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

(Funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy)

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Georgia Tech, Texas A&M University, the University of California Los Angeles, Rice University, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories have 3D printed a dual-phase, nanostructured high-entropy alloy that exceeds the strength and ductility of other state-of-the-art additively manufactured materials. High-entropy alloys are composed of five or more elements in near-equal proportions and offer the ability to create a near-infinite number of unique combinations for alloy design.

(Funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Institutes of Health)

Scientists from the University of Virginia, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and South China University of Technology in Guangzhou have used DNA to perform astonishingly precise structural engineering – construction at the level of individual molecules. The result was a lattice of carbon nanotubes that could be used to create a room-temperature superconductor.

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

Using biomimetic proteins patterned on squid ring teeth, researchers at Penn State and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have created composite layered 2D materials that are resistant to breaking and are extremely stretchable. The materials can also have unique thermal conduction regimes, spreading heat in one direction more strongly than at 90 degrees. These 2D composites could be used for flexible circuit boards, wearable devices, and other equipment that requires strength and flexibility.

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

For decades, a textbook process known as "Ostwald ripening" has guided the design of new materials including nanoparticles. According to this theory, small particles dissolve and redeposit onto the surface of large particles, and the large particles continue to grow until all of the small particles have dissolved. But now, new video footage captured by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore reveals that nanoparticle growth is directed not by difference in size but by defects.

(Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Washington University in St. Louis, and OmniVision Technologies, Inc., highlight the latest nanostructured components integrated on image sensor chips that are most likely to make the biggest impact in multimodal imaging. The researchers describe a promising approach to detect multiple-band spectra by fabricating an on-chip spectrometer. These developments could enable autonomous vehicles to see around corners instead of just a straight line, biomedical imaging to detect abnormalities at different tissue depths, and telescopes to see through interstellar dust.

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

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have used neutron scattering to determine whether a specific material's atomic structure could host a novel state of matter, called a spiral spin liquid. By tracking tiny magnetic moments, known as "spins," on the honeycomb lattice of a layered iron trichloride magnet, the team found the first 2D system to host a spiral spin liquid. The discovery provides a test bed for future studies of physics phenomena that may drive next-generation information technologies.

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

By using a suite of advanced spectroscopic tools, scientists at MIT, Harvard University, and The University of Texas at Austin have, for the first time, captured snapshots of a light-induced metastable phase hidden from equilibrium. By using single-shot spectroscopy techniques on a 2D crystal with nanoscale modulations of electron density, they were able to view this phase transition in real-time. 

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

A team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames National Laboratory, Iowa State University, and the University at Buffalo has developed an antimicrobial spray that deposits a layer of nanowires onto high-touch surfaces in public spaces. The spray contains copper nanowires or copper-zinc nanowires and can form an antimicrobial coating on a variety of surfaces.

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

An interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has developed a new process that could limit the proliferation of toxins from implants into a patient's bloodstream. A major challenge of developing nanoparticle-modified biomedical implant material is to attach metallic nanoparticles on different surfaces, because these nanoparticles tend to detach from the implant surfaces and end up in a patient’s bloodstream. To address this issue, the researchers anchored silver nanoparticles on the surface of 3D-printed polymers without any rapid release into the surroundings.

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

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and Massachusetts General Hospital have analyzed the interactions between 35 different types of nanoparticles and nearly 500 types of cancer cells, revealing thousands of biological traits that influence whether those cells take up different types of nanoparticles. The findings could help researchers better tailor their drug-delivery nanoparticles to specific types of cancer, or design new nanoparticles that take advantage of the biological features of particular types of cancer cells.