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 19, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Solar panels and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) require a cover material that repels water, dirt, and oil while still letting plenty of light through. Researchers have created a flexible optical plastic that has all of those properties, finding inspiration in a surprising place: the shape of Enoki mushrooms.

  • June 19, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    Scientists have used a gene editing method to generate mice that mimic a fatal respiratory disorder in newborn infants that turns their lips and skin blue. The new laboratory animal model allowed researchers to pinpoint the ailment's cause and develop a potential nanoparticle-based treatment.

  • June 19, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Researchers have demonstrated an advanced manufacturing process that produces, in a single step, nanostructured rods and tubes directly from high-performance aluminum alloy powder while also achieving a significant increase in product ductility (how far a material can stretch before it breaks). This is good news for sectors such as the automotive industry, where the high cost of manufacturing has historically limited the use of high-strength aluminum alloys made from powders.

  • June 18, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Atomically thin semiconductors known as transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) could lead to devices that operate more efficiently than conventional semiconductors in light-emitting diodes, lasers, and solar cells. Now scientists have discovered that when they applied an electrical voltage to TMDCs made of molybdenum disulfide and tungsten disulfide, their efficiency increases significantly.

  • June 18, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research)

    Researchers have shown they could boost the efficiency of a nanotechnology-enabled solar membrane desalination system by more than 50% by adding inexpensive plastic lenses to concentrate sunlight into 'hot spots.’ The solar desalination system reduces production costs, and engineers are working to scale it up for applications in remote areas that have no access to electricity.

  • June 17, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers have developed a technology that uses a laser beam to detect and destroy tumor cells in the veins of patients with melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. The research team was able to kill a high percentage of the cancer-spreading cells, in real time, as they raced through the veins of the participants. If developed further, the tool could give doctors a harmless, noninvasive, and thorough way to hunt and destroy cancer cells before those cells can form new tumors in the body.

  • June 13, 2019
    (Funded by the Army Research Office and the National Science Foundation)

    Engineers have developed a simple home medical test consisting of various silicon chips coated in a special film. One chip could detect drugs in the blood, another could detect proteins in the urine indicating infection, and another could detect bacteria in water. The engineers imagine a user picking the bodily fluid to test, taking a picture with a smartphone, and an app would indicate if there is a problem.

  • June 13, 2019
    (Funded by the Army Research Office, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Scientists have found a way to turn graphene into a topological insulator – a material that is an insulator in its interior but is highly conducting on its surface. Realizing a topological insulator in graphene could provide a basis for low-dissipation ballistic electrical circuits or could form the material substrate for topologically protected quantum bits.

  • June 12, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Engineers have devised a way to pattern the surface of a diamond that makes it easier to collect light from the defects inside. Called a metalens, this surface structure contains nanoscale features that bend and focus the light emitted by the defects. This work could enable the creation of a system that would form the basis for compact quantum technologies.

  • June 12, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Researchers have developed a nanostructure that could be used to improve the efficiency with which solar cells harvest energy from the sun. The nanostructure is composed of a light-harvesting protein, semiconducting nanocrystals, and a two-dimensional semiconducting transition metal only one atomic layer thick.