Press Releases: Research Funded by Agencies Participating in the National Nanotechnology Initiative

The following news releases describe the results of research activities that are funded by Federal agencies that participate in the National Nanotechnology Initiative.
  • September 11, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health)

    Researchers at the University of Maryland Baltimore County have, for the first time, demonstrated a method of biosynthesizing plasmonic gold nanoparticles within cancer cells, without the need for conventional bench-top lab methods. These nanoparticles generated within the cell can potentially be used in X-ray imaging and in therapy by destroying abnormal tissue or cells.

  • September 11, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Vehicles powered by polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are energy-efficient and eco-friendly, but despite increasing public interest in PEMFC-powered transportation, current performance of materials that are used in fuel cells limits their widespread commercialization. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory led a team to investigate reactions in PEMFCs, and their discoveries informed the design of a nanocatalyst that could bring fuel cells one step closer to realizing their full market potential.

  • September 11, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    Combining their expertise in protein engineering and synthetic DNA technology, scientists at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia have successfully delivered nanoparticle antitumor vaccines that stimulated robust T cell immunity and controlled melanoma growth in preclinical models. The vaccines, which displayed 60 copies of protein parts derived from melanoma-specific antigens, were tested in mouse models of melanoma and resulted in prolonged survival that depended on T cell activation.

  • September 11, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Researchers at Texas A&M University have created a novel plant-based energy storage device that could charge devices — even electric cars — within a few minutes. Supercapacitors have an internal architecture that is similar to basic capacitors. Both devices store charge on metal plates or electrodes. For their work, the researchers were attracted to manganese dioxide nanoparticles for designing one of the two supercapacitor electrodes.

  • September 09, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology)

    By shining white light on a glass slide stippled with millions of tiny titanium dioxide nanopillars, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and collaborators have reproduced with astonishing fidelity the luminous hues and subtle shadings of "Girl With a Pearl Earring," Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer's masterpiece. The approach has potential applications in improving optical communications and making currency harder to counterfeit.

  • September 03, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Defense)

    Researchers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base have developed a novel process for manufacturing a type of material called preceramic polymer-grafted nanoparticles, or "hairy nanoparticles." A hairy nanoparticle is a hybrid material consisting of a polymer shell bound to a solid nanoparticle core. Although hairy nanoparticles have been around for many years, what makes this one different is the type of polymer being attached to the core particle. These hairy nanoparticles will be used in the manufacture of aircraft parts made of ceramic composite materials.

  • September 01, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered a cost-effective way to significantly improve the mechanical performance of common polymer nanocomposite materials. The discovery could lead to stronger, more durable materials for applications ranging from biomedical devices to automobile tires.

  • September 01, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at Vanderbilt University have developed the first-ever optical nanotweezers that can trap and manipulate nanometer-scale objects. The nanotweezers can also sort objects based on their size, an approach that is important when looking for extracellular vesicles secreted by cells that can cause cancers to metastasize. Other applications of the nanotweezers include detecting pathogens and researching proteins that contribute to conditions associated with neurodegenerative diseases.

  • September 01, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Using a device small enough to fit on the head of a pin, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have gained new knowledge about the properties of polymer fibers at the nanoscale. This knowledge could inform the design and manufacture of products made up of random networks of filaments, such as robust filters designed to block foreign particles from entering our lungs.

  • September 01, 2020
    (Funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

    Scientists at Clemson University have developed a new type of battery electrode made of silicon that can store more energy than traditional graphite electrodes in lithium-ion batteries. The new electrode uses layers of a carbon nanotube material, called Buckypaper, with silicon nanoparticles sandwiched between them.