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

The following press releases describe the results of research activities that are funded by Federal agencies that participate in the National Nanotechnology Initiative.
  • April 16, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology)

    Researchers have explored in unprecedented detail catalysts that allow some chemical reactions, which normally require high heat, to proceed at room temperature. The energy-saving catalysts use sunlight to excite localized surface plasmons – oscillations of groups of electrons on the surface of certain metal nanoparticles.

  • April 15, 2019
    (Funded by the Office of Naval Research)

    Researchers have proposed and demonstrated a phonon laser using an optically levitated nanoparticle. A phonon is a quantum of energy associated with a sound wave. The researchers studied the mechanical vibrations of the nanoparticle, which was levitated against gravity by the force of radiation at the focus of an optical laser beam.

  • April 12, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

    Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have developed and patented the fabrication of a transparent, luminescent material they say could give smartphone and television screens flexible, stretchable, and shatterproof properties. 

  • April 11, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Engineers have developed a novel fabrication method to create dyed threads that change color when they detect a variety of gases. The researchers demonstrated that the threads can be read visually or by use of a smartphone camera to detect changes of color due to analytes as low as 50 parts per million. These gas-detecting threads could be used in medical, workplace, military, and rescue environments.

  • April 11, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Researchers have converted metallic gold into a two-dimensional semiconductor and customized the material atom-by-atom on boron nitride nanotubes. Two-dimensional semiconductors are promising materials for quantum computing, future electronics, and optical devices.

  • April 10, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Engineers have used “deep learning” techniques to speed up simulations of novel two-dimensional materials and to gain a better understanding of their characteristics and how they are affected by high temperature and radiation.

  • April 09, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy)

    A lithium battery can catch fire because of the high temperatures and rapid charging and discharging, or cycling, in the battery. These conditions can cause the cathode inside the battery to decompose and release oxygen, which can cause spontaneous combustion in the battery. Researchers have discovered that when they wrapped small particles of the lithium cobalt oxide cathode of a lithium battery in graphene, the battery’s loss in capacity was of about 14% after rapid cycling, compared to a loss in capacity of about 45% in a conventional lithium metal battery.


  • April 08, 2019
    (Funded by the Office of Naval Research)

    A team of engineers has developed a series of 3D-printed metamaterials with unique microwave and optical properties that go beyond what is possible using conventional optical or electronic materials. The fabrication methods developed by the researchers demonstrate the potential of 3D printing to expand the range of geometric designs and material composites that lead to devices with novel optical properties.

  • April 05, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    Scientists have started the first clinical trial of an innovative universal influenza vaccine candidate that uses nanoparticles. The clinical trial is examining the vaccine’s safety and tolerability as well as its ability to induce an immune response in healthy volunteers.

  • April 04, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Researchers have created a “metallic wood” that is as strong as titanium but light enough to float in water. Right now, they can only produce a small amount of the metallic wood at a time, but if they can find a way to scale up the manufacturing process, the material could lead to highly durable smartphones and lighter cars.