NNCO Quarterly Newsletter: Summer 2019 Edition

August 30, 2019




A Quarterly Newsletter of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO)



This summer has just flown by! Perhaps it is a sign I am getting older, but I prefer to think it is because it has been such a busy summer for the NNCO. In addition to continuing my conversations with nanotechnology experts for our “Stories from the NNI” podcasts, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with academic researchers, industry representatives, and government officials at a variety of events and meetings. I very much enjoyed hearing the perspectives of three nanotechnology powerhouses during the Nanotechnology Innovation Keynote Panel at TechConnect on the impact of nanotechnology across scientific disciplines, the current stage of nanotechnology development (“nano hasn’t reached its full bloom yet”), and societal challenges that nanotechnology will help solve, including personalized and decentralized medicine, clean energy, and electronics. I also met with representatives from nanotechnology initiatives and associations from around the world, and in addition to sharing best practices, we plan to more broadly share health and safety resources and educational tools related to nanotechnology. Perhaps we will see a global celebration of Nanotechnology Day on October 9th! At the NanoForum hosted by SwedNano, we discussed support for nanotechnology start-ups, and two U.S. companies provided illustrative case studies highlighting successes and challenges in commercializing nanotechnologies. Themes included the value of collaboration, infrastructure, regulation, and workforce. I heard similar themes at the Advanced Materials Show, and continue to be inspired by the generosity of the nanotechnology community in sharing best practices and advice to help those at earlier stages of the technology development process. NNCO will continue to help share this information through podcasts, webinars, and workshops. Speaking of which, we were pleased to host the NNI Stakeholder Workshop earlier this month and thank the participants for their thoughtful engagement. If you missed it, the plenary sessions are archived here. As we transition from summer to fall, I am excited by the new energy in the student network and look forward to working with them to raise awareness of nano and emerging technologies across the country. The students are planning a variety of activities, including career development webinars. Reach out if you would like to get involved, keep an eye on nano.gov for news and upcoming events, and, of course, tune in to a new podcast episode of Stories from the NNI every Monday!


The following examples highlight research advances that were recently announced: HIV eliminated from the genomes of living animals (funded by the National Institutes of Health); Thin, silver nanowires may hold key to flexible and safe touchscreens (funded by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Department of Energy); Toward molecular computers: First measurement of single-molecule heat transfer (funded by the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy); A material way to make mars habitable (funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration); An “EpiPen” for spinal cord injuries (funded by the National Institutes of Health); ”Connecting the dots” for quantum networks (funded by the Office of Naval Research, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency); ”Hot spots” increase efficiency of solar desalination (funded by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research); First programmable memristor computer aims to bring AI processing down from the cloud (funded by the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).


As highlighted in other sections of this newsletter, NNCO actively engages with the nanotechnology business sector. Exciting advances continue to be made in a wide variety of industries. Over the past several months, announcements have highlighted significant investments in nanotechnology, with the emergence of at least two “unicorns” (companies valued over $1 billion). NNCO is committed to assisting the small business community by sharing best practices and other resources though nano.gov, the Tech Pathways podcast episodes, and targeted workshops. Contact us for more information.

A panel session discussing nanotechnology commercialization was held on Aug. 2, during the “Future of the NNI: A Stakeholder Workshop,” in Washington, DC. The panel discussions were moderated by Matthew Laudon (TechConnect Ventures). The panelists were Leonardo Spanu (Shell), Matthew Hull (Virginia Tech, NanoSafe, Inc.), Alexis Wells Carpenter (AxNano, LLC), and Jennifer Shieh (OSTP). A webcast archive of the panel session is available here.


A webinar on “Nanotechnology-Related Standards: Availability and Applications” was held on July 9, as part of the 2019 NanoEHS Webinar series. The webinar was moderated by Ajit Jillavenkatesa (NIST), and featured presentations by Scott Brown (The Chemours Company) and Katherine Tyner (FDA). The next webinar in the series will be held on Sept. 10. Junfeng (Jim) Zhang (Duke University Global Health Institute) will speak on “Respiratory Effects of Engineered Nanomaterials in Relation to Physiochemical Properties,” and John Howard (NIOSH) will moderate. More details about the NanoEHS webinars are available here.

The 2019 EU-U.S. NanoEHS Communities of Research (CORs) Workshop will be held on Oct. 15–16 in Aix-en-Provence, France. The workshop is organized by the European Commission and the NNCO and co-hosted by the CEREGE (CNRS, AMU) and the Labex SERENADE. You can register for this workshop here.

On Aug. 20, NIOSH released a snapshot of accomplishments and future activities of the Nanotechnology Research Center (NTRC). NTRC conducts research to understand the potential effects on human health of exposure to engineered nanomaterials and develops methods to control or eliminate exposures.


Undergraduates, we encourage you to get involved! Planning for 2019–2020 activities is underway. NextTech is an active and growing network that is building an interdisciplinary community of undergraduate students with a focus on emerging technologies. Recently, in collaboration with the TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo, NextTech organized the 4th annual National Student Leaders Conference. This event connected students with researchers as well as corporate, investment, and policy experts. For more information on NextTech, please contact nanoed@nnco.nano.gov.

K–12 teachers, there is a vast array of classroom-ready nanotechnology resources. The Nano and Emerging Technologies Teacher Network connects K–12 teachers who are using or want to use nanotechnology and other emerging technologies in the classroom. This network facilitates K–12 teachers’ access to resources, including remote-use instrumentation, and helps them share best practices, exchange ideas for activities and examples, and promote local events. For more information about this network, please contact nanoed@nnco.nano.gov. If you are interested in free brochures for your classroom, please contact us.


National Nanotechnology Day 2019 is coming! Now in its fourth year, this series of community-led events and activities helps raise awareness of nanotechnology, how it is currently used in products that enrich our daily lives, and the challenges and opportunities it holds for the future. National Nanotechnology Day is on Oct. 9. What do you plan to do to celebrate National Nanotechnology Day? Let us know by contacting us at NND@nnco.nano.gov.

Join us in celebrating the 15-year anniversary of the authorization of the NNI! Fifteen years ago, on Dec. 3, 2003, the NNI was signed into law with the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act. We are celebrating this anniversary with weekly episodes of Stories from the NNI podcast series. These podcasts are in the form of an interview between NNCO Director Lisa Friedersdorf and an expert from academia, government, or industry who shares his or her perspectives on key research and development advances in nanotechnology. In the most recent podcasts, Lisa interviewed Dan Herr (University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University), Jeff Neaton (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Christina Lomasney (Modumental Inc.), Bill Wilson (Center for Nanoscale Systems at Harvard University), Bob Ehrmann (Penn State University’s Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization), Tina Brower-Thomas (Center for Integrated Quantum Materials at Howard University), Julia Greer (Caltech), Chuck Black (Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory), Saniya LeBlanc (George Washington University), Supratik Guha (Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory), and Brent Segal (Lockheed Martin). New podcasts are released every Monday.


NNCO collaborated with TechConnect on several events for the Conference and Expo, June 17–19, in Boston, MA, including the Student Leaders Conference (see above) and the International Nanotech Association Meeting (organized with NanoCanada). Also, four prominent experts—Brent Segal (Lockheed Martin), Anita Goel (Nanobiosym), Angela Belcher (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Celia Merzbacher (Quantum Economic Development Consortium) —engaged in a panel discussion that highlighted recent nanotechnology advances and the future opportunities, challenges, and societal impacts resulting from nanoscience and nanotechnology.

NNCO Director Lisa Friedersdorf participated in the Advanced Materials Show in Telford, UK, on July 10–11. She presented in and moderated two sessions, “Ready for Industry? From Research to Mass Manufacture” and “Global Regulations and Standards for Nanomaterials,” and participated in several other technical sessions. The issue of nanomaterial safety was raised in the session moderated by the Executive Director of the Graphene Council, providing an opportunity to highlight the efforts of NNI agencies and research by the nanoEHS community. Other topics discussed throughout the meeting included commercialization, access to insurance, and support for the innovation ecosystem. Friedersdorf also presented an overview of the NNI and mechanisms to support small businesses at the NanoForum that was part of the International Vacuum Congress (IVC21) in Malmo, Sweden, on July 4. The event, organized by SwedNano, focused on the support for start-up companies and included case studies from the CEOs of two U.S. companies. Other presenters included investors active in Europe and the United States and academic representatives from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory in Portugal, and Lund University.

NNCO Deputy Director, Stacey Standridge, moderated the Tiny Solutions to Big Problems: Water Sustainability through Nanotechnology session on Aug. 25 at the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting in San Diego, CA. This session, in support of the Water Sustainability through Nanotechnology Signature Initiative (Water NSI), included technical presentations on nanotechnology applications in water treatment, delivery, and monitoring. The panel discussion touched on a variety of issues, including the need to take a systems-level view when evaluating new technologies. Standridge also gave a presentation, “Facilitating Collaboration to Advance Nanotechnology-Enabled Wearable and Implantable Sensors: NNI Sensors Signature Initiative“ in the Wearable and Implantable Sensors session to highlight activities and resources available through the Sensors NSI.

NNCO Director Lisa Friedersdorf was pleased to be a guest on Lynn Bergeson’s “All Things Chemical” Podcast, released Aug. 15. During the discussion, Friedersdorf mentioned several resources including the Stories from the NNI podcast series; information for small companies focusing on research and development of nanotechnology-enabled products and services; student and teacher networks; NNI user facilities and R&D centers and networks; and the U.S.-EU Communities of Research.


Sept. 10, 2019, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. ET: Webinar
Respiratory Effects of Engineered Nanomaterials in Relation to Physiochemical Properties

Sept. 24–26, 2019: Lago Maggiore, Italy
Global Summit on Regulatory Science 2019: Nanotechnology and Nanoplastics

Oct. 2, 2019, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. ET: Webinar
Nanotechnology for the New Generation of Gas Sensors: Industrial Perspective on Fundamental, Applied, and Commercialization Aspects

Oct. 8, 2019, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. ET: Webinar
Key Findings on Consumer and Workplace Exposure to Engineered Nanomaterials

Oct. 15–16, 2019: Aix-en-Provence, France
EU-U.S. NanoEHS Communities of Research (CORs) Workshop

Nov. 7–9, 2019: San Diego, CA
Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization Conference

Nov. 12, 2019, 11 p.m. – 12 p.m. ET: Webinar
Global Harmonization of Nanoinformatics: A Case Study in Convergence and Team Science

Nov. 15–17, 2019: Tampa, FL
NanoFlorida International Conference

Dec. 10–12, 2019: San Diego, CA
Sensors Global Summit

www.nano.gov | info@nnco.nano.gov

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