again when they check out at night,” Azzarelli says. The research was funded by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the U.S. Army Research Office through the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies; the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation; and the National Cancer Institute. Source: MIT News Office (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/wireless-chemical-sensor-for-smartphone-1208)

Lawrence Livermore researchers develop efficient method to produce nanoporous metals

December 12, 2014 - 4:17am
Nanoporous metals — foam-like materials that have some degree of air vacuum in their structure — have a wide range of applications because of their superior qualities. They posses a high surface area for better electron transfer, which can lead to the improved performance of an electrode in an electric double capacitor or battery. Nanoporous metals offer an increased number of available sites for the adsorption of analytes, a highly desirable feature for sensors. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) researchers have developed a cost-effective and more efficient way to manufacture nanoporous metals over many scales, from nanoscale to macroscale, which is visible to the naked eye. The process begins with a four-inch silicon wafer. A coating of metal is added and sputtered across the wafer. Gold, silver and aluminum were used for this research project. However, the manufacturing process is not limited to these metals. Next, a mixture of two polymers is added to the metal substrate to create patterns, a process known as diblock copolymer lithography (BCP). The pattern is transformed in a single polymer mask with nanometer-size features. Last, a technique known as anisotropic ion beam milling (IBM) is used to etch through the mask to make an array of holes, creating the nanoporous metal. During the fabrication process, the roughness of the metal is continuously examined to ensure that the finished product has good porosity, which is key to creating the unique properties that make nanoporous materials work. The rougher the metal is, the less evenly porous it becomes. “During fabrication, our team achieved 92 percent pore coverage with 99 percent uniformity over a 4-in silicon wafer, which means the metal was smooth and evenly porous,” said Tiziana Bond, an LLNL engineer who is a member of the joint research team. The team has defined a metric — based on a parametrized correlation between BCP pore coverage and metal surface roughness — by which the fabrication of nanoporous metals should be stopped when uneven porosity is the known outcome, saving processing time and costs. “The real breakthrough is that we created a new technique to manufacture nanoporous metals that is cheap and can be done over many scales avoiding the lift-off technique to remove metals, with real-time quality control,” Bond said. “These metals open the application space to areas such as energy harvesting, sensing and electrochemical studies.” The lift-off technique is a method of patterning target materials on the surface of a substrate by using a sacrificial material. One of the biggest problems with this technique is that the metal layer cannot be peeled off uniformly (or at all) at the nanoscale. Other applications of nanoporous metals include supporting the development of new metamaterials (engineered materials) for radiation-enhanced filtering and manipulation, including deep ultraviolet light. These applications are possible because nanoporous materials facilitate anomalous enhancement of transmitted (or reflected) light through the tunneling of surface plasmons, a feature widely usable by light-emitting devices, plasmonic lithography, refractive-index-based sensing and all-optical switching. The other team members include ETH researcher Ali Ozhan Altun and professor Hyung Gyu Park. The team’s findings were reported in an article titled “Manufacturing over many scales: High fidelity macroscale coverage of nanoporous metal arrays via lift-off-free nanofrabication.” (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/admi.201400084/abstract) It was the cover story in a recent issue of Advanced Materials Interfaces. Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (https://www.llnl.gov/news/lawrence-livermore-researchers-develop-efficient-method-produce-nanoporous-metals)

3D printed nanostructures made entirely of graphene

December 12, 2014 - 3:49am
Graphene has received a great deal of attention for its promising potential applications in electronics, biomedical and energy storage devices, sensors and other cutting-edge technological fields, mainly because of its fascinating properties such as an extremely high electron mobility, a good thermal conductivity and a high elasticity.The successful implementation of graphene-based devices invariably requires the precise patterning of graphene sheets at both the micrometer and nanometer scale. Finding the ideal technique to achieve the desired graphene patterning remains a major challenge. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is becoming a viable alternative to conventional manufacturing processes in an increasing number of applications ranging from children toys to cars, fashion, architecture, military, biomedical science, and aerospace, to name a few. For the first time, researchers have now demonstrated 3D printed nanostructures composed entirely of graphene using a new 3D printing technique. The research team, led by Professor Seung Kwon Seol from Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI), has published their findings in the November 13, 2014 online edition of Advanced Materials ("3D Printing of Reduced Graphene Oxide Nanowires" (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1002/adma.201404380)) "We developed a nanoscale 3D printing approach that exploits a size-controllable liquid meniscus to fabricate 3D reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanowires," Seol explains. "Different from typical 3D printing approaches which use filaments or powders as printing materials, our method uses the stretched liquid meniscus of ink. This enables us to realize finer printed structures than a nozzle aperture, resulting in the manufacturing of nanotructures." The researchers note that their novel solution-based approach is quite effective in 3D printing of graphene nanostructures as well as in multiple-materials 3D nanoprinting. "We are convinced that this approach will present a new paradigm for implementing 3D patterns in printed electronics," says Seol. For their technique, the team grew graphene oxide (GO) wires at room temperature using the meniscus formed at the tip of a micropipette filled with a colloidal dispersion of GO sheets, then reduced it by thermal or chemical treatment (with hydrazine). The deposition of GO was obtained by pulling the micropipette as the solvent rapidly evaporated, thus enabling the growth of GO wires. The researchers were able to accurately control the radius of the rGO wires by tuning the pulling rate of the pipette; they managed to reach a minimum value of ca. 150 nm. Using this technique, they were able to produce arrays of different freestanding rGO architectures, grown directly at chosen sites and in different directions: straight wires, bridges, suspended junctions, and woven structures. "So far, to the best of our knowledge, nobody has reported 3D printed nanostructures composed entirely of graphene," says Seol. "Several results reported the 3D printing (millimeter- or centimeter-scale) of graphene or carbon nanotube/plastic composite materials by using a conventional 3D printer. In such composite system, the graphene (or CNT) plays an important role for improving the properties of plastic materials currently used in 3D printers. However, the plastic materials used for producing the composite structures deteriorate the intrinsic properties of graphene (or CNT)." He points out that this 3D nanoprinting approach can be used for manufacturing 2D patterns and 3D architectures in diverse devices such as printed circuit boards, transistors, light emitting devices, solar cells, sensors and so on. Reducing the 3D printable size to below 10 nm and increasing the production yield still remain challenges, though. Source: Nanowerk (http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=38253.php)

Registration Open for 2015 Nanoinformatics Workshop

December 8, 2014 - 4:31am
Nanoinformatics Workshop: Enabling successful discovery and applications January 26-28, 2015Holiday Inn National Airport Hotel Arlington, VA REGISTER FOR THE WORKSHOP TODAY (https://umass.irisregistration.com/Auth/Authenticate/Index?ReturnUrl=%2fRegister%3fcode%3dNanoinformatics code=Nanoinformatics) Regular attendees: $200, Students: FREE Registration for the Nanoinformatics 2015 workshop (http://nanoinformatics.org/2015/overview) is now available. Registration is open until January 16, 2015, but please note that discounted hotel reservations (http://nanoinformatics.org/2015/venue) have a December 29, 2014 deadline. The purpose of the NanoInfo 2015 workshop is to bring together stakeholders in order to assess the state of informatics relevant to the all aspects of the nanotechnology enterprise and to set priority targets for the future. From materials to processes to products; accessible data, information, models, and simulations will enable innovators to optimize performance and accelerate the innovation cycle from concept to product. Scientists and engineers will be able to efficiently assess the safety of new nanomaterials and quantitatively implement best practices of safe manufacturing and usage of nanomaterials throughout product lifecycles. Scientists will share predictive models and data that enable the design and discovery of nanomaterials and the resulting performance of systems that use them.Workshop Structure and Highlights NanoInfo 2015 will begin with a pre-workshop half-day tutorial, held on Monday, January 26 in the afternoon. The technical sessions will be held from Tuesday January 27 through Wednesday January 28. Accepted abstracts will be assigned to either a formal presentation session or to the poster presentation and discussion session on Tuesday.Workshop Exhibit and Sponsorship OpportunitiesNanoInfo 2015 is accepting sponsorship applications (http://nanoinformatics.org/node/54), offering marketing and workshop participation for those interested in supporting the event. Workshop Call for AbstractsThe NanoInfo 2015 online submission system is now open. Authors wishing to submit an abstract for review may do so by clicking on the 2015 Call for Presentations and Posters link (http://nanoinformatics.org/nidocuments/add). All submissions must be submitted using this online interface, and the deadline for Abstract submissions is December 15, 2014. Important Dates Abstract Submission Deadline December 15, 2014 Notification to Presenters December 17, 2014 Hotel Reservation Deadline December 29, 2014 Registration December - January 16, 2015 NanoInfo 2015 January 26-28, 2015

Call for Abstracts: Nanoinformatics Workshop 2015

December 2, 2014 - 4:28am
Nanoinformatics Workshop: Enabling successful discovery and applications January 26-28, 2015Holiday Inn National Airport Hotel Arlington, VA The purpose of the Nanoinformatics 2015 workshop (http://nanoinformatics.org/2015/overview) is to bring together stakeholders in order to assess the state of informatics relevant to the all aspects of the nanotechnology enterprise and to set priority targets for the future. From materials to processes to products; accessible data, information, models, and simulations will enable innovators to optimize performance and accelerate the innovation cycle from concept to product. Scientists and engineers will be able to efficiently assess the safety of new nanomaterials and quantitatively implement best practices of safe manufacturing and usage of nanomaterials throughout product lifecycles. Scientists will share predictive models and data that enable the design and discovery of nanomaterials and the resulting performance of systems that use them.Workshop Structure and Highlights NanoInfo 2015 will begin with a pre-workshop half-day tutorial, held on Monday, January 26 in the afternoon. The technical sessions will be held from Tuesday January 27 through Wednesday January 28. Accepted abstracts will be assigned to either a formal presentation session or to the poster presentation and discussion session on Tuesday.The NanoInfo 2015 on-line submission system is now open Authors wishing to submit an abstract for review may do so by clicking here, on the 2015 Call for Presentations and Posters link (http://nanoinformatics.org/nidocuments/add ).Please note that all submissions must be submitted using this on-line interface. No other form of submission can be accepted.Due to the upcoming holidays, we are running an accelerated submission and acceptance process, to allow presenters to make hotel reservations before our December 29, 2014 deadline. Important Dates Abstract Submission Deadline December 15, 2014Notification to Presenters December 17, 2014 Hotel Reservation Deadline December 29, 2014Registration December - January 16, 2015NanoInfo 2015January 26-28, 2015

NanoHybrids Launches its First Product Line of Premium Gold Nanoparticles

December 2, 2014 - 4:23am
AUSTIN, TX NanoHybrids Corporation, a provider of nanotechnology-based contrast agents announced the launch of its new website and premium product line of gold nanoparticles specially designed to improve imaging results. The company’s initial technology platform was developed in collaboration with researchers from the Biomedical Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. "Frustrated by inconsistent imaging results due to highly variable shape, size and other properties of commercially available gold nanoparticle contrast agents, our team has developed highly monodisperse gold nanorods and nanospheres that will help scientists obtain consistent and better quality data. We also have a policy of ‘no proprietary coatings’ which means that unlike some companies in this space, we offer full transparency on surface chemistry, making it easier for our customers to modify and use these particles depending on their application," says Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Kimberly Homan. NanoHybrids’ offerings include an exclusive line of silica-coated gold nanorods that are quickly gaining popularity as contrast agents in photoacoustic (optoacoustic) imaging. As opposed to current preclinical imaging contrast agents on the market, NanoHybrids’ silica-coated nanorods resist melting and shape distortion even when subjected to extreme heat via focused laser beams. In addition to providing this enhanced thermodynamic stability, the silica-coating also facilitates better heat transfer to the surrounding fluid, thus dramatically increasing signal strength. Overall, these benefits make the company’s silica-coated gold nanorods an excellent contrast agent for not only in vitro and in vivo photoacoustic imaging but also many other applications involving continuous or pulsed lasers. The founders at NanoHybrids have decades of experience in biomedical imaging and have been pioneering the development of contrast agents alongside custom designed imaging systems. "Our products have been developed by imaging researchers, for researchers. As scientists ourselves, we understand the challenges involved when working with gold nanoparticles in imaging and strive to provide the highest possible level of quality and technical support," says Homan. (http://www.nanohybrids.net)About NanoHybrids Inc. NanoHybrids is an Austin-based company focused on commercializing nanotechnology solutions. The company’s current product line comprises of premium gold nanoparticles with specialized coatings, including a proprietary silica coating that provides colloidal stability, bioconjugation potential and enhanced optical properties. NanoHybrids’ gold nanoparticles are ideal for use in imaging, tumor targeting, microscopy, lateral flow assays, SERS, drug delivery research, sensors and several other high-technology applications within the fields of life science and materials science. http://www.nanohybrids.net (http://www.nanohybrids.net) Product Applications: http://nanohybrids.net/pages/applications (http://nanohybrids.net/pages/applications) Products: http://nanohybrids.net/collections/all-products (http://nanohybrids.net/collections/all-products) Contact information: info at nanohybrids.net (mailto:info@nanohybrids.net)

Director Named for National Nanotechnology Coordination Office

November 20, 2014 - 9:44am
The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael A. Meador as its new Director. Dr. Meador joins NNCO on a detail from NASA, where he has been managing the Nanotechnology Project in the Game Changing Technology Program, a project involving five NASA centers, industry, and universities working to mature nanotechnologies with high potential for impact on NASA missions and to demonstrate them in selected applications.“Dr. Meador’s background and experience identifying nanotechnology applications, combined with his long involvement with the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), will help us accelerate the NNI’s activities aimed at facilitating the commercialization of nanotechnology research sponsored by the Federal Government over the past decade,” said Dr. Lloyd Whitman, who has been serving as Interim NNCO Director and is now the Assistant Director for Nanotechnology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Meador, chair of NASA’s Nanotechnology Roadmap Team, was instrumental in developing the NASA-wide Nanotechnology Project, and has been responsible for project planning and advocacy, overseeing technical progress, developing external partnerships to advance and transfer technology, coordinating with other nanotechnology related activities within NASA, and interacting with program and senior agency management. He has also played a key role in representing NASA in the NNI’s interagency activities, including co-chairing its Nanomanufacturing, Industry Liaison, and Innovation Working Group. During his long career at NASA, Dr. Meador has held a series of positions with increasing responsibility, including over twenty years as Chief of the Polymers Branch of the Materials Division at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he expanded the research portfolio of the branch from research in high-temperature stable polymers and composites for aircraft engines to include work in battery electrolytes, fuel cell membranes, and nonlinear optical and sensor materials. He also initiated the first nanotechnology program at NASA Glenn. Dr. Meador has been recognized as the NASA Glenn Small Disadvantaged Business Program Technical Advocate of the Year and NASA Small Business Program Technical Personnel of the Year. He has also received the NASA Equal Opportunity Employment Medal for his work to increase the involvement of faculty and students from minority serving institutions in NASA materials research, and last month was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for leading NASA's Nanotechnology R D activities and representing the agency as a proactive member of the NNI.Source: NNCO (http://www.nano.gov/node/1246) The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael A. Meador as its new Director. Dr. Meador joins NNCO on a detail from NASA, where he has been managing the Nanotechnology Project in the Game Changing Technology Program, a project involving five NASA centers, industry, and universities working to mature nanotechnologies with high potential for impact on NASA missions and to demonstrate them in selected applications. - See more at: http://www.nano.gov/node/1246#sthash.LAEDWssg.dpufThe National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael A. Meador as its new Director. Dr. Meador joins NNCO on a detail from NASA, where he has been managing the Nanotechnology Project in the Game Changing Technology Program, a project involving five NASA centers, industry, and universities working to mature nanotechnologies with high potential for impact on NASA missions and to demonstrate them in selected applications. “Dr. Meador’s background and experience identifying nanotechnology applications, combined with his long involvement with the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), will help us accelerate the NNI’s activities aimed at facilitating the commercialization of nanotechnology research sponsored by the Federal Government over the past decade,” said Dr. Lloyd Whitman, who has been serving as Interim NNCO Director and is now the Assistant Director for Nanotechnology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Meador, chair of NASA’s Nanotechnology Roadmap Team, was instrumental in developing the NASA-wide Nanotechnology Project, and has been responsible for project planning and advocacy, overseeing technical progress, developing external partnerships to advance and transfer technology, coordinating with other nanotechnology related activities within NASA, and interacting with program and senior agency management. He has also played a key role in representing NASA in the NNI’s interagency activities, including co-chairing its Nanomanufacturing, Industry Liaison, and Innovation Working Group. During his long career at NASA, Dr. Meador has held a series of positions with increasing responsibility, including over twenty years as Chief of the Polymers Branch of the Materials Division at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he expanded the research portfolio of the branch from research in high-temperature stable polymers and composites for aircraft engines to include work in battery electrolytes, fuel cell membranes, and nonlinear optical and sensor materials. He also initiated the first nanotechnology program at NASA Glenn. Dr. Meador has been recognized as the NASA Glenn Small Disadvantaged Business Program Technical Advocate of the Year and NASA Small Business Program Technical Personnel of the Year. He has also received the NASA Equal Opportunity Employment Medal for his work to increase the involvement of faculty and students from minority serving institutions in NASA materials research, and last month was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for leading NASA's Nanotechnology R D activities and representing the agency as a proactive member of the NNI. - See more at: http://www.nano.gov/node/1246#sthash.QpleixbX.dpufhe National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael A. Meador as its new Director. Dr. Meador joins NNCO on a detail from NASA, where he has been managing the Nanotechnology Project in the Game Changing Technology Program, a project involving five NASA centers, industry, and universities working to mature nanotechnologies with high potential for impact on NASA missions and to demonstrate them in selected applications. “Dr. Meador’s background and experience identifying nanotechnology applications, combined with his long involvement with the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), will help us accelerate the NNI’s activities aimed at facilitating the commercialization of nanotechnology research sponsored by the Federal Government over the past decade,” said Dr. Lloyd Whitman, who has been serving as Interim NNCO Director and is now the Assistant Director for Nanotechnology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Meador, chair of NASA’s Nanotechnology Roadmap Team, was instrumental in developing the NASA-wide Nanotechnology Project, and has been responsible for project planning and advocacy, overseeing technical progress, developing external partnerships to advance and transfer technology, coordinating with other nanotechnology related activities within NASA, and interacting with program and senior agency management. He has also played a key role in representing NASA in the NNI’s interagency activities, including co-chairing its Nanomanufacturing, Industry Liaison, and Innovation Working Group. During his long career at NASA, Dr. Meador has held a series of positions with increasing responsibility, including over twenty years as Chief of the Polymers Branch of the Materials Division at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he expanded the research portfolio of the branch from research in high-temperature stable polymers and composites for aircraft engines to include work in battery electrolytes, fuel cell membranes, and nonlinear optical and sensor materials. He also initiated the first nanotechnology program at NASA Glenn. Dr. Meador has been recognized as the NASA Glenn Small Disadvantaged Business Program Technical Advocate of the Year and NASA Small Business Program Technical Personnel of the Year. He has also received the NASA Equal Opportunity Employment Medal for his work to increase the involvement of faculty and students from minority serving institutions in NASA materials research, and last month was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for leading NASA's Nanotechnology R D activities and representing the agency as a proactive member of the NNI. - See more at: http://www.nano.gov/node/1246#sthash.QpleixbX.dpufhe National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael A. Meador as its new Director. Dr. Meador joins NNCO on a detail from NASA, where he has been managing the Nanotechnology Project in the Game Changing Technology Program, a project involving five NASA centers, industry, and universities working to mature nanotechnologies with high potential for impact on NASA missions and to demonstrate them in selected applications. “Dr. Meador’s background and experience identifying nanotechnology applications, combined with his long involvement with the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), will help us accelerate the NNI’s activities aimed at facilitating the commercialization of nanotechnology research sponsored by the Federal Government over the past decade,” said Dr. Lloyd Whitman, who has been serving as Interim NNCO Director and is now the Assistant Director for Nanotechnology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Meador, chair of NASA’s Nanotechnology Roadmap Team, was instrumental in developing the NASA-wide Nanotechnology Project, and has been responsible for project planning and advocacy, overseeing technical progress, developing external partnerships to advance and transfer technology, coordinating with other nanotechnology related activities within NASA, and interacting with program and senior agency management. He has also played a key role in representing NASA in the NNI’s interagency activities, including co-chairing its Nanomanufacturing, Industry Liaison, and Innovation Working Group. During his long career at NASA, Dr. Meador has held a series of positions with increasing responsibility, including over twenty years as Chief of the Polymers Branch of the Materials Division at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he expanded the research portfolio of the branch from research in high-temperature stable polymers and composites for aircraft engines to include work in battery electrolytes, fuel cell membranes, and nonlinear optical and sensor materials. He also initiated the first nanotechnology program at NASA Glenn. Dr. Meador has been recognized as the NASA Glenn Small Disadvantaged Business Program Technical Advocate of the Year and NASA Small Business Program Technical Personnel of the Year. He has also received the NASA Equal Opportunity Employment Medal for his work to increase the involvement of faculty and students from minority serving institutions in NASA materials research, and last month was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for leading NASA's Nanotechnology R D activities and representing the agency as a proactive member of the NNI. - See more at: http://www.nano.gov/node/1246#sthash.QpleixbX.dpufhe National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael A. Meador as its new Director. Dr. Meador joins NNCO on a detail from NASA, where he has been managing the Nanotechnology Project in the Game Changing Technology Program, a project involving five NASA centers, industry, and universities working to mature nanotechnologies with high potential for impact on NASA missions and to demonstrate them in selected applications. “Dr. Meador’s background and experience identifying nanotechnology applications, combined with his long involvement with the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), will help us accelerate the NNI’s activities aimed at facilitating the commercialization of nanotechnology research sponsored by the Federal Government over the past decade,” said Dr. Lloyd Whitman, who has been serving as Interim NNCO Director and is now the Assistant Director for Nanotechnology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Meador, chair of NASA’s Nanotechnology Roadmap Team, was instrumental in developing the NASA-wide Nanotechnology Project, and has been responsible for project planning and advocacy, overseeing technical progress, developing external partnerships to advance and transfer technology, coordinating with other nanotechnology related activities within NASA, and interacting with program and senior agency management. He has also played a key role in representing NASA in the NNI’s interagency activities, including co-chairing its Nanomanufacturing, Industry Liaison, and Innovation Working Group. During his long career at NASA, Dr. Meador has held a series of positions with increasing responsibility, including over twenty years as Chief of the Polymers Branch of the Materials Division at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he expanded the research portfolio of the branch from research in high-temperature stable polymers and composites for aircraft engines to include work in battery electrolytes, fuel cell membranes, and nonlinear optical and sensor materials. He also initiated the first nanotechnology program at NASA Glenn. Dr. Meador has been recognized as the NASA Glenn Small Disadvantaged Business Program Technical Advocate of the Year and NASA Small Business Program Technical Personnel of the Year. He has also received the NASA Equal Opportunity Employment Medal for his work to increase the involvement of faculty and students from minority serving institutions in NASA materials research, and last month was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for leading NASA's Nanotechnology R D activities and representing the agency as a proactive member of the NNI. - See more at: http://www.nano.gov/node/1246#sthash.QpleixbX.dpuf

Nanoimprint lithography for the fabrication of efficient low band gap polymer solar cells

November 13, 2014 - 7:55am
In recent years, polymer solar cells have drawn considerable research interest due to their attractive features including flexibility, semi-transparency, and manufacturability using cost-effective continuous printing processes (read more: "The state of nanoimprinted polymer organic solar cell technology (http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=28622.php)"). However, one challenge limiting their commercialization is the relatively low power conversion efficiency when compared to inorganic solar cells."One of the causes for polymer solar cells' low performance is the difficulty to simultaneously realize donor-acceptor phase separation within the short exciton diffusion length (∼10 nm) and high charge mobility, especially hole mobility, which are critical for charge separation and transport," Yi Yang, a senior engineer at Globalfoundries, tells Nanowerk. "So far it has been impossible to achieve such a morphology in the most widely used bulk heterojunction structure in which randomly distributed phases cause significant charge recombination." New work, led by Walter Hu (http://www.ee.utdallas.edu/people/facultypages/Hu.html), an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Anvar Zakhidov (http://nanotech.utdallas.edu/personnel/staff/zakhidov.html), a professor of physics, both at UT Dallas, shows that nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is an effective technique to solve these issues simultaneously. The results, recently published in ACS Applied Materials Interfaces ("Efficient Low Bandgap Polymer Solar Cell with Ordered Heterojunction Defined by Nanoimprint Lithography" (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1021/am505303a)), show that low bandgap polymer solar cells with high efficiency of 5.5% can be fabricated using NIL. "Taking into account the fact that low bandgap polymers are becoming the main stream for this type of solar cell, we believe this technique will increasingly find more applications," says Yang. In a previous study ("How nanostructure geometry affects polymer photovoltaic device efficiency (http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=36631.php)"), the researchers focused on nanoimprinted P3HT solar cells. After carefully optimizing the nanostructure geometry, they achieved an efficiency of 3-4%, which is not as high as the efficiency record (over 4%) other groups have achieved with this polymer. In the new study, they extended their technique to low bandgap polymer solar cells and realized a high efficiency up to 5.5%, which is among the best efficiencies for this polymer reported in the literature. This result indicates that nanoimprint fabrication works better for low bandgap polymer solar cells. In the new work, the team demonstrates the feasibility of using nanoimprint lithography to make efficient low bandgap polymer solar cells with well-ordered heterojunction. They fabricate high-quality low bandgap conjugated polymer (PCPDTBT) nanogratings using this technique for the first time. "We found that NIL makes PCPDTBT chains interact more strongly and form an improved structural ordering," says Yang. "Solar cells made with the highest aspect ratio PCPDTBT nanostructures show a high power conversion efficiency of 5.5%. They are the most efficient nanoimprinted polymer solar cells, as well as the best reported solar cells using the same material." Nanoimprint lithography has emerged as an effective fabrication technique to precisely define the nanomorphology in polymer solar cells. Controlled chain ordering as well as a bicontinuous and interdigitized heterojunction can be achieved by imprinting conjugated polymers, where a nanoimprint induced chain alignment is present, followed by infiltrating fullerene into patterned polymer nanostructures. However, as Yang notes, most studies so far have focused on nanoimprinted P3HT/fullerene solar cells. "This material combination is not ideal due to a mismatch between the absorption of P3HT and solar spectrum, which has a maximum photon flux at 1.6-1.8 eV while P3HT has a relatively large bandgap of 1.9-2.0 eV," he explains. "A bandgap of 1.3-1.5 eV is considered to be ideal for polymer-fullerene solar cells." In recent years, many low bandgap polymers have been synthesized with record-breaking efficiencies. However, as Yang points out, it has been proven that the donor and acceptor phase separation for these polymers cannot be realized by thermal or solvent vapor annealing, which is usually carried out on P3HT/fullerene solar cells. Although additives such as 1,8-octanedithiol are added into the solution to help separate donor and acceptor domains, this separation cannot be controlled precisely. Therefore, NIL would provide an effective solution if an ordered active layer morphology could be formed by it. However, so far no results have been published that show that NIL can be applied to a wide variety of materials in the polymer solar cell field. Now, the UT Dallas team has utilized NIL to pattern the low bandgap (1.4 eV) solar cell polymer PCPDTBT. For the first time, they have used NIL to fabricate high quality nanogratings for this polymer. "After carefully optimizing the nanograting geometry, we were able to achieve a high solar cell efficiency of 5.5%," notes Yang. Furthermore, this work demonstrates that NIL is not only limited to solar cells made of the most widely studied polymer P3HT, but also can be applied to a wide variety of materials used in the fabrication of polymer solar cells – low bandgap polymers can also be patterned by this technique to make efficient devices. Despite considerable effort, the highest reported power conversion efficiencies obtained from nanoimprinted P3HT solar cells have been in the 3-4% range. These values are lower than the highest values (∼4-5%) when the same polymer is used in a bulk heterojunction structure. "This indicates that NIL works better for low bandgap polymer solar cells," says Yang. "One possible explanation is that the method of using thermal or solvent vapor annealing to control the phase separation in P3HT based bulk heterojunction solar cells is very effective, as shown by a number of studies; while that of using additives in the low bandgap polymer solar cells is not, as described in literature." "This less effective approach leaves NIL more space to demonstrate its advantage in improving the solar cell performance when compared to the bulk heterojunction structure," he concludes. "This is our preliminary thinking and more studies are required to understand these different behaviors. Also as predicted in our recent study, a larger interface area between polymer and fullerene is preferable for efficient devices. A practical way to further increase it is needed as well. Our future work will focus on these aspects." Source: Nanowerk (http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=38076.php)

Call for Presentations for Int'l Conf. on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials

November 13, 2014 - 4:30am
(http://www.tappi.org/15Nano) What’s New for 2015 Two Tracks for Presentations: As the Nano Conference continues to grow, this year there will be two tracks to guide attendees in choosing sessions to attend. The Fundamental Research Track will focus on new technical advances in characterization, isolation, functionalities and other properties of renewable and sustainable nanomaterials. The Industry Applications Track will focus on manufacturing applications, new markets, and other end user issues. The conference organizers have extended the Call for Submissions (https://www.eiseverywhere.com/file_uploads/7a30b75854987d218fd0996b1a0895f6_Nano2015CallForPresentations-Extension.pdf) .Abstracts are due by 1 December 2014. New Technology and Product Showcase: Promote your new products or technologies at this special session. Sponsors and exhibitors will be given priority for available slots. See the Call for Submissions tab for more details. Research Perspectives and Business Acumen Seminar: Designed for academics, this workshop will show how researchers can gain industrial support for their projects. Led by corporate R D directors, this workshop will have limited seating. Check the website for additional details. Plan to AttendExplore a world of possibilities for opening the door to new markets by unlocking the potential of renewable biomaterials. TAPPI’s tenth International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials is the only event that explores how nanotechnology can transform biomaterials into high-value products that expand and transcend traditional forest products portfolios. Bringing together leading researchers, industry experts, government representatives and other stakeholders from around the world, this year’s event promises a unique, multi-disciplinary look at the rewards of using nanotechnology – from the forest to marketed products. Whether your focus is new product development, academic study or supplier research, this year’s conference will provide the big picture for unlocking value from this tiny technology. Conference Co-Chairs:Sean Ireland, Verso Paper (USA)Yaman Boluk, University of Alberta (Canada)Alain Dufresne, Grenoble Institute of Technology (France)Celebrating 100 Years of TAPPI!To honor TAPPI's 100th anniversary in 2015, the 2015 Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. TAPPI headquarters are located in Peachtree Corners, a northern suburb of Atlanta.

Haydale Acquires EPL Composite Solutions Ltd to Advance Graphene Commercialization Capabilities

November 6, 2014 - 5:03am
Haydale (http://www.internano.org/index.php?option=com_internanodirectory task=vieworg id=777 Itemid=179) , the company focused on the commercialisation of graphenes and other nanomaterials, has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire EPL Composite Solutions (EPL), a specialist in the design, development and commercialisation of advanced composite polymer materials both in the UK and overseas. This acquisition will maximise EPL’s access to the nano-enhanced composites market and is expected to significantly boost Haydale’s sales potential. Haydale and EPL have already collaborated on a number of projects, and the acquisition of EPL is a significant step towards monetising Haydale’s proprietary technology for incorporating graphene and other nano-enhancing fillers into composites. The introduction of nanofillers to EPL’s product range will produce the added benefits of impermeable barriers, conductivity and reduced weight with improved strength and stiffness. These benefits are set to have a great impact on the development of future composite structures, with significant potential for the aerospace and automotive industries. Haydale’s tailored functionalisation capability allows solutions to be customised on three levels – raw material, functional group and level of functionalisation – which adds a powerful addition to the features and benefits of the products EPL produce for their clients. With recent estimates from market research firm IDTechEx forecasting a market value of $80m for nano-enhanced composites by 2018, graphene functionalisation promises to generate significant revenues as nano-reinforcement is adopted by greater numbers of composites manufacturers. Over the past 22 years, EPL has worked with global companies and has developed a reputation for delivering innovative solutions for commercial applications of advanced polymer composite materials. With customers spanning the oil and gas, water and energy sectors as well as the marine and transportation markets, EPL provides an entire development cycle from applied research, product design, process development, product testing and certification, to setting up manufacturing plants. EPL also works with OEMs and end-users to develop and provide composite solutions which show demonstrable clear technical, economic and environmental benefits over existing structures currently manufactured using traditional materials such as steel, aluminium, wood or concrete. Ray Gibbs, CEO at Haydale, commented; “This acquisition is a major step towards securing sales in the global composites market. The rapidly growing composites industry is known for the early adoption of new technologies and is one of the major markets known for its willingness to embrace disruptive technology and introduce innovative new materials. The Aerospace Corporation in the USA, has already independently verified that graphene functionalised using our patented applied-for process can enable the development of lighter, stronger composite materials – the acquisition of EPL gives us direct access to this emerging, growing market. The credibility of our plasma process has been further boosted by the UK National Physical Laboratory (NPL), which has recently confirmed the capability of our process to add compatible chemical groups on the surface of GNPs: known as functionalisation. ” He continued; “We have acquired EPL because it provides us with an immediate route into the fast moving and dynamic composites market together with a substantial R D resource and dedicated composite and polymer expertise to boost our current in-house capability. Our solution’s capability, when added to the technical competence and credibility of EPL, is set to be a powerful force in the composites market. Our strategy is to provide solutions that enable the commercialisation of graphene in key strategic markets, and our recent collaboration with the speciality inks and coatings solutions provider, the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC), addresses one of these key strategic markets. The acquisition of EPL, together with our WCPC association, gives us entry into the two substantial industries known for the early adoption of new technologies. This offers us exciting opportunities for securing revenues and consolidating our position as a leader in the commercialisation of graphene.” Gerry Boyce, Managing Director of EPL added; “We have been working closely with Haydale since the beginning of 2014 testing their materials and have been very impressed with their technology. The composite industry is always looking for innovative technology and has long recognised the benefits of using nano materials in composites. Haydale’s proprietary technology, as verified by Aerospace Corp and NPL, opens up a range of opportunities in the composites world not previously available to EPL”. Based in Loughborough, EPL has 17 scientists and technicians providing Haydale with access to a well-regarded and recognised R D operation. Recent work conducted by Haydale in collaboration with EPL using a standard epoxy resin mixed with Haydale functionalised GNPs achieved over a 200% improvement in ultimate tensile strength, using just 2% loading of Haydale’s GNPs. Due to the brittle nature of unreinforced composites, these results could have significant implications for the development of future composite structures, demonstrating the potential in future aircraft design for weight saving and the consequent environmental benefits such as reductions in CO2 emissions. Having demonstrated these excellent results Haydale can take advantage of EPLs high profile client list, to provide high-performance composite solutions to major players in the composites industry including , National Grid, SSE, Eirgrid, Chevron, Anglian Water, Severn Trent Water, Yorkshire Water and 3M. Source: Haydale News Stories (http://www.haydale.com/media/news-stories/haydale-acquires-epl-composite-solutions/)

NanoInformatics 2015: Enabling successful discovery and applications

October 30, 2014 - 10:24am
The Nanoinformatics 2015 workshop (http://nanoinformatics.org/2015/overview) will bring together stakeholders in order to assess the state of informatics relevant to the all aspects of the nanotechnology enterprise and to set priority targets for the future formation of a community of practice rather than an aggregation of individual research interests. From materials to processes to products; accessible data, information, models, and simulations will enable innovators to optimize performance and accelerate the innovation cycle from concept to product. Scientists and engineers will be able to efficiently assess the safety of new nanomaterials and quantitatively implement best practices of safe manufacturing and usage of nanomaterials throughout product lifecycles. Scientists will share predictive models and data that enable the design and discovery of nanomaterials and the resulting performance of systems that use them. This years event being sponsored by the NNN will be held January 26-28, 2015 (http://www.internano.org/component/option,com_jcalpro/Itemid,100/extmode,view/extid,1731/) at the Holiday Inn National Airport Hotel in Arlington, VA (http://www.hinationalairport.com/) . The workshop will additionally include a pre-workshop half-day tutorial on Nanoinformatics. Nanoinformatics encompasses aspects of data collection, tools, and sharing, along with associated applications that are becoming a key element of nanotechnology research, nanotechnology environmental health and safety (nanoEHS), product development and sustainable manufacturing. The organization of nanomaterial data into interoperable databases will provide the necessary tools/platforms for companies to quantify liability threats; comply with regulations; minimize materials usage, energy consumption, and overall cost; while ensuring safety to people and the environment. Nanoinformatics will enable the digital thread throughout the value chain and accelerate innovations through expanded resources and capabilities. Building upon the growing base of manufacturing resources and intellectual infrastructure, Nanoinformatics 2015 will provide overviews on present database development projects, tools, and resources currently being leveraged; discuss gaps and challenges with establishing an open access informatics infrastructure; facilitate synergistic discussions of emerging applications; and provide ample opportunities for collaboration amongst the community stakeholders. Nanoinformatics 2015 will review the state of the art in methods for collecting, archiving, modeling, visualizing, and sharing data and identify opportunities and gaps for expanding the roadmap for nanoinformatics. Workshop topics will include: Process modeling and control Materials supply chain Life cycle inventory data System scale-up methodology NanoEHS data and models Data workflow processes Nanomaterials properties data Data mining tools and opportunities Database design and accessibility Design for manufacturability Minimal data sets Interlaboratory studies Materials modeling and characterization Uncertainty quantification Sharing practices and incentives

Targeted Grand Challenges: A Turning Point for the National Nanotechnology Initiative

October 30, 2014 - 10:12am
The conclusions and recommendations by the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science Technology (PCAST) in the fifth assessment (http://eprints.internano.org/2223/) of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) (http://www.nano.gov/) has determined that a turning point has been reached. In a future vision wherein the ability to understand and control matter at the nanoscale enables a revolution in technology providing significant societal and economic benefit, the Federal Government must transition its activities toward facilitating commercialization. As such, PCAST recommends a strategy of targeting specific nanotechnology Grand Challenges though a framework partnership between the public and private sector that would effectively drive scientific advances to revolutionary commercialized products. Capturing excerpts of the strongly focused language in the report; …the primary conclusion of the 2014 PCAST review is that the U.S. will only be able to claim the rewards that come from investing in nanotechnology research and sustaining an overarching Federal initiative if the Federal interagency process, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the agencies themselves transition their nanotechnology programmatic efforts beyond supporting and reporting on basic and applied research and toward building program, coordination, and leadership frameworks for translating the technologies into commercial products. These observations and recommendations are highly welcomed throughout the nanomanufacturing community as stakeholders seek to develop new approaches and models to transition the gap for translating the discoveries of S T investments to commercially viable nano-enabled products to realize the NNI’s vision. Grand Challenges target specific technical goals while incorporating the active management needed to accomplish them, such an approach can provide the necessary framework for commercialization opportunities to mature. The report cited example Grand Challenges for nanotechnology including nano-enabled desalination of seawater to solve the emerging water crisis, reducing global greenhouse emissions with nano-enabled solid-state refrigeration, creating a forefront of manufacturing through nano-3D printing, and developing a nanoscale therapeutic for at least one major cancer. The PCAST emphasized their belief that the recommendation contained in the 2014 review, in particular the enhanced focus on the transition to commercialization, the implementation of the Grand Challenges framework, and more aggressive leadership, were essential for a successful NNI 2.0 for the coming decade. In further support of the nanomanufacturing community, the PCAST report recommended at least one Grand Challenge should contain program elements aimed at manufacturing challenges specific to that focus area. In particular, the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee should work with the Federal agencies to define potential Manufacturing Innovation Institutes dedicated to nanoscience and nanotechnology as part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) program. As the challenges in manufacturing are likely to impede commercializing advanced nanomaterials, nanomedicine, and other nanotechnologies unless the Federal Government addresses the valley of death, which involves the need for nanofabrication facilities to create high volumes of nanotechnology product. Citing the lack of progress against the recommendations from the 2012 assessment (http://eprints.internano.org/1838/) , the 2014 provides directed recommendations towards achieving the NNI’s vision, including creating and executing a process to engage research, development, and industrial stakeholders in the identification and selection of Grand Challenges on an ongoing basis. Additional recommendations in the report targeted alleviating key constraints on nanotechnology commercialization with particular on enhancement of the nanotechnology ecosystem. One primary constraint, which the NNN has supported for some time, is Investment in nanofabrication facilities. As the commercialization of nanotechnology innovations depends heavily on the successful development of nanofabrication and nanomanufacturing procedures, few nanomanufacturing user facilities are accessible for developing production procedures, scaling up volumes of nanomaterial for research, or generating commercial supply. The lack of such an ecosystem in the absence of these facilities requires start‐ups to assume significant up‐front financial risk in developing in‐house facilities to support company operations. A versatile network of facilities employing both established and emerging nanomanufacturing tools and expertise would accelerate the innovation pipeline for translational nanotechnology R D. The second key constraint cited was the need for Comprehensive nanotechnology EHS standards, which additionally would provide clear protocols with respect to risk assessment and regulatory landscape for nano-enabled product development. Along with the key constraints cited above, the report discussed several general constraints to nanotechnology commercialization including: The need to train first-time academic entrepreneurs in moving a technical innovation out of the research laboratory into a small company; Communication among stakeholders-Successful academic investigators understand the technical landscape and the potential value of their work, but they may not know how their innovations might address strategic gaps at a large technology company or could be translated into a commercial success. A company R D director, conversely, might know little about a high-value technology being developed in an academic laboratory. Additional venues are needed to bring together academic entrepreneurs, VCs, industry, relevant Government agencies, and other stakeholders; Venture capital for new entrepreneurs Peer review of high-risk, high-return ideas In support of NNI activities addressing these constraints, the PCAST report cited the efforts of the National Nanomanufacturing Network, emphasizing the NSF funding of the four Nano Science and Engineering Research Centers (NSECs) that focus on nanomanufacturing (two centers will retire in 2014 and the other two will retire in 2015 and 2016), which with our National Lab partners at NIST and DOE, along with other affiliates and stakeholders, share information, organize annual nanomanufacturing conferences and workshops, and establish a cross cutting community of practice.

Graphene Frontiers Secures Patent for Commercial-Scale Material Production

October 28, 2014 - 7:42am
Graphene Frontiers LLC (http://www.internano.org/index.php?option=com_internanodirectory task=vieworg id=776 Itemid=179), a prominent developer of graphene materials and device technology, announces the issuance of a key industry patent. U.S. Patent 8,822,308, titled “Methods and Apparatus for Transfer of Films among Substrates,” covers the transfer of graphene films between surfaces using roll-to-roll manufacturing processes. “We were aggressively pursuing this patent and securing it is a testament to the hard work and resiliency of the entire team,” Graphene Frontiers’ CEO Mike Patterson said.This was the final hurdle in creating a cost-effective production process for graphene. With Graphene Frontiers’ etch-free transfer solution, manufacturers now have the option of not dissolving or consuming the substrate metal. The approach is also compatible with other materials, and is particularly useful for nanomaterials, which are often difficult to develop.“Graphene is a remarkable material, but it is only a building block,” Chief Science Officer Bruce Willner said. “The ability to handle graphene and place it among other materials – where and how we want – is critical to taking advantage of this technology.” Recently, the company entered into an agreement to ramp-up production with The Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany NY. It’s an alliance that will increase the amount of employees working at the company, as well as form relationships with potential buyers. About Graphene Frontiers Graphene Frontiers is a leading nanotechnology materials and device company based in Philadelphia. Graphene Frontiers has developed innovative and exclusive manufacturing processes that makes it economically viable for companies to begin using graphene, the revolutionary nanomaterial with potential for disrupting numerous industries with its unique sensitivity and mechanical properties. Graphene Frontiers is building on its core strengths in graphene growth, transfer, device fabrication, and functionalization by developing specific products and solutions for industry. Graphene Frontiers’ flagship product is the Six™ Sensor platform, which offers distinct performance advantages in medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring and scalable, low-cost production. The company will capture value by licensing, spinning out, and selling application specific technologies. For more information, please visit graphenefrontiers.com (http://www.internano.org/graphenefrontiers.com) .Source: Graphene Frontiers

New nanodevice to improve cancer treatment monitoring

October 28, 2014 - 7:28am
In less than a minute, a miniature device developed at the University of Montreal can measure a patient's blood for methotrexate, a commonly used but potentially toxic cancer drug. Just as accurate and ten times less expensive than equipment currently used in hospitals, this nanoscale device has an optical system that can rapidly gauge the optimal dose of methotrexate a patient needs, while minimizing the drug's adverse effects. The research was led by Jean-François Masson and Joelle Pelletier of the university's Department of Chemistry.

Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium Selects Project Proposed by Arizona Center for Integrative ...

October 23, 2014 - 6:48am
The Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium (NBMC), an industry-academia partnership with the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), has chosen a project proposed by the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM) at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, to receive research funding. The AzCIM project’s goal is to assess different sweat collection methods and devices for their ability to collect different volumes of sweat under a variety of human-body conditions, the results of which will help determine the best method for integrating into a wearable sensor system. Funding for the one year program will total $200,000. As part of the project, at least one analytical method, including offline immunoassay or mass spectrometry-based, will be developed to determine the levels of each of several AFRL-preferred biomarkers in sweat samples collected from multiple skin regions. Two molecules, one small and one large protein, will be selected for analysis from the following biomarkers: Orexin-A (impacts arousal and alertness); Neuropeptide Y (associated functions include stress reduction and lowering pain perception); Interleukin 6 (stimulates immune response); cortisol (released in response to stress); and Oxytocin (associated with various reproductive and bonding functions). Because the biomarker levels may be low and thus more difficult to detect by some analytical techniques, different methods for sweat concentration and purification will also be assessed. The various sweat collection methods will then be assessed for the desired volume, under a variety of conditions, including whole-body hyperthermia. Esther Sternberg, M.D., project technical lead and AzCIM director of research, noted, “Participating in this program is a natural extension of AzCIM’s research focus on mind-body science. Brain-immune connections are critical in decision-making and alertness, which can be greatly compromised by stress and fatigue, particularly for military personnel and others in high-pressure situations. Trauma related immune activation can also directly compromise performance and brain function. Devising a way to accurately detect these parameters in real time before problems set in, is essential to helping ensure physical and mental wellness for these individuals.” In addition to Dr. Sternberg, the AzCIM project team includes Min Jia, Ph.D., AzCIM research assistant professor, as alternate technical representative. The AFRL program manager for the project is Laura Rea. “Reproducibly collecting and analyzing sweat in a range of conditions and scenarios is a central challenge of enabling human performance monitoring,” said Dr. Benjamin Leever, AFRL Lead for Additive Manufacturing of Functional Materials. “This capability could significantly impact a large variety of Air Force missions.” “AzCIM and Dr. Sternberg possess a sterling reputation for successful collaboration on initiatives that investigate the relationship between wellness and one’s environment,” said NBMC CEO Malcolm Thompson. “Ensuring that we are looking at the right biomarkers and collecting samples in the most optimal manner provides a crucial foundation for helping achieve NBMC’s objective to develop a technology platform for a lightweight, low-cost, wearable biosensor patch.” About NBMC The Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium (NBMC) was formed by the FlexTech Alliance, in collaboration with a nationwide group of partners, for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The mission of the partnership is to bring together leading scientists, engineers, and business development professionals from industry and universities in order to work collaboratively in a consortium, and to mature an integrated suite of nano-bio manufacturing technologies to transition to industrial manufacturing. Initial activities focus on AFRL/ DoD priorities, e.g., physiological readiness and human performance monitoring. Specifically, NBMC matures nano-bio manufacturing technologies to create an integrated suite of reconfigurable and digitized fabrication methods that are compatible with biological and nanoparticle materials and to transition thin film, mechanically compliant device concepts through a foundry-like manufacturing flow. The long-term vision is that NBMC operates at the confluence of four core emerging disciplines: nanotechnology, biotechnology, advanced (additive) manufacturing, and flexible electronics. The convergence of these disparate fields enables advanced sensor architectures for real-time, remote physiological and health/medical monitoring. CONTACT: Lisa Gillette-Martin, MCA Public Relations, Phone: 650-968-8900, ext. 115, Email: lgmartin@mcapr.comSource: Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium (http://www.nbmc.org/nano-bio-manufacturing-consortium-selects-project-proposed-by-arizona-center-for-integrative-medicine-to-optimize-human-performance-monitoring-techniques/)

Nanoenhanced 'smart' lithium-ion battery warns of potential fire hazard

October 15, 2014 - 3:47am
Stanford University scientists have developed a "smart" lithium-ion battery that gives ample warning before it overheats and bursts into flames. The new technology is designed for conventional lithium-ion batteries now used in billions of cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices, as well as a growing number of cars and airplanes. "Our goal is to create an early-warning system that saves lives and property," said Yi Cui (http://web.stanford.edu/group/cui_group/), an associate professor of materials science and engineering. "The system can detect problems that occur during the normal operation of a battery, but it does not apply to batteries damaged in a collision or other accident." Cui and his colleagues describe the new technology in a study published in the Oct. 13 issue of the journal Nature Communications (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NCOMMS6193). Lowering the odds A series of well-publicized incidents in recent years has raised concern over the safety of lithium-ion batteries. In 2013, the Boeing aircraft company temporarily grounded its new 787 Dreamliner (http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/2013/boeing_787/boeing_787.html) fleet after battery packs in two airplanes caught fire. The cause of the fires has yet to be determined. In 2006, Sony Corp. recalled millions of lithium-ion batteries after reports of more than a dozen consumer-laptop fires. The company said that during the manufacturing process, tiny metal impurities had gotten inside the batteries, causing them to short-circuit. "The likelihood of a bad thing like that happening is maybe one in a million," Cui said. "That's still a big problem, considering that hundreds of millions of computers and cellphones are sold each year. We want to lower the odds of a battery fire to one in a billion or even to zero." A typical lithium-ion battery consists of two tightly packed electrodes – a carbon anode and a lithium metal-oxide cathode – with an ultrathin polymer separator in between. The separator keeps the electrodes apart. If it's damaged, the battery could short-circuit and ignite the flammable electrolyte solution that shuttles lithium ions back and forth. "The separator is made of the same material used in plastic bottles," said graduate student Denys Zhuo, co-lead author of the study. "It's porous so that lithium ions can flow between the electrodes as the battery charges and discharges." Manufacturing defects, such as particles of metal and dust, can pierce the separator and trigger shorting, as Sony discovered in 2006. Shorting can also occur if the battery is charged too fast or when the temperature is too low – a phenomenon known as overcharge. "Overcharging causes lithium ions to get stuck on the anode and pile up, forming chains of lithium metal called dendrites," Cui explained. "The dendrites can penetrate the porous separator and eventually make contact with the cathode, causing the battery to short." Smart separator "In the last couple of years we've been thinking about building a smart separator that can detect shorting before the dendrites reach the cathode," said Cui, a member of the photon science faculty at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (https://www6.slac.stanford.edu/) at Stanford. To address the problem, Cui and his colleagues applied a nanolayer of copper onto one side of a polymer separator, creating a novel third electrode halfway between the anode and the cathode. "The copper layer acts like a sensor that allows you to measure the voltage difference between the anode and the separator," Zhuo said. "When the dendrites grow long enough to reach the copper coating, the voltage drops to zero. That lets you know that the dendrites have grown halfway across the battery. It's a warning that the battery should be removed before the dendrites reach the cathode and cause a short circuit." The buildup of dendrites is most likely to occur during charging, not during the discharge phase when the battery is being used. "You might get a message on your phone telling you that the voltage has dropped to zero, so the battery needs to be replaced," Zhuo said. "That would give you plenty of lead time. But when you see smoke or a fire, you have to shut down immediately. You might not have time to escape. If you wanted to err on the side of being safer, you could put the copper layer closer to the anode. That would let you know even sooner when a battery is likely to fail." Locating defects In addition to observing a drop in voltage, co-lead author Hui Wu was able to pinpoint where the dendrites had punctured the copper conductor simply by measuring the electrical resistance between the separator and the cathode. He confirmed the location of the tiny puncture holes by actually watching the dendrites grow under a microscope. "The copper coating on the polymer separator is only 50 nanometers thick, about 500 times thinner than the separator itself," said Wu, a postdoctoral fellow in the Cui group. "The coated separator is quite flexible and porous, like a conventional polymer separator, so it has negligible effect on the flow of lithium ions between the cathode and the anode. Adding this thin conducting layer doesn't change the battery's performance, but it can make a huge difference as far as safety." Most lithium-ion batteries are used in small electronic devices. "But as the electric vehicle market expands and we start to replace on-board electronics on airplanes, this will become a much larger problem," Zhuo said. "The bigger the battery pack, the more important this becomes," Cui added. "Some electric cars today are equipped with thousands of lithium-ion battery cells. If one battery explodes, the whole pack can potentially explode." The early-warning technology can also be used in zinc, aluminum and other metal batteries. "It will work in any battery that would require you to detect a short before it explodes," Cui said. Stanford graduate student Desheng Kong also co-authored the study. Support was provided by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Source: Stanford University (http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/october/smart-battery-cui-101314.html)

Nanotechnology process makes heat-resistant dyes

October 9, 2014 - 4:34am
You may have heard about the hazards posed by pranksters who shine laser pointers at airplanes during takeoff or landing. One way to keep those beams of concentrated light from blinding pilots is to incorporate a special dye in the cockpit windows, one that blocks the wavelengths of laser light while letting other wavelengths through. Optical dyes can be used to control color and light in applications ranging from laser welding to production of sunglasses and plasma TVs. The dyes used for this purpose are often expensive; others are cheap but apt to decompose when exposed to heat. A better set of options — optical dyes that are both economical and stable — is about to hit the market, thanks to researchers at Binghamton University. Wayne Jones, professor of chemistry and chair of Binghamton’s chemistry department, received a $50,000 investment from SUNY’s Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF) for a new process to bind organic dyes to metal oxides. The investment will help Jones and his lab further develop the process and scale up for commercial production. Jones made the discovery in collaboration with Bill Bernier, a research professor in the chemistry department, and graduate student Kenneth Skorenko. The organic dyes that form the focus of their research are small organic molecules. “In the presence of high temperature, they tend to react with oxygen and water in the atmosphere,” Jones says. The reaction causes the dyes to break down. That makes them a poor choice to use, for example, in plastics that are melted for extrusion or molding. The new process runs an electric current through a metal electrode to create charged nanoparticles of metal oxide, which bind to molecules of the dye. The bound molecular composite is stable at temperatures higher than needed in most industrial applications. Jones and his collaborators have used a prototype of this process to make polymer pellets infused with a light-controlling dye. “We hope the TAF investment is going to allow us to take this to full-scale manufacturing,” he says. Jones’ lab has patented the binding process. To commercialize the invention, the researchers formed a small company, ChromaNanoTech, with Bernier as chief executive officer and Skorenko as chief technology officer. The company will operate in Binghamton University’s business incubator. One potential customer has already sent ChromaNanoTech a purchase order for a large quantity of dye, Jones says. But there’s a catch. “The purchase order doesn’t become effective until we can produce a kilogram a week,” he says. “In a research lab like mine, typically we’re delighted if we produce one gram a week. So we have to scale up a thousand fold.” The TAF investment will help the company do just that, allowing the startup to buy new equipment and hire Skorenko, who will work on technologies to make the process run faster. Jones and his team also plan to develop and commercialize additional processes for stabilizing dyes. ChromaNanoTech has formed a partnership with a dye manufacturer that has hundreds of dyes in its portfolio, none of them currently suitable for applications involving high temperature plastics. “We can potentially convert all of them,” Jones says, “and have a wide series of these dyes.”Source: Binghampton University (http://discovere.binghamton.edu/news/dye-5865.html)

$18-million NSF investment aims to take flat materials to new heights

October 1, 2014 - 8:34am
2-D alternatives to graphene may enable exciting advances in electronics, photonics, sensors and other applications. Graphene, a form of carbon in which a single layer of atoms forms a two-dimensional, honeycomb crystal lattice, conducts electricity and heat efficiently and interacts with light in unusual ways. These properties have led to worldwide efforts in exploring its use in electronics, photonics and many other applications.

Nanomanufacturing Goals for the National Nanotechnology Initiative: Breaking Down the NNI ...

September 25, 2014 - 11:06am
As we review the various reports that have been made available to the public over the past few years regarding the federal investment in the National Nanotechnology Initiative (http://nano.gov) (NNI), we continue to observe key language that supports the nanomanufacturing community broadly. An example is the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which in their 2012 Assessment of the NNI (http://eprints.internano.org/1838/) cited the need for increased investment for nanomanufacturing and commercialization related activities. More recently, the 2014 NNI Strategic Plan (http://eprints.internano.org/1921/) provides a roadmap for key steps to support and foster these activities. Excerpts from this report describe the key goals relevant to nanomanufacturing as follows;

New oxide nanoparticle extreme-UV photoresists achieve high sensitivity

September 25, 2014 - 4:04am
High-performance photoresists made from metal oxide nanoparticles offer high-sensitivity lithography at extreme-UV wavelengths by using a new ligand-based patterning mechanism.