National Nanomanufacturing Network

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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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Advanced Nanomanufacturing at the Core of Potential New DARPA Program

August 28, 2014 - 5:03am
The benefits of nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing include significantly improved properties of many common materials when fabricated at nanoscale or molecular dimensions. Examples of these properties include quantized electrical characteristics, enhanced adhesion and surface properties, superior thermal, mechanical, and chemical properties, and tunable light absorption and scattering. Scaling these properties for nano-enabled products and systems, could offer potentially revolutionary performance and capabilities for defense, security, and commercial applications while providing significant societal and economic impact. Key challenges and barriers remain to realizing such nano-enabled technologies that are central to emerging nanomanufacturing techniques, including retaining the nanoscale properties in materials at larger scales, and the maturity of assembly techniques for structures between the nanoscale and 100 microns. Recently, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has created the Atoms to Product (A2P) program to address and help overcome these challenges. The program seeks to develop enhanced technologies for assembling nanoscale elements coupled with integration and scale-up of these components into materials and systems to product scale in ways that preserve and exploit the distinctive nanoscale properties of the core element. “We want to explore new ways of putting incredibly tiny things together, with the goal of developing new miniaturization and assembly methods that would work at scales 100,000 times smaller than current state-of-the-art technology,” said John Main (http://www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/DSO/Personnel/Dr__John_Main.aspx), DARPA program manager, quoted from the DARPA website announcement (http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2014/08/22.aspx). “If successful, A2P could help enable creation of entirely new classes of materials that exhibit nanoscale properties at all scales. It could lead to the ability to miniaturize materials, processes and devices that can’t be miniaturized with current technology, as well as build three-dimensional products and systems at much smaller sizes.” The A2P program supports the emphasis on key challenges of nanomanufacturing for given applications extending previous investments in fundamental science and materials research. In this case, several emerging nanomanufacturing approaches and platforms are likely to contribute to such a program concept, including nanoimprint lithography, directed self-assembly (DSA), layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly, additive driven assembly, and hybrid processes incorporating solution-based and vacuum-based processing approaches. Further scalability through adaptation to existing manufacturing infrastructure such as roll-to-roll and print, additive manufacturing, or semiconductor “batch” type processing is likely to accelerate the pathway to commercialization, and further position these emerging nanomanufacturing processes for the eventual Factory of the Future. To familiarize potential participants with the technical objectives of the A2P program, DARPA has scheduled identical Proposers Day webinars. Participants must register through the registration website: DARPA (http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2014/08/22.aspx)

Large Area Growth of Single Layer Hexagonal Boron Nitride Films

August 28, 2014 - 4:29am
Two-dimensional hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) is a material of significant interest due to the strong ionic bonding of boron and nitrogen atoms that provides unique properties, including the thinnest insulating nanomaterial, exhibiting a bandgap of 5.9 eV, with superior chemical, mechanical, and thermal stability. In addition, h-BN provides an ideal substrate for improving the electrical properties of graphene since the surface is atomically smooth and free of dangling bonds, thereby reducing charge scattering effects resulting in an order of magnitude increase in graphene charge mobility over materials grown on silicon or silicon dioxide. Previously, the method to synthesize monolayer n-BN utilized ultra-high vacuum chemical vapor deposition (UHVCVD) using borazine as a precursor on single crystal transition metal substrates, such as nickel, platinum, or silver, but proved difficult to scale. Polycrystalline metal foils (Ni, Co, Cu, and Pt) were additionally used to grow h-BN using regular chemical vapor deposition (CVD), but the thickness and quality of the films critically depended on surface morphology and crystal orientation of the substrate. High quality h-BN has been synthesized on Pt foils using ammonia borane precursor, yet control of film thickness and domain size remains a challenge for scaling, and the specific growth mechanisms are not well understood. Recently, Park et.al., reported results from a systematic study for synthesis of large area single layer h-BN films on polycrystalline Pt foils using low pressure CVD comparing borazine and ammonia borane precursors. The authors’ goal was to study the effect of the Pt lattice orientation, the total pressure, and the different cooling rate in order to understand h-BN growth mechanisms. Since nitrogen is not soluble in Pt, the authors’ objective was to confirm the contributions to h-BN growth surface mediated and precipitation processes. The study included analysis of film properties dependence on cooling rate and crystal orientation of the substrate. Their findings demonstrated that film growth was by a surface mediated growth mechanism, facilitated by a catalytic reaction, that produced polycrystalline h-BN monolayers confined by the underlying Pt surface orientation. The thickness of the h-BN films exhibited a dependence on the Pt surface orientation, presumably determined by the available catalytic reaction sites that decompose the borazine precursor, which would exhibit a dependence on crystal orientation. Improved understanding of h-BN growth mechanisms will potentially lead to methods for controlling the growth of high-quality h-BN films. This further provides the basis for materials and substrates for application in quantum tunneling devices, novel heterostructures, and two-dimensional semiconductors such as molybdenum sulfide and graphene.Reference: Park J, Park JC, Yun SJ, Kim H, Luong DH, Kim SM, Choi SH, Yang W, Kong J, Kim KK, Lee YH. Large-Area Monolayer Hexagonal Boron Nitride on Pt Foil. ACS Nano. 2014; 8 (8): 8520-852 doi: 10.1021/nn503140y (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/nn503140y#showRef) Image reprinted with permission from American Chemical Society.

Nanotechnology engineering produces a water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery

August 27, 2014 - 4:56am
In 2015, American consumers will finally be able to purchase fuel cell cars from Toyota and other manufacturers. Although touted as zero-emissions vehicles, most of the cars will run on hydrogen made from natural gas, a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming. Now scientists at Stanford University have developed a low-cost, emissions-free device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis. The battery sends an electric current through two electrodes that split liquid water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in the Stanford device are made of inexpensive and abundant nickel and iron. "Using nickel and iron, which are cheap materials, we were able to make the electrocatalysts active enough to split water at room temperature with a single 1.5-volt battery," said Hongjie Dai (http://dailab.stanford.edu/), a professor of chemistry at Stanford. "This is the first time anyone has used non-precious metal catalysts to split water at a voltage that low. It's quite remarkable, because normally you need expensive metals, like platinum or iridium, to achieve that voltage." In addition to producing hydrogen, the novel water splitter could be used to make chlorine gas and sodium hydroxide, an important industrial chemical, according to Dai. He and his colleagues describe the new device in a study (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms5695) published in the Aug. 22 issue of the journal Nature Communications. The promise of hydrogen Automakers have long considered the hydrogen fuel cell a promising alternative to the gasoline engine. Fuel cell technology is essentially water splitting in reverse. A fuel cell combines stored hydrogen gas with oxygen from the air to produce electricity, which powers the car. The only byproduct is water – unlike gasoline combustion, which emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.Earlier this year, Hyundai began leasing fuel cell vehicles in Southern California. Toyota and Honda will begin selling fuel cell cars in 2015. Most of these vehicles will run on fuel (http://energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/natural-gas-reforming) manufactured at large industrial plants that produce hydrogen by combining very hot steam and natural gas, an energy-intensive process that releases carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Splitting water to make hydrogen requires no fossil fuels and emits no greenhouse gases. But scientists have yet to develop an affordable, active water splitter with catalysts capable of working at industrial scales. "It's been a constant pursuit for decades to make low-cost electrocatalysts with high activity and long durability," Dai said. "When we found out that a nickel-based catalyst is as effective as platinum, it came as a complete surprise." Saving energy and money The discovery was made by Stanford graduate student Ming Gong, co-lead author of the study. "Ming discovered a nickel-metal/nickel-oxide structure that turns out to be more active than pure nickel metal or pure nickel oxide alone," Dai said. "This novel structure favors hydrogen electrocatalysis, but we still don't fully understand the science behind it." The nickel/nickel-oxide catalyst significantly lowers the voltage required to split water, which could eventually save hydrogen producers billions of dollars in electricity costs, according to Gong. His next goal is to improve the durability of the device. "The electrodes are fairly stable, but they do slowly decay over time," he said. "The current device would probably run for days, but weeks or months would be preferable. That goal is achievable based on my most recent results" The researchers also plan to develop a water splitter than runs on electricity produced by solar energy. "Hydrogen is an ideal fuel for powering vehicles, buildings and storing renewable energy on the grid," said Dai. "We're very glad that we were able to make a catalyst that's very active and low cost. This shows that through nanoscale engineering of materials we can really make a difference in how we make fuels and consume energy."Source: Stanford University (http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/august/splitter-clean-fuel-082014.html)

Optical Microscope Technique Confirmed as Valid Nano-Measurement Tool

August 27, 2014 - 4:20am
Recent experiments have confirmed* that a technique developed several years ago at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) can enable optical microscopes to measure the three-dimensional (3-D) shape of objects at nanometer-scale resolution—far below the normal resolution limit for optical microscopy (about 250 nanometers for green light). The results could make the technique a useful quality control tool in the manufacture of nanoscale devices such as next-generation microchips. NIST’s experiments show that Through-focus Scanning Optical Microscopy (TSOM) is able to detect tiny differences in 3-D shapes, revealing variations of less than 1 nanometer in size among objects less than 50 nm across. Last year,** simulation studies at NIST indicated that TSOM should, in theory, be able to make such distinctions, and now the new measurements confirm it in practice. “Up until this point, we had simulations that encouraged us to believe that TSOM could allow us to measure the 3-D shape of structures that are part of many modern computer chips, for example,” says NIST’s Ravi Attota, who played a major role in TSOM’s development. “Now, we have proof. The findings should be helpful to anyone involved in manufacturing devices at the nanoscale.” Attota and his co-author, Ron Dixson, first measured the size of a number of nanoscale objects using atomic force microscopy (AFM), which can determine size at the nanoscale to high accuracy. However, the great expense and relatively slow speed of AFM means that it is not a cost-effective option for checking the size of large numbers of objects, as is necessary for industrial quality control. TSOM, which uses optical microscopes, is far less restrictive—and allowed the scientists to make the sort of size distinctions a manufacturer would need to make to ensure nanoscale components are constructed properly. Attota adds that TSOM can be used for 3-D shape analysis without needing complex optical simulations, making the process simple and usable even for low-cost nanomanufacturing applications. “Removing the need for these simulations is another way TSOM could reduce manufacturing costs,” he says. More details on the TSOM technique and its application to 3-D electronics manufacturing can be found in this story (http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/tech-beat/tb20130625.cfm#tsom), which covers the 2013 simulation study. *R. Attota and R.G. Dixson. Resolving three-dimensional shape of sub-50 nm wide lines with nanometer-scale sensitivity using conventional optical microscopes. Applied Physics Letters, 105, 043101, July 29, 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4891676 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4891676). **See the June 2013 NIST Tech Beat story, “Microscopy Technique Could Help Computer Industry Develop 3-D Components (http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/tech-beat/tb20130625.cfm#tsom)” at www.nist.gov/public_affairs/tech-beat/tb20130625.cfm#tsom (http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/tech-beat/tb20130625.cfm#tsom). Source: NIST (http://www.nist.gov/pml/div683/tsom-082614.cfm)

Graphene rubber bands could stretch limits of current healthcare, new research finds

August 20, 2014 - 8:26am
New research published today in the journal ACS Nano ("Sensitive, High-Strain, High-Rate Bodily Motion Sensors Based on Graphene–Rubber Composites" (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1021/nn503454h)) identifies a new type of sensor that can monitor body movements and could help revolutionise healthcare. Although body motion sensors already exist in different forms, they have not been widely used due to their complexity and cost of production. Now researchers from the University of Surrey and Trinity College Dublin have for the first time treated common elastic bands with graphene, to create a flexible sensor that is sensitive enough for medical use and can be made cheaply. Once treated, the rubber bands remain highly pliable. By fusing this material with graphene - which imparts an electromechanical response on movement – the team discovered that the material can be used as a sensor to measure a patient's breathing, heart rate or movement, alerting doctors to any irregularities. "Until now, no such sensor has been produced that meets needs and that can be easily made. It sounds like a simple concept, but our graphene-infused rubber bands could really help to revolutionise remote healthcare," said Dr Alan Dalton from the University of Surrey. Co-author, Professor Jonathan Coleman from Trinity College, Dublin commented, "This stretchy material senses motion such as breathing, pulse and joint movement and could be used to create lightweight sensor suits for vulnerable patients such as premature babies, making it possible to remotely monitor their subtle movements and alert a doctor to any worrying behaviours. "These sensors are extraordinarily cheap compared to existing technologies. Each device would probably cost pennies instead of pounds, making it ideal technology for use in developing countries where there are not enough medically trained staff to effectively monitor and treat patients quickly." Source: University of Surrey (https://www.surrey.ac.uk/features/could-elastic-bands-monitor-patients%E2%80%99-breathing)

NSF Workshop for a Future Nanotechnology Infrastructure Support Program Webcast

August 13, 2014 - 7:53am
On August 18 and 19, 2014 the NSF will conduct a Workshop for a Future Nanotechnology Infrastructure Support Program.The workshop is a next step in NSF's preparation for developing a program to succeed the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN (http://nnin.org/)), after having received community input in response to a recent Dear Colleague Letter (DCL 14-068 (http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14068/nsf14068.jsp?org=ENG)). To broaden engagement, portions of the Workshop for a Future Nanotechnology Infrastructure Support Program will be webcast. (The approximate webcast times shown below are Eastern Daylight Time.) The workshop will convene a panel of experts from academe, industry, and government to: develop a vision of how a future nanotechnology infrastructure support program could be structured, and determine the key needs for the broad user communities over the coming decade. The workshop is co-chaired by Dr. Thomas Theis (IBM Research, on assignment to the Semiconductor Research Corporation) and Dr. Mark Tuominen (University of Massachusetts, Amherst). More details are in the workshop agenda (http://www.nsf.gov/attachments/132127/public/Workshop_Future_Nanotechnology_Infrastructure_Support_Program.pdf). Webcast: August 18, 2014 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and August 19, 2014 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM Morning sessions of the workshop will be broadcast via WebEx; afternoon breakout sessions will not be broadcast. If you have never used WebEx before or if you want to test your computer's compatibility with WebEx, please go to http://www.webex.com/lp/jointest/ (http://www.webex.com/lp/jointest/), enter the session information and click "Join". Please feel free to contact WebEx Support if you are having trouble joining the test meeting.Session number: 643 345 106 Session password: This session does not require a password. ------------------------------------------------------- To join the session ------------------------------------------------------- 1. Go to https://src.webex.com/src/k2/j.php?MTID=tb5710cac7d8b81a0e0e5c436b48545bc (https://src.webex.com/src/k2/j.php?MTID=tb5710cac7d8b81a0e0e5c436b48545bc) 2. Enter your name and email address. 3. Click "Join Now". 4. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen. 5. To receive a call back, provide your phone number when you join the session.------------------------------------------------------- To join the session by phone only ------------------------------------------------------- Call the number below and enter the access code. Toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-877-668-4490 Access code: 643 345 106 Meeting TypeWebcast Contacts Allison Hilbert, 919-941-9433, Allison.Hilbert@src.org (mailto:Allison.Hilbert@src.org)Preferred Contact Method: Email NSF Related Organizations NSF-Wide Directorate for Engineering Core Attachments Workshop Future Nanotechnology Infrastructure Support Program (http://www.nsf.gov/attachments/132127/public/Workshop_Future_Nanotechnology_Infrastructure_Support_Program.pdf)Source: NSF (http://www.nsf.gov/events/event_summ.jsp?cntn_id=132127 WT.mc_id=USNSF_13 WT.mc_ev=click)

Biodegradable, Nanoscale Thin Films Release Drugs in Steady Doses Over a Long Period of Time

August 6, 2014 - 7:48am
About one in four older adults suffers from chronic pain. Many of those people take medication, usually as pills. But this is not an ideal way of treating pain: Patients must take medicine frequently, and can suffer side effects, since the contents of pills spread through the bloodstream to the whole body. Now researchers at MIT have refined a technique that could enable pain medication and other drugs to be released directly to specific parts of the body — and in steady doses over a period of up to 14 months. The method uses biodegradable, nanoscale “thin films” laden with drug molecules that are absorbed into the body in an incremental process. “It’s been hard to develop something that releases [medication] for more than a couple of months,” says Paula Hammond, the David H. Koch Professor in Engineering at MIT, and a co-author of a new paper on the advance. “Now we’re looking at a way of creating an extremely thin film or coating that’s very dense with a drug, and yet releases at a constant rate for very long time periods.” In the paper, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe the method used in the new drug-delivery system, which significantly exceeds the release duration achieved by most commercial controlled-release biodegradable films. “You can potentially implant it and release the drug for more than a year without having to go in and do anything about it,” says Bryan Hsu PhD ’14, who helped develop the project as a doctoral student in Hammond’s lab. “You don’t have to go recover it. Normally to get long-term drug release, you need a reservoir or device, something that can hold back the drug. And it’s typically nondegradable. It will release slowly, but it will either sit there and you have this foreign object retained in the body, or you have to go recover it.” Layer by layer The paper was co-authored by Hsu, Myoung-Hwan Park of Shamyook University in South Korea, Samantha Hagerman ’14, and Hammond, whose lab is in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. The research project tackles a difficult problem in localized drug delivery: Any biodegradable mechanism intended to release a drug over a long time period must be sturdy enough to limit hydrolysis, a process by which the body’s water breaks down the bonds in a drug molecule. If too much hydrolysis occurs too quickly, the drug will not remain intact for long periods in the body. Yet the drug-release mechanism needs to be designed such that a drug molecule does, in fact, decompose in steady increments. To address this, the researchers developed what they call a “layer-by-layer” technique, in which drug molecules are effectively attached to layers of thin-film coating. In this specific case, the researchers used diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is often prescribed for osteoarthritis and other pain or inflammatory conditions. They then bound it to thin layers of poly-L-glutamatic acid, which consists of an amino acid the body reabsorbs, and two other organic compounds. The film can be applied onto degradable nanoparticles for injection into local sites or used to coat permanent devices, such as orthopedic implants. In tests, the research team found that the diclofenac was steadily released over 14 months. Because the effectiveness of pain medication is subjective, they evaluated the efficacy of the method by seeing how well the diclofenac blocked the activity of cyclooxygenase (COX), an enzyme central to inflammation in the body. “We found that it remains active after being released,” Hsu says, meaning that the new method does not damage the efficacy of the drug. Or, as the paper notes, the layer-by-layer method produced “substantial COX inhibition at a similar level” to pills. The method also allows the researchers to adjust the quantity of the drug being delivered, essentially by adding more layers of the ultrathin coating. A viable strategy for many drugs Hammond and Hsu note that the technique could be used for other kinds of medication; an illness such as tuberculosis, for instance, requires at least six months of drug therapy. “It’s not only viable for diclofenac,” Hsu says. “This strategy can be applied to a number of drugs.” Indeed, other researchers who have looked at the paper say the potential medical versatility of the thin-film technique is of considerable interest. "I find it really intriguing because it's broadly applicable to a lot of systems," says Kathryn Uhrich, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University, adding that the research is "really a nice piece of work." To be sure, in each case, researchers will have to figure out how best to bind the drug molecule in question to a biodegradable thin-film coating. The next steps for the researchers include studies to optimize these properties in different bodily environments and more tests, perhaps with medications for both chronic pain and inflammation. A major motivation for the work, Hammond notes, is “the whole idea that we might be able to design something using these kinds of approaches that could create an [easier] lifestyle” for people with chronic pain and inflammation. Hsu and Hammond were involved in all aspects of the project and wrote the paper, while Hagerman and Park helped perform the research, and Park helped analyze the data. The research described in the paper was supported by funding from the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force.Source: MIT News (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/advanced-thin-film-technique-could-deliver-long-lasting-medication-0804)

Examining the Potential of Breakthrough Nanotechnology Opportunities

July 31, 2014 - 4:05am
Nanotechnology-enabled products offer the potential to expand future consumer markets having significant societal and economic impact. As part of its investment in nanotechnology, the U.S. government continues an open dialogue regarding the impact and return on investment of funding provided through the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) to foster fundamental science, education and training, and commercialization of nanotechnology. While the NNI investment in fundamental science has clearly positioned the U.S. as the global nanotechnology leader, commercialization of nanotechnology innovations in the U.S. has lagged behind other countries such that numerous panels of advisors and committees have called for increases or shifting of funds to foster nanomanufacturing, effective technology transfer, and commercialization of these innovations. Recently, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), part of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, held a hearing on "Nanotechnology: Understanding How Small Solutions Drive Big Innovation." Held on July 29, 2014, subcommittee members heard from several nanotech industry leaders about the current state of nanotechnology and the direction that it is headed. With Rep. Terry’s emphasis that nanotechnology brings great opportunities to advance a broad range of industries, bolster the U.S. economy, and create new manufacturing jobs, the following response excerpts by panel members heard at the hearing provide key insights into how the U.S. may capitalize from these breakthrough opportunities. Professor Milan Mrksich of Northwestern University discussed the economic opportunities of nanotechnology, and obstacles to realizing these benefits. He commented, “Current challenges to realizing the broader economic promise of the nanotechnology industry include the development of strategies to ensure the continued investment in fundamental research, to increase the fraction of these discoveries that are translated to technology companies, to have effective regulations on nanomaterials, to efficiently process and protect intellectual property to ensure that within the global landscape, the United States remains the leader in realizing the economic benefits of the nanotechnology industry.” James Phillips, Chairman CEO at NanoMech, Inc., and a member of the NanoBusiness and Commercialization Association (NanoBCA), added, “We must capitalize immediately on our great University system, our National Labs, and tremendous agencies like the National Science Foundation, to be sure this unique and best in class innovation ecosystem, is organized in a way that promotes nanotechnology, tech transfer and commercialization in dramatic and laser focused ways so that we capture the best ideas into patents quickly, that are easily transferred into our capitalistic economy so that our nation’s best ideas and inventions are never left stranded, but instead accelerated to market at the speed of innovation so that we build good jobs and improve the quality of life and security for our citizens faster and better than any other country on our planet.” Other comments by panelists emphasized the need for nanotechnology education and training, strategies for global competitiveness, benefits of public-private partnerships to accelerate the innovation ecosystem, and challenges of retaining and transitioning foreign students into the U.S. workforce. The hearing concluded with an interesting perspective presented by Chairman Terry commenting, “Nanotech is a true science race between the nations, and we should be encouraging the transition from research breakthroughs to commercial development. I believe the U.S. should excel in this area”. For further details of the hearing and panelists commentary, the NNN recommends visiting the website link: http://energycommerce.house.gov/press-release/subcommittee-examines-breakthrough-nanotechnology-opportunities-america (http://energycommerce.house.gov/press-release/subcommittee-examines-breakthrough-nanotechnology-opportunities-america).

Nanosensor Arrays Enable Highly Sensitive Chemical Fingerprinting for Explosive Detection

July 31, 2014 - 3:30am
Reliable detection of trace amounts of hazardous chemicals, in particular explosives, remains a pervasive problem due to the broad variety of associated chemical compounds that must be monitored in an open environment. In combination with the inherently low vapor pressures of most explosive compounds, the challenges of detecting potential threats require sensing techniques having ultra-high sensitivity, high selectivity, and rapid response. While such performance is available using sophisticated and expensive equipment, the need exists for portable, low cost systems that can discriminate a broad range of chemical species with high sensitivity and low probability of false responses. A broad range of nanomaterials have proven effective for chem/bio detection due to their high surface to volume ratio, thereby providing high sensitivity. Effective probability of detection has been demonstrated for certain trace chemical analysis by chemically functionalizing the nanomaterial surface such that the analyte of interest has an increased affinity to bind with the nanomaterial surface, which changes the electrical properties of the sensor. While this has enabled a pathway for highly sensitive, low cost sensor platforms, chemical selectivity for detection in open environments remains a challenge. For this, the concept of a chemical nose is required that can accurately discriminate trace chemicals in air. Approaches to chemical nose sensing typically include arrays of nanosensors with different elements of the array having variable properties for binding different chemical species by varying the chemical functionality added to the individual sensors in the array. Subsequent statistical analysis of the sensor array when exposed to various compounds can then provide a specific signature associated with each compound. Establishing a library of signatures makes this approach extendable for identification of a broad range of chemical unknowns. Recently, Lichtenstein, et. al. reported on the demonstration of a chemically modified nanosensor array platform for ultrasensitive detection of explosives (http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140624/ncomms5195/full/ncomms5195.html) . The reported platform consisted of 144 nanosensors arranged into 8 subarrays of 18 nanosensors. Each nanosensor element consisted of a silicon nanowire Field Effect Transistor (FET) device, with each subarray chemically modified with different small molecule receptors for ultrasensitive discrimination of chemical species. Each subarray is fed by a microfluidic channel which controls the flow and interaction of the analyte with the modified sensor array. Detection occurs by first sampling the air for 5 seconds, which is pre-concentrated by flowing through a microporous filter (50-100 l/min), then flushing the adsorbed analyte from the filter membrane using a commercially available explosive standard solution, which subsequently carries the analyte to the nanosensor subarrays. Characterization of the chemical nose platform for a range of explosive compounds demonstrated unprecedented sensitivity in the parts per quadrillion (10-15) range. More importantly, the implementation of real time mathematical analysis, kinetically and thermodynamically, of the nanosensor array elements enables discrimination and identification of numerous explosive materials with standoff distance up to several meters, including non-nitrogen containing compounds. This demonstration provides a prominent example of a nano-enabled system with unprecedented performance solving a critical problem. Further development and application of surface modification chemistries and regeneration of nanosensor surfaces will impact a much broader range of applications in chemical identification and healthcare assessment. References: Lichtenstein A, Havivi E, Shacham R, Hahamy E, Leibovich R, Pevzner A, Krivitsky V, Davivi G, Presman I, Elnathan R, Engel Y, Flaxer E, Patolsky F. Supersensitive fingerprinting of explosives by chemically modified nanosensors arrays. Nat. Commun. 5(4195). doi: 10.1038/ncomms5195 (http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140624/ncomms5195/full/ncomms5195.html) Image reprinted with permission from Nature Publishing Group.

JSNN nanomanufacturing group adds members

July 30, 2014 - 3:41am
An organization established by the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (http://jsnn.ncat.uncg.edu/) and Gateway University Research Park (http://www.gatewayurp.com/) in Greensboro to build partnerships between academic researchers and industry has grown to 25 members in its first year, according to an update from the JSNN. The Nanomanufacturing Innovation Consortium was formed (http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/print-edition/2013/07/26/triad-companies-jsnn-join-forces-with.html?page=2) in July 2013 with an initial group of members that included RF Micro Devices (http://www.rfmd.com/), Syngenta (http://www.syngenta-us.com/home.aspx) and VF Jeanswear among others. Members pay a fee to join the NIC and in return gain access to the JSNN’s cutting-edge equipment as well as access to ideas and expertise from the school’s scientists. Other companies have joined since including (http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/blog/2013/12/itgs-cone-denim-burlington.html) International Textile Group’s (http://www.itg-global.com/) Cone Denim and Burlington divisions, Callaway Carbons, Horiba and AxNano. The 25th member of the group and the most recent to join is Luna Innovations (NASDAQ: LUNA), a Roanoke company that makes fiber optic tools for the telecommunications, aerospace, automotive, energy and defense industries. Cone Denim’s Tom Tantillo (http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/search/results?q=Tom%20Tantillo) said his company is already seeing benefits from its first few months as part of the NIC. “This is proving to be an invaluable resource to our organic growth as well as our market competitiveness,” he said. “Having access to the robust tool set and knowledge base at the JSNN gives us an unprecedented competitive edge in certifying that the technical metrics of a newly engineered product will meet consumer performance expectations.” “The development of strong industry relationships is critical to the success of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering,” said James Ryan (http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/search/results?q=James%20Ryan), founding dean of the school, which is a partnership of N.C. A T State University (http://www.ncat.edu/) and UNC-Greensboro (http://www.uncg.edu/). “JSNN continues to benefit from the leadership and vision of member companies, and we look forward to growing the NIC and continuing collaborations with our partners.”Source: Triad Business Journal

Researchers achieve 'holy grail' of battery design: A stable lithium anode

July 30, 2014 - 3:31am
The development could lead to smaller, cheaper and more efficient rechargeable batteries. Engineers across the globe have been racing to design smaller, cheaper and more efficient rechargeable batteries to meet the power storage needs of everything from handheld gadgets to electric cars. In a paper (http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nnano.2014.152.html) published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, researchers at Stanford University report that they have taken a big step toward accomplishing what battery designers have been trying to do for decades – design a pure lithium anode. All batteries have three basic components: an electrolyte to provide electrons, an anode to discharge those electrons and a cathode to receive them. Today, we say we have lithium batteries, but that is only partly true. What we have are lithium ion batteries. The lithium is in the electrolyte but not in the anode. An anode of pure lithium would be a huge boost to battery efficiency. “Of all the materials that one might use in an anode, lithium has the greatest potential. Some call it the Holy Grail,” said Yi Cui (http://profiles.stanford.edu/yi-cui), a professor of Materials Science and Engineering (http://mse.stanford.edu/) and leader of the research team. “It is very lightweight, and it has the highest energy density. You get more power per volume and weight, leading to lighter, smaller batteries with more power.” But engineers have long tried and failed to reach this Holy Grail. “Lithium has major challenges that have made its use in anodes difficult. Many engineers had given up the search, but we found a way to protect the lithium from the problems that have plagued it for so long,” said Guangyuan Zheng, a doctoral candidate in Cui’s lab and first author of the paper. In addition to Cui and Zheng, the research team includes Steven Chu (http://physics.stanford.edu/people/faculty/steven-chu), the former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Nobel Laureate who recently resumed his professorship at Stanford. “In practical terms, if we can triple the energy density and simultaneously decrease the cost four-fold, that would be very exciting. We would have a cell phone with triple the battery life and an electric vehicle with a 300 mile range that cost $25,000 – and with better performance than an internal combustion engine car getting 40 mpg,” Chu said. The engineering challenge In the paper, the authors explain how they are overcoming the problems posed by lithium. Most lithium ion batteries, like those you might find in your smart phone or hybrid car, work similarly. The key components include an anode, the negative pole from which electrons flow out and into a power-hungry device, and the cathode, where the electrons re-enter the battery once they have traveled through the circuit. Separating them is an electrolyte, a solid or liquid loaded with positively charged lithium ions that travel between the anode and cathode. During charging, the positively charged lithium ions in the electrolyte are attracted to the negatively charged anode, and the lithium accumulates on the anode. Today, the anode in a lithium ion battery is actually made of graphite or silicon.Engineers would like to use lithium for the anode, but so far they have been unable to do so. That’s because the lithium ions expand as they gather on the anode during charging. All anode materials, including graphite and silicon, expand somewhat during charging, but not like lithium. Researchers say that lithium’s expansion during charging is “virtually infinite” relative to the other materials. Its expansion is also uneven, causing pits and cracks to form in the outer surface, like paint on the exterior of a balloon that is being inflated. The resulting fissures on the surface of the anode allow the precious lithium ions to escape, forming hair-like or mossy growths, called dendrites. Dendrites, in turn, short circuit the battery and shorten its life. Preventing this buildup is the first challenge of using lithium for the battery’s anode. The second engineering challenge involves finding a way to deal with the fact that lithium anodes are highly chemically reactive with the electrolyte. It uses up the electrolyte and reduces battery life. An additional problem is that the anode and electrolyte produce heat when they come into contact. Lithium batteries, including those in use today, can overheat to the point of fire, or even explosion. They are, therefore, a serious safety concern. The recent battery fires in Tesla cars and on Boeing’s Dreamliner are prominent examples of the challenges of lithium ion batteries. Building the nanospheres To solve these problems the Stanford researchers built a protective layer of interconnected carbon domes on top of their lithium anode. This layer is what the team has called nanospheres. The Stanford team’s nanosphere layer resembles a honeycomb: it creates a flexible, uniform and non-reactive film that protects the unstable lithium from the drawbacks that have made it such a challenge. The carbon nanosphere wall is just 20 nanometers thick. It would take about 5,000 layers stacked one atop another to equal the width of single human hair. “The ideal protective layer for a lithium metal anode needs to be chemically stable to protect against the chemical reactions with the electrolyte and mechanically strong to withstand the expansion of the lithium during charge,” said Cui, who is a member of the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The Stanford nanosphere layer is just that. It is made of amorphous carbon, which is chemically stable, yet strong and flexible so as to move freely up and down with the lithium as it expands and contracts during the battery’s normal charge-discharge cycle. Ideal within reach In technical terms, the nanospheres improve the coulombic efficiency of the battery – a ratio of the amount of lithium that can be extracted from the anode when the battery is in use compared with the amount put in during charging. A single round of this give-and-take process is called a cycle. Generally, to be commercially viable, a battery must have a coulombic efficiency of 99.9 percent or more, ideally over as many cycles as possible. Previous anodes of unprotected lithium metal achieved approximately 96 percent efficiency, which dropped to less than 50 percent in just 100 cycles—not nearly good enough. The Stanford team’s new lithium metal anode achieves 99 percent efficiency even at 150 cycles. “The difference between 99 percent and 96 percent, in battery terms, is huge. So, while we’re not quite to that 99.9 percent threshold, where we need to be, we’re close. And this is a significant improvement over any previous design,” Cui said. “With some additional engineering and new electrolytes, we believe we can realize a practical and stable lithium metal anode that could power the next generation of rechargeable batteries.”Source: Stanford School of Engineering (https://engineering.stanford.edu/news/stanford-team-achieves-holy-grail-battery-design-stable-lithium-anode)Image reprinted with permission from Interconnected hollow carbon nanospheres for stable lithium metal anodes ; Guangyuan Zheng, Seok Woo Lee, Zheng Liang, Hyun-Wook Lee, Kai Yan, Hongbin Yao; Nature Nanotechnology 2014.

Progress Review on the Coordinated Implementation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative ...

July 24, 2014 - 3:53am
The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO), on behalf of the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee of the Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), will hold a public webinar on Thursday, July 31, 2014 from 12 pm to 1 pm EDT. The purpose of this webinar is to provide a forum to answer questions related to the Federal Government's “Progress Review on the Coordinated Implementation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) 2011 Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Strategy.” Discussion during the webinar will focus on the research activities undertaken by NNI agencies to advance the current state of the science as highlighted in the progress review. Representative research activities as provided in the Progress Review will be discussed in the context of the 2011 NNI EHS Research Strategy's six core research areas: Nanomaterial Measurement Infrastructure, Human Exposure Assessment, Human Health, the Environment, Risk Assessment and Risk Management Methods, and Informatics and Modeling. A moderator will identify relevant questions and pose them to the panel of NNI agency representatives during the live webinar. Due to time constraints, not all questions may be addressed. The moderator reserves the right to group similar questions and to skip questions, as appropriate. Please send your questions to webinar@nnco.nano.gov. (mailto:webinar@nnco.nano.gov%3cmailto:webinar@nnco.nano.gov) Details: Thursday, July 31, 2014, 12 pm – 1 pm EDTLog in information and event details at http://www.nano.gov/2014webinar (http://www.nano.gov/2014webinar).A public copy of the “Progress Review on the Coordinated Implementation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative 2011 Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Strategy” can be accessed at www.nano.gov/2014EHSProgressReview (http://www.nano.gov/2014EHSProgressReview). The 2011 NNI EHS Research Strategy can be accessed at www.nano.gov/node/681 (http://www.nano.gov/node/681).Source: Federal Register (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/07/22/2014-17189/national-nanotechnology-coordination-office)

Nano-sized silicon oxide electrode for the next generation lithium ion batteries

July 17, 2014 - 3:15am
The lithium ion battery market has been growing steadily and has been seeking an approach to increase battery capacity while retaining its capacity for long recharging process. Structuring materials for electrode at the nanometre-length scale has been known to be an effective way to meet this demand; however, such nanomaterials would essentially need to be produced by high throughput processing in order to transfer these technologies to industry.This article published in the Science and Technology of Advanced Materials ("High throughput production of nanocomposite SiO x powders by plasma spray physical vapor deposition for negative electrode of lithium ion batteries" (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1088/1468-6996/15/2/025006)) reports an approach which potentially has an industrially compatible high throughputs to produce nano-sized composite silicon-based powders as a strong candidate for the negative electrode of the next generation high density lithium ion batteries. The authors have successfully produced nanocomposite SiO powders by plasma spray physical vapor deposition using low cost metallurgical grade powders at high throughputs. Using this method, they demonstrated an explicit improvement in the battery capacity cycle performance with these powders as electrode.The uniqueness of this processing method is that nanosized SiO composites are produced instantaneously through the evaporation and subsequent co-condensation of the powder feedstock. The approach is called plasma spray physical vapor deposition (PS-PVD). In Fig. 1, raw SiO and PS-PVD SiO composites are shown.The composites are 20 nm particles, which are composed of a crystalline Si core and SiOx shell. Furthermore, the addition of methane (CH4) promotes the reduction of SiO and results in the decreased SiO-shell thickness as shown in Fig. 2. The core-shell structure is formed in a single-step continuous processing.As a result, the irreversible capacity was effectively decreased, and half-cell batteries made of PS-PVD powders have exhibited improved initial efficiency and maintenance of capacity as high as 1000 mAhg-1 after 100 cycles at the same time.Source: National Institute for Materials Science

Carbodeon enables 20 percent increase in polymer thermal filler conductivity with 0.03 wt. ...

July 9, 2014 - 6:58am
Vantaa, Finland – 9th July 2014: Carbodeon, a Finnish-based producer of functionalised nanodiamond materials, can now achieve a 20 percent increase in polymer thermal performance by using as little as 0.03 wt.% nanodiamond material at 45 percent thermal filler loading, enabling increased performance at a lower cost than with traditional fillers. Last October, Carbodeon published its data on thermal fillers showing that the conductivity of polyamide 66 (PA66) based thermal compound could be increased by 25 percent by replacing 0.1 wt.% of the typically maximum effective level of boron nitride filler (45 wt.%) with the company’s application fine-tuned nanodiamond material. The latest refinements in nanodiamond materials and compound manufacturing allow similar level performance improvements but with 70 percent less nanodiamond consumption and thus, greatly reduced cost. The samples were manufactured at the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland and their thermal performance was analyzed by ESK (3M) in Germany. “The performance improvements achieved are derived from the extremely high thermal conductivity of diamond, our ability to optimise the nanodiamond filler affinity to applied polymers and other thermal fillers and finally, Carbodeon’s improvements in nanodiamond filler agglomeration control,” said Carbodeon CTO Vesa Myllymäki. “With the ability to control all these parameters, the nanotechnology key paradigm of ‘less gives more’ can truly be realised.” The active surface chemistry inherent in detonation-synthesised nanodiamonds has historically presented difficulties in utilising the potential benefits of the 4-6nm particles, making them prone to agglomeration. Carbodeon optimises this surface chemistry so that the particles are driven to disperse and to become consistently integrated throughout parent materials, especially polymers. The much-promised properties of diamond can thus be imparted to other materials with very low, and hence economic, concentrations. For more demanding requirements, conductivity increases of as much as 100 percent can be achieved using 1.5 percent nanodiamond materials at 20 percent thermal filler loadings. “This increase in thermal conductivity is achieved without affecting the electrical insulation or other mechanical properties of the material and with no or very low tool wear, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of electronics and LED applications,” said Vesa Myllymäki. “We know we have not yet uncovered all the benefits that Carbodeon nanodiamonds can deliver and continue our focused application development on both polymer thermal compounds, and on metal finishing and industrial polymer coatings,” Myllymäki added. “Recently we were granted a patent on nanodiamond-containing thermoplastic thermal composites and we see great future opportunities for these materials.” About Carbodeon Ltd Carbodeon supplies super hard materials for applications where toughness is at a premium. Its patented technologies offer superior opportunities to several fields of business. Its grades of Ultra-Dispersed Diamonds -– also known as NanoDiamonds – possess the desired properties fine-tuned for a growing number of dedicated applications. These grades are sold under the name uDiamond®. Similarly, the company’s Nicanite® graphitic carbon nitride can be converted to carbon nitride thin-film coatings with unique properties. http://www.carbodeon.com (http://www.carbodeon.com) Contact: Camille Closs +44 (0)20 8286 0654 Watch PR camille@watchpr.com (mailto:camille@watchpr.com)

Improved Method of Device Area Scale-up for SWNT/Silicon Hybrid Solar Cells Using Silver Nanowires

July 2, 2014 - 5:57am
While research on silicon solar cells has progressed the development of all organic, inorganic, and hybrid materials systems to simultaneously address the diverse set of design criteria for optimal photovoltaic (PV) performance, incorporation of hybrid materials systems has proven to be an effective method to improve some of these issues. With crystalline silicon representing the standard for high efficiency in solar cell designs, cell cost and production capacity remain concerns for the growing emphasis on broad implementation of renewable energy strategies on a global basis, with solar PV being a leading competitor. With recent studies demonstrating that the approach incorporating p-type nano-Carbon with n-type silicon in a hybrid film approach provides excellent diode junction rectification properties, improved collection and transport efficiencies due to the enhanced conductivity of the nano-C film, and superior semiconductor barrier properties at the nano-C/silicon junction. While this has proven effective for small cell design of a few square millimeters, scaling the cell area has proven challenging due to the increase in sheet resistance (Rs) of the nano-C layer as area increases resulting in a reduction in cell efficiency. Recently, Li, et.al, from the Taylor group in the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department at Yale University, reported on a approach to significantly improve the performance for scaling up cell area for hybrid single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT)/Silicon solar cells. In this work, the authors utilized p-type SWNTs cast onto n-type silicon as a dense film approximately 15 nm in thickness. For small cell areas on the order of 1-2 mm2, cell performance was significantly improved in comparison to other hybrid approaches due to the low Rs of the SWNT film. For larger cell areas, the Rs increased substantially to kilo-ohm/square, resulting in decreased cell efficiency. While increasing the SWNT film thickness could potentially lower Rs, the trade-off would be a reduction in optical transparency for the film, which would still reduce cell efficiency during scale-up. Patterning of metal conductor traces over the SWNT film was considered as a means to reduce Rs, but the evaporation of metal over the SWNT film resulted in cell shorting as some of the metal penetrated the pores in the film to the silicon junction. Instead, a strategy of casting silver nanowires (AgNWs) from solution at medium densities was investigated as a means to lower Rs while maintaining reasonable optical transparency during cell area scale-up. Reported results showed that casting of the AgNW films over the SWNT film reduced Rs for the scaled cell structures, and that even with the slight increase in optical absorption with the additive bilayer film, the overall performance of the scaled cells was significantly improved in comparison to the SWNT/Silicon hybrid cell design. The cells exhibited improved fill-factors which were most predominant in enhancing the efficiency, even with slight reductions in open circuit voltage and short circuit current observed for the scaled cell areas. To further improve the optical absorption for the cell, the authors cast titania (TiO2) nanoparticles over the AgNW/SWNT surfaces to reduce reflection and increase forward scattering of incident solar radiation, resulting in a marginal improvement which was further increased via post process steps. This work has developed a solution-based approach to mitigate the total resistive power loss that typically hinders the area scale-up of hybrid nano-C/Si solar cells. A nearly twofold increase of photovoltaic efficiency is observed upon the coating of AgNWs onto SWNT/Si junctions, resulting from the significant reduction in the Rs enabled by the AgNW/SWNT bilayer. The SWNT thin film with high optical transparency and extremely small thickness also allows for the direct solution deposition of antireflective TiO2 nanoparticles. A final efficiency of >10% was realized in 49 mm2 cells, with implications for complete solution processed solar cell manufacturing and ultimately cell cost reduction. The work further illustrates the role and versatility that additive nanostructured films can contribute to performance improvements for cell area scale-up. References: Device Area Scale-Up and Improvement of SWNT/Si Solar Cells Using Silver Nanowires (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aenm.201400186/pdf). Xiaokai Li, Yeonwoong Jung, Jin-Shun Huang, Tenghooi Goh, and André D. Taylor; Advanced Energy Materials 2014. DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201400186 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aenm.201400186) Images reprinted with permission from John Wiley and Sons; Advanced Energy Materials; Device Area Scale-Up and Improvement of SWNT/Si Solar Cells Using Silver Nanowires; © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH Co. KGaA, Weinheim; Xiaokai Li,Yeonwoong Jung,Jing-Shun Huang,Tenghooi Goh,André D. Taylor.

Researchers Develop Novel Way to Waterproof Materials by Adding Exterior Surface Grooves

July 1, 2014 - 4:20am
Researchers from Kyoto University in Japan have developed a novel way to waterproof new functionalized materials involved in gas storage and separation by adding exterior surface grooves. Their study, published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, provides a blueprint for researchers to build similar materials involved in industrial applications, such as high performance gas separation and energy storage.

Nanotechnology Impact on Manufacturing Innovation for Next Round of Institutes

June 26, 2014 - 8:49am
A recent Request for Information (RFI) disseminated by the Department of Defense (DoD) solicits input from Industry and Academia as part in order to better understand the state-of-the-art, needs, and potential market and economic impact for future Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMIs). These institutes are consortium-based Public Private Partnerships enabling the scale-up of advanced manufacturing technologies and processes with the goal of successful transition of existing science and technology into the marketplace for both Defense and commercial applications. The IMI will be led by a not-for-profit organization and focus on one technology area. DoD is seeking responses which will assist in the selection of a technology focus area from those currently under consideration.

2014 NACK Network Nanotechnology Workshops

June 25, 2014 - 10:10am
The Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge (NACK) Network (http://nano4me.org/) has announced its late summer and fall 2014 offerings of the NACK Nanotechnolgy Resource and Hands-On Introduction to Nanotechnology Workshops, held at the Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization (CNEU) at Penn State University.The Course Resource Workshops series consists of two workshops designed to provide the resources needed to effectively teach undergraduate nanotechnology courses based upon the NACK suite of six nanotechnology courses. They can be attended in any order to meet the needs and schedules of the workshop participants.The next Course Resource Workshop offering will be the August 11-14 offering of Nanotechnology Course Resources II: Patterning, Characterization Applications. This workshop will focus on the second set of courses in the 6 course suite: (4) Patterning for Nanotechnology, (5) Materials Modification for Nanotechnology Applications, and (6) Characterization, Testing of Nanotechnology Structures and Materials. (NOTE: This workshop will be offered again on October 6-9. Their April 2014 Course Resource I workshop was very successful with representatives of educational institutions from 7 states in attendance. This workshop Nanotechnology Course Resources I: Safety, Processing Materials will again be offered September 15-18. This workshop focuses on the first set of courses in the 6 course suite: (1) Materials, Safety, and Equipment Overview, (2) Basic Nanotechnology Processes, and (3) Materials in Nanotechnology. Our Hand-On Introduction to Nanotechnology Workshop will be offered for the second time this year November 11-13, 2014. This workshop presents an overview of the world of nanotechnology. Participants will learn about the growing applications of nano in industry and about nanofabrication processes and tools. All workshops have hands-on lab activities in cleanrooms at Penn State. Financial support to attend the workshops is available! The support covers the registration fee, travel expenses, and lodging. The form to apply for financial support is included with along with the workshop applications. NACK has had some very nice feedback on the workshop from past participants. Below is a sampling of attendee feedback from their recent workshop experiences: “You guys are an inspiration. Penn State is a leader in nanotechnology instruction. Keep up the good work!!!” “The labs were fantastic.” “Overall this workshop is awesome and great!” “The workshop was fantastic. I gained a valuable understanding of nanofabrication and applications.” “Excellent overall. Lecture/Lab format was the best.” “The staff and faculty at this workshop are great and very helpful.” “This was an awesome workshop. I learned so much and hope I can get our students as excited as I am.” “I was very impressed with the workshop. I learned a tremendous amount.” “It was very valuable – learned a lot on the basics of vacuum technology in much more detailed and comprehensive manner… remote sensing and learning to use it was equally valuable.” “This workshop was probably the best I have ever attended! Excellent job.” For more detailed information about the workshops (as well as a word version of the applications) refer to our website at http://nano4me.org/workshops (http://nano4me.org/workshops) Please apply as soon as possible for these upcoming workshops as spaces fill up quickly. The application period for the August workshop closes on June 30, 2014.Source: NACK

Graphene Flagship initiative doubles in size

June 25, 2014 - 9:50am
To coincide with Graphene Week 2014 (http://graphene-flagship.eu/?page_id=554), the Graphene Flagship (http://graphene-flagship.eu/) is proud to announce that today one of the largest-ever European research initiatives is doubling in size. 66 new partners are being invited to join the consortium following the results of a €9 million competitive call. While most partners are universities and research institutes, the share of companies, mainly SMEs, involved is increasing. This shows the growing interest of economic actors in graphene. The partnership now includes more than 140 organisations from 23 countries. It is fully set to take ‘wonder material’ graphene and related layered materials from academic laboratories to everyday use. Vice-President of the European Commission @NeelieKroesEU (https://twitter.com/NeelieKroesEU), responsible for the Digital Agenda (http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/), welcomed the extended partnership: “Europe is leading the graphene revolution. This ‘wonder material has the potential dramatically to improve our lives: it stimulates new medical technologies, such as artificial retinas, and more sustainable transport with light and ultra-efficient batteries. The more we can unlock the potential of graphene, the better!” SMEs on the Rise The 66 new partners come from 19 countries, six of which are new to the consortium: Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Israel. With its 16 new partners, Italy now has the highest number of partners in the Graphene Flagship alongside Germany (with 23 each), followed by Spain (18), UK (17) and France (13). The incoming 66 partners will add new capabilities to the scientific and technological scope of the flagship. Over one third of new partners are companies, mainly SMEs, showing the growing interest of economic actors in graphene. In the initial consortium this ratio was 20%. Big Interest in Joining the Initiative The €9 million competitive call of the €54 million ramp-up phase (2014-2015) attracted a total of 218 proposals, representing 738 organisations from 37 countries. The proposals received were evaluated on the basis of their scientific and technological expertise, implementation and impact (further information on the call (http://www.graphenecall.esf.org/)) and ranked by an international panel of leading experts, mostly eminent professors from all over the world. 21 proposals were selected for funding. Prof. Jari Kinaret, Professor of Physics at the Chalmers University of Technology (http://www.chalmers.se/en/Pages/default.aspx), Sweden, and Director of the Graphene Flagship, said: “The response was overwhelming, which is an indicator of the recognition for and trust in the flagship effort throughout Europe. Competition has been extremely tough. I am grateful for the engagement by the applicants and our nearly 60 independent expert reviewers who helped us through this process. I am impressed by the high quality of the proposals we received and looking forward to working with all the new partners to realise the goals of the Graphene Flagship.” Europe in the Driving Seat Graphene was made and tested in Europe, leading to the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov from the University of Manchester. With the €1 billion Graphene Flagship, Europe will be able to turn cutting-edge scientific research into marketable products. This major initiative places Europe in the driving seat for the global race to develop graphene technologies. Prof. Andrea Ferrari, Director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre (http://www.graphene.cam.ac.uk/) and Chair of the Executive Board of the Graphene Flagship commented today’s announcement on new partners: “This adds strength to our unprecedented effort to take graphene and related materials from the lab to the factory floor, so that the world-leading position of Europe in graphene science can be translated into technology, creating a new graphene-based industry, with benefits for Europe in terms of job creation and competitiveness”. Background The Graphene Flagship @GrapheneCA (https://twitter.com/GrapheneCA) represents a European investment of €1 billion over the next 10 years. It is part of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships (http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/fet-flagships) @FETFlagships (https://twitter.com/search?q=%40FETflagships src=typd) announced by the European Commission in January 2013 (press release (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-54_en.htm)). The goal of the FET Flagships programme is to encourage visionary research with the potential to deliver breakthroughs and major benefits for European society and industry. FET Flagships are highly ambitious initiatives involving close collaboration with national and regional funding agencies, industry and partners from outside the European Union. Research in the next generation of technologies is key for Europe’s competitiveness. This is why €2.7 billion will be invested in Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) (http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/future-emerging-technologies-fet) under the new research programme Horizon 2020 (http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en) #H2020 (2014-2020). This represents a nearly threefold increase in budget compared to the previous research programme, FP7. FET actions are part of the Excellent science (http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/excellent-science) pillar of Horizon 2020.Source: Graphene Flagship (http://graphene-flagship.eu/?news=graphene-flagship-a-nnoun-ces-huge-new-influx-of-partners-through-competitive-call)

FDA issues guidance to support the responsible development of nanotechnology products

June 25, 2014 - 9:42am
Today, three final guidances and one draft guidance were issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration providing greater regulatory clarity for industry on the use of nanotechnology in FDA-regulated products.One final guidance addresses the agency’s overall approach for all products that it regulates, while the two additional final guidances and the new draft guidance provide specific guidance for the areas of foods, cosmetics and food for animals, respectively. Nanotechnology is an emerging technology that allows scientists to create, explore and manipulate materials on a scale measured in nanometers—particles so small that they cannot be seen with a regular microscope. The technology has a broad range of potential applications, such as improving the packaging of food and altering the look and feel of cosmetics.“Our goal remains to ensure transparent and predictable regulatory pathways, grounded in the best available science, in support of the responsible development of nanotechnology products,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “We are taking a prudent scientific approach to assess each product on its own merits and are not making broad, general assumptions about the safety of nanotechnology products.”The three final guidance documents reflect the FDA’s current thinking on these issues after taking into account public comment received on the corresponding draft guidance documents previously issued (draft agency guidance in 2011; and draft cosmetics and foods guidances in 2012). The FDA does not make a categorical judgment that nanotechnology is inherently safe or harmful, and will continue to consider the specific characteristics of individual products. All four guidance documents encourage manufacturers to consult with the agency before taking their products to market. Consultations with the FDA early in the product development process help to facilitate a mutual understanding about specific scientific and regulatory issues relevant to the nanotechnology product, and help address questions related to safety, effectiveness, public health impact and/or regulatory status of the product.The guidances are: FDA (http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm402499.htm)