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.
  • January 28, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research)

    To further shrink electronic devices and to lower energy consumption, the semiconductor industry is interested in using 2D materials, but manufacturers need a quick and accurate method for detecting defects in these materials to determine if the material is suitable for device manufacture. Now a team of researchers representing Penn State, Northeastern University, Rice University, and Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil has developed a technique to quickly and sensitively characterize defects in 2D materials.

  • January 28, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation)

    Scientists from Michigan State University and Stanford University have invented a nanoparticle that eats away – from the inside out – portions of plaques that cause heart attacks. The scientists created a "Trojan Horse" nanoparticle that can be directed to eat debris, thereby reducing and stabilizing plaque. The discovery could be a potential treatment for atherosclerosis – a leading cause of death in the United States.

  • January 27, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Researchers at Rice University have discovered that virtually any source of solid carbon — from food scraps to old car tires — can be turned into graphene, which are sheets of carbon atoms prized for applications ranging from high-strength plastic to flexible electronics. Current techniques yield tiny quantities of picture-perfect graphene; the new method already produces grams per day of near-pristine graphene in the lab, and researchers are now scaling it up to kilograms. The researchers have already founded a startup company to commercialize their waste-to-graphene process.

  • January 24, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy)

    A team of engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has boosted the performance of its previously developed 3D inductor technology by adding as much as three orders of magnitudes more induction to meet the performance demands of modern electronic devices. The researchers filled the already-rolled membranes with an iron oxide nanoparticle solution using a tiny dropper, which allowed the microchip inductors to operate at higher frequency with less performance loss.

  • January 24, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Using straightforward chemistry and a mix-and-match, modular strategy, researchers at Penn State have developed a simple approach that could produce over 65,000 different types of complex nanoparticles, each containing up to six different materials and eight segments, with interfaces that could be exploited in electrical or optical applications. These rod-shaped nanoparticles are about 55 nanometers long and 20 nanometers wide, and many are considered to be among the most complex ever made.

  • January 22, 2020
    (Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Army Research Office, and the Office of Naval Research)

    Researchers at the University of Chicago and the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new method to measure how photocurrents flow in a two-dimensional material— a substance with a thickness of a few nanometers or less. This ultra-sensitive method will help researchers better understand the material in the hopes of using it to create flexible electronics and solar cells.

  • January 22, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    This article profiles Liam Collins, a scientist at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, a user facility at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Collins supports the center’s user program by advancing microscopy techniques that push the limits of observation and enable researchers to study materials and their properties on a nanometer length scale and gain insights that lead to new frontiers in energy, biology, and medicine.

  • January 21, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Scientists at the College of William & Mary’s Department of Applied Science have discovered that the brown recluse spider’s silk, which is stronger than steel, is made up entirely of nanofibrils— strands that are 3,000 times thinner in diameter than a human hair—that are laid in parallel, not twisted like strands of a rope. The scientists have also discovered that the brown recluse spider adds to the strength of the silk by spinning little loops into each strand.

  • January 21, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Chemists at the University of California, Irvine have discovered nanoscale fragments of fungal cells in the atmosphere. The pieces are extremely small, measuring about 30 nanometers in diameter, and are more abundant than previously thought. These bits of fungus are easier to inhale deep into the lungs than intact cells, which means they may contribute to fungus-related allergic reactions and asthma among susceptible people.

  • January 21, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at Penn State have developed a thin, barely visible nanofilm made of light-interactive nanomaterials that can absorb and deflect solar infrared energy, or heat. The researchers are now testing these window-glazing materials to produce dynamic windows that adapt to climate conditions in real-time while reducing total building energy consumption. Also, these windows would maintain clarity and transparency without the visual tradeoffs of tinted or screened windows, increasing the comfort of a building occupant.