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.
  • November 07, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Chemistry researchers at Georgia State University have established a new imaging strategy that can track single molecules as they shimmy through tiny pores in the shells of silica spheres and that can monitor the chemical reaction dynamics on catalytic centers at the core. This discovery has led to the first quantitative measurements of how confinement at the nanoscale speeds up catalytic reactions. Understanding this surprising "nanoconfinement effect" could help guide the precise design of more efficient industrial catalysts that can conserve energy.

  • November 07, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation)

    A team led by scientists from the University of Washington and the University of Notre Dame used recent advances in electron microscopy to observe Fano interferences directly in a pair of metallic nanoparticles. Fano interference means that electrons in atoms move through two types of energy transitions, one discrete and the other continuous, which result in destructive interference through their synchronized mixing.

  • November 07, 2019
    (Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research)

    One of the most significant challenges standing in the way of widespread adoption of electric vehicles and aircraft has to do with mass, because the most current electric vehicle batteries and supercapacitors are incredibly heavy. A research team from the Texas A&M University College of Engineering has created strong and stiff supercapacitor electrodes based on dopamine-functionalized graphene and Kevlar nanofibers, which might enable energy to be stored within the structural body panels of electric vehicles and aircraft and, as a result, make them lighter.

  • November 06, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    For the first time, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have shown how a powerful electron microscope can provide direct insight into the performance of any material by pinpointing specific atomic "neighborhoods." In particular, the scientists made molecular movies showing how the nanostructure of a semiconductor used in organic solar cells changed in response to a common processing additive known to enhance solar cell efficiency.

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

    MIT engineers have shown that they can enhance the performance of drug-delivery nanoparticles by controlling a trait of chemical structures known as chirality—the "handedness" of the structure. The MIT team found that coating nanoparticles with the right-handed form of the amino acid cysteine helped the particles to avoid being destroyed by enzymes in the body. This finding could help researchers to design more effective carriers for drugs to treat cancer.

  • November 04, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a method that could make reproducible manufacturing at the nanoscale possible. The team adapted a light-based technology used widely in biology—known as optical traps or optical tweezers—to build a novel nanowire heterostructure, which is a nanowire consisting of distinct sections comprised of different materials.

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

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have devised a scheme for assembling light-absorbing molecules and water-splitting catalysts on a nanoparticle-coated electrode. The result is the production of hydrogen gas fuel via artificial photosynthesis—a lab-based mimic of the natural process aimed at generating clean energy from sunlight.

  • November 04, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    An international team of researchers has used nanoparticles to deliver a drug into specific compartments of nerve cells, dramatically increasing its ability to treat pain in mice and rats. The drug that the researchers encapsulated into nanoparticles is an FDA-approved drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting that had previously failed clinical trials as a pain medication.

  • October 31, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Researchers have found that nanocrystal formation is key to improving the performance of magnesium-containing rechargeable batteries.

  • October 31, 2019
    (Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Chemists at Northwestern University have used visible light and nanoparticles to quickly and simply make molecules that are of the same class as many lead compounds for drug development. The nanoparticles are known as quantum dots – so small they are only a few nanometers across. But the small size is power, providing the material with attractive optical and electronic properties not possible at greater length scales.