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.
  • March 10, 2020
    (Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at Stanford University have created an inverse design codebase that can help researchers explore different design methodologies to find optical and nanophotonic structures. This codebase has been used internally by the group to design an assortment of devices, and the group is making it available for other researchers to use.

  • March 09, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Researchers at Penn State, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed an atomically thin materials platform that will open a wide range of new applications in biomolecular sensing, quantum phenomena, catalysis, and nonlinear optics. If you were to combine a metal with other 2D materials via traditional synthesis processes, the chemical reactions during synthesis would ruin the properties of both the metal and layered material. To avoid these reactions, the team exploited a method that automatically caps the 2D metal with a single layer of graphene while creating the 2D metal.

  • March 09, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have designed and synthesized chains of molecules with a precise sequence and length to efficiently protect 3-D DNA nanostructures from structural degradation under a variety of biomedically relevant conditions. They demonstrated how these "peptoid-coated DNA origami" have the potential to be used for delivering anti-cancer drugs and proteins, imaging biological molecules, and targeting cell-surface receptors implicated in cancer.

  • March 09, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Ultrathin carbon nanotube crystals could have wondrous uses, like converting waste heat into electricity with near-perfect efficiency, and Rice University engineers have taken a big step toward that goal. They turned a mob of unruly nanotubes into a well-ordered collective. Of their own accord, and by the billions, nanotubes were willingly lying down side by side, like dry spaghetti in a box. But the reason for that behavior has not been revealed – until now: Tiny parallel grooves in the filter paper — an artifact of the paper’s production process — cause the nanotube alignment.

  • March 06, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology)

    Researchers at NIST have devised a way to eliminate a long-standing problem affecting our understanding of both living cells and batteries. When a solid and an electrically conducting liquid come into contact, a thin sheet of charge forms between them. Although this interface, known as the electrical double layer (EDL), is only a few atoms thick, it plays a central role in a wide range of systems, such as keeping living cells nourished and maintaining the operation of batteries, fuel cells, and certain types of capacitors. The NIST researchers have now mapped variations in voltage across a sheet of EDL with nanoscale precision by using a thin membrane of graphene.

  • March 06, 2020
    (Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at the City University of New York and Northwestern University have created a 4-D printer that can construct precisely designed nanopatterned surfaces that are decorated with delicate organic or biological molecules. The surfaces could be used in drug research, biosensor development, and advanced optics.

  • March 05, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    Researchers from the University of South Australia, McMaster University in Canada, and Texas A&M University have shown that curcumin can be delivered effectively into human cells via nanoparticles. The researchers have shown in animal experiments that nanoparticles containing curcumin not only prevents cognitive deterioration but also reverses the damage. This finding paves the way for clinical development trials for Alzheimer’s disease.

  • March 05, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Scientists at Rice University and collaborators in Taiwan and China have successfully grown atom-thick sheets of hexagonal boron nitride as two-inch diameter crystals across a wafer. Surprisingly, they achieved this long-sought goal of making perfectly ordered crystals of hexagonal boron nitride by taking advantage of disorder among the meandering steps on a copper substrate.

  • March 05, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation)

    Ever since graphene's discovery in 2004, scientists have looked for ways to put this 2D material to work. Last year, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory developed a multitasking graphene device that switches from a superconductor, which efficiently conducts electricity, to an insulator, which resists the flow of electric current, and back again to a superconductor. Now, the scientists have tapped into the graphene system's talent for juggling not just two properties, but three: superconducting, insulating, and a type of magnetism called ferromagnetism.

  • March 05, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    Scientists at Rice University, Biola University, and the Texas A&M Health Science Center have demonstrated that molecular nanomachines that spin up to 3 million times per second can target diseased cells and kill them in minutes. The nanomachines could be used to control parasites and treat skin cancer.