News 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.
  • December 02, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Riverside have found a way to transfer energy between silicon and organic, carbon-based molecules—a breakthrough that has implications for information storage in quantum computing, solar energy conversion, and medical imaging. The discovery provides a way to boost silicon's efficiency by pairing it with a carbon-based material that converts blue photons into pairs of red photons that can be more efficiently used by silicon.

  • November 25, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation)

    By folding snippets of DNA into the shape of a five-pointed star using structural DNA nanotechnology, researchers have created a trap that captures Dengue virus as it floats in the bloodstream. Once sprung, the trap—which is non-toxic and is naturally cleared from the body—lights up. It's the most sensitive test for the mosquito-borne diseases yet devised.

  • November 25, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)

    Scientists at Cornell University have used magnets to design self-assembling systems that could be created in nanoscale form. The researchers made centimeter-sized acrylic panels, each containing four tiny magnets in a square pattern. To activate the self-assembly, the magnets were scattered on a shaker table, with the table’s vibrations preventing the magnets from forming bonds. As the shaking amplitude was decreased, the magnets attached in their designated order and formed the target structures. While nanoscale machines and self-assembling systems are not new, this project marks the first time the two concepts have been combined with magnetic encoding.

  • November 25, 2019
    (Funded by the Army Research Laboratory)

    The University of Southern California has partnered with Carbonics, Inc., to develop a carbon nanotube technology that, for the first time, achieved speeds exceeding 100 gigahertz in radio frequency applications. The milestone eclipses the performance of traditional Radio Frequency Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (RF-CMOS) technology, which is ubiquitous in modern consumer electronics, including cell phones.

  • November 22, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation)

    Scientists at Columbia University have demonstrated a new way to tune the properties of two-dimensional materials simply by adjusting the twist angle between them. The researchers built devices consisting of monolayer graphene encapsulated between two crystals of boron nitride and, by adjusting the relative twist angle between the layers, they were able to create multiple moiré patterns. Moiré patterns are of high interest to condensed matter physicists and materials scientists, who use them to change or generate new electronic material properties.

  • November 22, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)

    Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have made one of the highest-performance cameras ever. The camera is composed of sensors made from superconducting nanowires, which can detect single photons, or particles of light. With more than 1,000 sensors, or pixels, the camera may be useful in future space-based telescopes searching for chemical signs of life on other planets, and in new instruments designed to search for the elusive “dark matter” believed to constitute most of the “stuff” in the universe.

  • November 22, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy)

    This article reviews an article published in the journal Science that presents a comprehensive analysis of two decades of energy storage research involving nanomaterials. The article’s authors lay out a roadmap for how this technology can enable the world's urgent shift toward better energy storage devices and sustainability.

  • November 20, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation)

    Scientists from Stony Brook University have developed a new approach for making metal-metal composites and porous metals with a 3-D interconnected “bicontinuous” structure in thin films at size scales ranging from tens of nanometers to microns. Metallic materials with this sponge-like morphology could be useful in catalysis, energy generation and storage, and biomedical sensing.

  • November 20, 2019
    (Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)

    Researchers at Purdue University have engineered ceramic "nanotubes" that behave as thermal antennas, offering control over the spectrum and direction of high-temperature heat radiation. The work is part of a larger search in the field for a wide range of materials that can withstand higher temperatures.

  • November 19, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    A scientific team from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Vanderbilt University has made the first experimental observation of a material phase that had been predicted but never seen. The newly discovered phase couples with a known phase to enable unique control over material properties - an advance that paves the way to eventual manipulation of electrical conduction in two-dimensional materials such as graphene.