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.
  • February 10, 2020
    (Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers have found that a material shaped like a one-dimensional DNA helix, encapsulated in a nanotube made of boron nitride, helps build a field-effect transistor with a diameter of two nanometers. Transistors on the market are made of bulkier silicon and range between 10 and 20 nanometers in scale. The work was performed by engineers at Purdue University in collaboration with Michigan Technological University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Texas at Dallas.

  • February 07, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Chemical engineers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have demonstrated how to make the conversion process from carbon dioxide to methanol more efficient by using a highly effective separation membrane they produced. The membrane contains small pores — known as water-conduction nanochannels — that can carefully and quickly let water go through them without losing gas molecules. This breakthrough, the researchers said, could improve a number of industry processes that depend on chemical reactions where water is a byproduct.

  • February 07, 2020
    (Funded by the Department of Defense)

    Researchers at Florida Atlantic University are using advanced polymers and carbon nanotubes to improve the performance of military body armor. The researchers plan to improve the properties of fibers used in body armor to absorb ballistic energy and dissipate it as quickly as possible when a projectile strikes. 

  • February 07, 2020
    (Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)

    A team of researchers led by Rutgers University has developed a gold nanoparticle-based tool to monitor influenza A virus mutations in real time, which could help virologists learn how to stop viruses from replicating. It is the first time in virology that experts have used imaging tools with gold nanoparticles to monitor mutations in influenza with unparalleled sensitivity.

  • February 07, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Research Office, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology)

    Stacking ultrathin complex oxide single-crystal layers allows researchers to create new structures with hybrid properties and multiple functions. Now, using a new platform developed by engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers will be able to make these stacked-crystal materials in virtually unlimited combinations. The engineers combined their expertise to create ultrathin complex oxide single-crystal layers by using graphene as the peel-away intermediate.

  • February 04, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Army Research Office)

    Researchers at the University of Rochester have demonstrated that using powerful femto-second laser pulses to etch metal surfaces with nanoscale structures could help create highly efficient solar power generators. The researchers found that tungsten, which is commonly used as a thermal solar absorber, has the highest solar absorption efficiency when treated with the new nanoscale structures.

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

    Researchers at the University of Michigan have proven the viability of a 3-D camera that can provide high-quality 3-D imaging while determining how far away objects are from the lens. This information is critical for 3-D biological imaging, robotics, and autonomous driving. Instead of using opaque photodetectors traditionally used in cameras, the proposed camera uses a stack of transparent photodetectors made from graphene to simultaneously capture and focus in on objects that are at different distances from the camera lens.

  • February 03, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation)

    New research by engineers at MIT, the University of Central Florida, the University of Texas at Austin, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University could lead to batteries that can pack more power per pound and last longer, based on the long-sought goal of using pure lithium metal as one of the battery's two electrodes, the anode. To form the anode, the researchers developed a three-dimensional nanoarchitecture in the form of a honeycomb-like array of hexagonal tubes, partially infused with solid lithium metal. The hexagonal tubes are about 100 to 300 nanometers in diameter and tens of microns in height.

  • January 31, 2020
    (Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy)

    This article is an interview with Ashwin Shahani, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Michigan, whose research has revealed that an intricate and beautiful set of nanoscale rods, sheets, and spirals forms spontaneously in cooling metal alloys. His research could lead to a new generation of lightweight alloys and optical products with properties superior to monolithic materials.

  • January 30, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology)

    Researchers have, for the first time, created and imaged a novel pair of quantum dots – tiny islands (100 nanometers in diameter) of confined electric charge that act like artificial atoms. Such a ''coupled'' quantum dot could serve as a robust quantum bit, or qubit, the fundamental unit of information for a quantum computer.