Press Releases: Research Funded by Agencies Participating in the National Nanotechnology Initiative

(Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy)

Materials scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have shuffled layered compounds together, much like combining two different decks of cards. The technique can generate thermally stable three-dimensional heterostructures from layered transition metal dichalcogenides. These are van der Waals materials composed of metal nanolayers sandwiched between two other layers of chalcogens—sulfur, selenium, or tellurium. Similar to graphite, these compounds can be exfoliated into 2D layers, which display unique electron transport properties and quantum phenomena.

(Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health)

Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Columbia University, and Van Andel Institute have developed a platform for assembling nanosized material components, or "nano-objects," of very different types—inorganic or organic—into desired 3-D structures. Synthetic DNA frames were engineered in the shape of a cube, octahedron, and tetrahedron. Inside the frames are DNA "arms" that only nano-objects with the complementary DNA sequence can bind to. These material voxels—the integration of the DNA frame and nano-object—are the building blocks from which macroscale 3-D structures can be made.