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.
  • June 09, 2020
    (Funded by the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Office and the National Science Foundation)

    In recent years, researchers have found that when certain materials are twisted at specific angles, they can bring out some remarkable properties. Now, a team of researchers has found that when two layers of graphene are twisted at an angle of less than 2 degrees, they have a very strong, and tunable, photoresponse in mid-infrared wavelength range. Compared with regular bilayer graphene that hasn’t been twisted, the photoresponse is more than 20 times stronger.

  • June 09, 2020
    (Funded by the Army Research Office and the National Science Foundation)

    Scientists at Rice University have developed an easy and affordable tool to count and characterize nanoparticles. The scientists created an open-source program to acquire data about nanoparticles from scanning electron microscope images that are otherwise difficult, if not impossible, to analyze.

  • June 08, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have found that using a nanovesicle (a nanotechnology drug-delivery system) that contains a combination of a cell protein and a phospholipid can selectively target pancreatic cancer cells while sparing unaffected cells and tissues. By using both animal models and human cancer cells, the researchers demonstrated that the nanovesicles inhibited tumor growth and could potentially increase survival of pancreatic cancer patients.

  • June 08, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    A team of researchers led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has synthesized a tiny structure with high surface area and discovered how its unique architecture drives ions across interfaces to transport energy or information. The structure, called a nanobrush, contains bristles made of alternating crystal sheets with vertically aligned interfaces and many pores. The nanoscale bristles were made with a novel precision synthesis approach that controls atom diffusion and aggregation during the growth of thin-film materials.

  • June 08, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the National Science Foundation)

    MIT researchers have developed a new way of making large sheets of high-quality, atomically thin graphene, which could lead to ultra-lightweight, flexible solar cells and new classes of light-emitting devices. The new manufacturing process should be relatively easy to scale up for industrial production and involves an intermediate “buffer” layer of material that is key to the technique’s success. The buffer allows the ultrathin graphene sheet to be easily lifted off from its substrate, allowing for rapid roll-to-roll manufacturing.

  • June 04, 2020
    (Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research)

    Researchers from the University of Houston and Texas A&M University have reported a structural supercapacitor electrode made from reduced graphene oxide and aramid nanofiber that is stronger and more versatile than conventional carbon-based electrodes. Reduced graphene oxide and aramid nanofiber have strong electrochemical and mechanical properties. The aramid nanofiber, in particular, offers a mechanical strength that increases the electrode's versatility for a variety of applications, including for the military.

  • June 04, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research)

    Taking inspiration from nature's nanotechnology, a University of Central Florida researcher is creating technology to make extremely low-power, ultra-high-definition displays and screens. Similar to how butterflies, octopuses, parrots, and beetles display color when light is scattered and reflected by nanoscale structures on their bodies, this new technology creates digital displays that are lit by surrounding light – unlike current display technologies, which rely on lights hidden behind screens.

  • June 04, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University at Buffalo have developed a technology called "Artificial Chemist," which incorporates artificial intelligence and an automated system for performing chemical reactions to accelerate research and development and manufacturing of commercially desirable materials. In proof-of-concept experiments, the researchers demonstrated that Artificial Chemist can identify and produce the best possible quantum dots for any color in 15 minutes or less. Quantum dots are colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals that are used in applications such as light-emitting diode (LED) displays.

  • June 03, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have described a new method that could pave the way toward more efficient and versatile light-emitting diode (LED) display and lighting technology. Light in LEDs is generated in a semiconductor material when excited electrons traveling along the semiconductor’s crystal lattice meet holes (an absence of electrons) and transition to a lower state of energy, releasing a photon along the way. Over the course of their measurements, the researchers found that a significant amount of these photons were being generated but were not making it out of the LED. The researchers designed an array of gallium nitride nanorods on a sapphire substrate, in which quantum wells of indium gallium nitride were embedded, to confine electrons and holes and thus emit light.

  • June 03, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    A team of scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and the University of Chicago have explored how the structure and electronic properties of liquid water can be affected by the presence of ions and nanoconfinement (ions and water confined between material surfaces that are nanometers apart). The scientists performed simulations for water inside semiconducting nanotubes with diameters of 1.1 and 1.5 nanometers, respectively, and discovered that due to the nanoconfinement, there are competing effects of broken hydrogen bonds and water–carbon interactions on the molecular polarizability.