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 26, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology have developed a new method to improve the detection ability of nanoscale chemical imaging using atomic force microscopy. These improvements reduce the noise that is associated with the microscope, increasing the precision and range of samples that can be studied.

  • June 26, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    In recent years, researchers have shown that boron can make interesting nanostructures, including two-dimensional borophene and a buckyball-like hollow cage structure called borospherene. Now, researchers from Brown University and Tsinghua University have added another boron nanostructure to the list. They have shown that clusters of 18 boron atoms and three atoms of lanthanide elements form a cage-like structure unlike anything they have ever seen.

  • June 25, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    A research team led by the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has used a simple process to implant atoms precisely into the top layers of ultra-thin crystals, yielding two-sided structures with different chemical compositions. The resulting materials, known as Janus structures, may prove useful in developing energy and information technologies.

  • June 24, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

    Scientists at Michigan State University have designed and fabricated a remote forest-fire detection and alarm system powered by the movement of trees in the wind. The device generates electrical power by harvesting energy from the sporadic movement of the tree branches from which it hangs. It consists of two cylindrical sleeves that fit within one another. As the two sleeves move out of sync, the intermittent loss of contact generates electricity, and the device stores its sporadically generated electrical current in a carbon-nanotube-based micro supercapacitor.

  • June 23, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation)

    An international research team with scientists from Columbia University, the Center for Computational Quantum Physics at the Flatiron Institute (both in the United States), the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, RWTH Aachen University (both in Germany), and the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan has discovered that twisting two layers of an atomically thin material made of tungsten diselenide enables the realization of exotic correlated phenomena – including high-temperature superconductivity and correlated insulators – in a controlled manner and without the geometrical restriction found in twisted bilayer graphene.

  • June 23, 2020
    (Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the U.S. Department of Defense)

    Researchers from Rice University, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Princeton University have created a light-powered catalytic nanoparticle that can break the strong chemical bonds in fluorocarbons, a group of synthetic materials that includes persistent environmental pollutants. The nanoparticles, which are tiny spheres of aluminum dotted with specks of palladium, break carbon-fluorine bonds via a catalytic process in which a fluorine atom is replaced by an atom of hydrogen.

  • June 23, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Trace amounts of contaminants – such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and perfluorooctanoic acid – in drinking water sources have posed significant health risks to humans in recent years. Certain chemical processes that typically involve ozone, hydrogen peroxide, or ultraviolet light have proven effective at removing them, but these processes can be expensive and energy-intensive. Nanoparticles created by engineers at Yale University and Rice University could lead to technologies that get around those limitations.

  • June 18, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation)

    A team of researchers at Brown University has found a way to increase the toughness of a ceramic material used to make solid-state lithium ion batteries. Ceramics are highly brittle materials that can fracture during the manufacturing process and during use. The researchers showed that infusing a ceramic with graphene doubled the material's fracture toughness compared to the ceramic alone.

  • June 18, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health)

    One of the largest problems with cancer treatment is the development of resistance to anticancer therapies. A research team has found that a commonly used chemotherapy drug may be repurposed as a treatment for resurgent or chemotherapy-resistant leukemia. The researchers developed a nanoparticle that allowed doxorubicin, a commonly used chemotherapy drug, to be injected safely and released sustainably over time.  Because of its rate of drug release, the patented nanoparticle was more effective than both a solution of the pure drug and the only commercially available version of a nanoparticle carrying doxorubicin.

  • June 17, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Scientists at the University of California, Riverside have created a new film made of gold nanoparticles that changes color in response to movement. This new film could coat the surface of any object just as easily as applying spray paint on a house, and its unprecedented qualities could allow robots to mimic chameleons and octopuses.