NNCO Quarterly Newsletter: Summer 2017

July 27, 2017


What’s Big in Small Science?

Brought to you by the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO)


Highlight from the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)

NASA First-Ever Test Flight of CNT-based Composites in Structural Component: Carbon nanotube (CNT) composites have the potential to reduce the total mass of a launch vehicle by as much as 30%. In May, NASA successfully flight-tested a CNT composite overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV) aboard a sounding rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. While CNT composites have found their way into space before (for example, in shielding on the Juno spacecraft), this is the first flight test of these materials in a structural component. This test, involving collaboration across several NASA centers and with Nanocomp in Merrimack, New Hampshire (supplier of the nanotube yarns and sheets used to fabricate the COPV), is a big step in showing that these materials are ready for future NASA missions.  


Top NNI Education Stories

Student Animations Posted: “How do Doctors Target Diseased Cells?” and “How Do You See The Nanoscale?”, animated by Steven Handy and Sarah Cook, respectively, have been released on Community Idea Stations Science Matters and the NNI YouTube Channel, NanoTube. These animations are part of an ongoing collaboration with Western Carolina University’s Professor Mary Anna LaFratta.

Generation Nano Winners Announced: The National Science Foundation (NSF), in partnership with the NNI, named the winners of the second annual Generation Nano competition. Gen Nano challenges high school students to imagine novel superheroes who use the power of nanotechnology to solve crimes or tackle a societal challenge. Students then tell their hero's story in a comic and video. This year’s winners are:

  • First Place, Hannah Kim and Daniel Kim from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia for "Dilatant: Being bulletproof has never taken such a small effort."
  • Second Place, Symone Crowder from Northside High School in Georgia for "Mia Kei: Versatility is my specialty."
  • People's Choice, Ramona Park from Santa Fe High School in New Mexico for "Agent X: 'X' marks the spot."


Tell Us Your NNI Stories


Does your school have an emerging tech club? 
The Nano and Emerging Technologies Student Network (NextTech) is developing a newsletter. Please send your nanotechnology-related stories, pictures, videos, announcements, and a point of contact to connect with the students to nanoed@nnco.nano.gov.

Do you have a great NNI story to share? The NNCO is producing a series of podcasts to share “Stories from the NNI” as part of National Nanotechnology Day (October 9th). Please let us know if you are interested in participating by sending an email to NND2017@nnco.nano.gov.

What are you doing for National Nanotechnology Day? Let us know what you have planned; contact us at NND2017@nnco.nano.gov to have your event or activity added to the webpage and our online map.


Upcoming Events

Keep an eye on Nano.gov for details regarding upcoming webinars for SMEs (small- and medium- sized enterprises), teachers, and nanoEHS researchers. 

September 7-8: EU-U.S. Workshop in Birmingham, UK

October 9: National Nanotechnology Day

Summer 2017 Issue

NNCO Director, Lisa E. Friedersdorf, PhD

Director's Corner


Coordination, collaboration, and communication help leverage resources, activities, and knowledge to advance the goals of the NNI.

For example, the Sensors Nanotechnology Signature Initiative (NSI) exemplifies the enhanced coordination and collaboration enabled by the NNI. On June 13th and 14th, the NNI Nanosensor Manufacturing Workshop brought together researchers, developers, and program managers to identify critical research needs to accelerate the commercialization of nanosensors. Quality and consistency of nanomaterials, supply chain, and access to testing facilities were common themes throughout the discussions. In addition to public workshops, webinars, and symposia embedded in conferences, a team of agency representatives actively coordinates efforts to advance the signature initiative. This regular communication has resulted in the hand-off of technologies from one agency to another and the development of joint programs, leveraging both resources and knowledge. More information is available on the Sensors NSI Portal on Nano.gov.

In May, the second annual Student Leaders Conference, co-located with the National SBIR/STTR Conference and the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo, convened students from the Nano and Emerging Technologies Student Network. In addition to bringing the students together to learn from each other, these concurrent events provide a unique opportunity for the students to interact with researchers, business leaders from small and large companies, investors, and government officials.

In a collaboration entering its third year, the NNCO develops short scripts about nanotechnology to be animated by a graphic design class at the Western Carolina University. Throughout the semester, NNCO meets virtually with the students to provide feedback on the technical content and answer questions.  At the end of the semester, three animations are selected and posted on the Community Ideas Stations Science Matters website and social media accounts. These nanotechnology animations are also aired on Central Virginia PBS affiliates reaching 190,000 households per week and posted on PBS Learning Media, which provides free content for K-12 teachers. (See links to the left.)

The U.S.- EU nanoEHS Communities of Research provide a forum for experts in nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety research to collaboratively advance the field. As a result of these conversations, a common format for data storage has been agreed upon that will significantly enhance the ability of researchers to share knowledge and develop models. Sharing and building upon a common understanding of the state of nanoEHS science supports the responsible development of nanotechnology worldwide.

These are just a few examples of productive collaborations currently underway. How can we leverage your efforts? I welcome your thoughts and ideas.