RTNN Researchers Headline RTP180 Event

Last week, three RTNN faculty members highlighted the monthly RTP 180° event: Tori Miller (NC State), Daphne Klotsa (UNC), and Claudia Gunsch (Duke). RTP 180° is held at The Frontier and features people from triangle universities, local companies, and the community at-large who take the stage to speak passionately about what matters to them. Drs. Miller, Klotsa, and Gunsch related their work in nano to a packed house. Dr. Klotsa kicked off the evening, highlighting her work in modeling nanoparticle packing. Dr. Gunsch emphasized the importance in studying the unintended effects of silver nanoparticles in the environment. Dr. Miller closed the evening talks, giving an overview of her work in metallurgy.

If you missed the opportunity to see the event live, you can see a recording of the event here.


RTNN hosts XRD Symposium

Malvern PANalytical and the RTNN hosted a “Non-ambient X-ray Diffraction (XRD)” workshop at NC State November 8-9. The event brought together 48 attendees from 17 different universities and organizations to explore the research potential of non-ambient diffraction and practical advice for collecting accurate and useful data. On the evening of November 8, attendees learned more about on-going research during a poster session.

The picture shows Dr. Tom Blanton, the executive director of International Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD), presenting his work on ‘Materials Characterization using the ICDD  PDF-4+’.

Researchers meet at the Carolina Science Symposium

On November 10, the Carolina Science Symposium (CSS) was held at NC State’s McKimmon Center. This event brought together over one hundred people from universities, non-profits, and industry. Attendees learned about ongoing work in diverse scientific disciplines in a series of talks and a student poster session. Dr. Yong Zhang from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte opened the symposium. He discussed his work in light effect transistors for high speed and low energy switching. Dr. Jacqueline Cole (UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering) highlighted her research in the role of vascular structure and perfusion in bone mechanics and health. Ian Haehnlein from Starfire Industries described the technique of high power impulse magnetron sputtering and its capabilities. Dr. Michael Daniele (NC State Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) talked about his work in wearable biosensors and bioelectronic systems. These invited speakers were joined by students from across North Carolina: Islam Sayed (NC State), Michael Dryzer (Elon University), Ryan Fox (UNC), and Manish Sharma (North Carolina A&T State University).

Over $2,000 was awarded in prizes. Winners for best student oral presentations were  Ryan Fox and Islam Sayed. Awardees for best poster included Michael Spencer, Zhihui Cheng, Tasso von Windheim, and Ashish Kapoor. Hanhan Zhou took home the Hans Stadelmaier Award. The AIF Best Paper awards went to Kate Marusak and Nathalia Ortiz.

A photo contest was held in honor of Mike Rigsbee. Tasso von Windheim won for the black and white image, “Happy Accidents,” depicting molybdenum oxide crystals formed using a microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition process (left). Sahil Tahiliani won in the color competition with the image, “Blood Trapped in a Vessel,” showing blood cells (false colored red) in a vessel within a lung tissue section from a mouse exposed to ceria nanoparticles (right).

This annual event occurs each November. If you are interested in learning more or hearing about upcoming events, please contact rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu.

“Small Talk” Live Q&A on National Nanotechnology Day

National Nanotechnology Day will be held on October 9, 2017.  In the spirit of the day, RTNN will host two live nano Q&A sessions online on October 10th. Prior to the event, submit questions here. During the live sessions, email questions to rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu or post questions via Facebook and Twitter (@RTNNsocial). More details regarding these events can be found here.

The National Nanotechnology Coordinating Office (NNCO) is spearheading the celebration, which includes a variety of community-led events and activities to raise awareness of the significance and importance of nanotechnology. Visit the NNCO website to learn about nano themed events occurring across the country.

RTNN researchers create first flexible memory device

Researchers at NC State were able to deposit an ultra-thin oxide ferroelectric film onto a flexible polymer substrate for the first time. The team uses the flexible films to make non-volatile memory devices that are wearable and resilient. Ferroelectric materials can store charge, which is an ideal property for non-volatile memory devices. However, ferroelectric materials tend to be brittle and are typically made at high temperatures, which would destroy most polymers. Researchers were able to grow an extremely thin film of hafnia (20-50 nm) onto plastic substrates at low temperatures. The resulting prototype remained stable and flexible during testing and can be used in numerous applications from defense to space.

A press release can be found here.

Flexible Inorganic Ferroelectric Thin Films for Non-Volatile Memory Devices

Authors: Hyeonggeun Yu, Ching-Chang Chung, Nate Shewmon, Szuheng Ho, Joshua H. Carpenter, Ryan Larrabee, Tianlei Sun, Jacob L. Jones, Harald Ade, Brendan T. O’Connor, and Franky So, North Carolina State University

Published: April 12, 2017 in Advanced Functional Materials

Abstract: Next-generation wearable electronics calls for flexible non-volatile devices for ubiquitous data storage. Thus far, only organic ferroelectric materials have shown intrinsic flexibility and processibility on plastic substrates. Here, we discovered that by controlling the heating rate, ferroelectric hafnia films can be grown on plastic substrates. The resulting highly flexible capacitor with a film thickness of 30 nm yielded a remnant polarization of 10 μC cm-2. Bending test shows that the film ferroelectricity can be retained under a bending radius below 8 mm with bending cycle up to 1,000 times. The excellent flexibility is due to the extremely thin hafnia film thickness. Using the ferroelectric film as a gate insulator, a low voltage non-volatile vertical organic transistor was demonstrated on a plastic substrate with an extrapolated date retention time up to 10 years.

Scientific Art Competition – Submit your image!

The Chapel Hill Analytical and Nanofabrication Laboratory (CHANL) is hosting its 9th annual Scientific Art Competition! The Scientific Art Competition provides an opportunity to showcase scientific data with artistic appeal. The deadline for submission is March 31, 2017. Submissions should be sent to Dr. Amar Kumbhar (akumbha@gmail.com) along with a submission form.  Anyone can submit to the CHANL scientific art competition, and the work does not need to be produced on CHANL equipment.

This year there will be twelve CASH prizes!
1)  Artist’s Choice: 1st Place: $ 50.00, and 3 finalists: $20.00 each
2)  People’s Choice: 1st Place: $ 50.00, and 3 finalists: $20.00 each
3)  Students’ Choice: 1st Place: $ 50.00, and 3 finalists: $20.00 each

Winners will be announced the week of April 23 at a lunch reception and the CHANL MRS seminar.

Please contact rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu with questions or concerns.



RTNN Faculty Team Wins GRIP Award!

Led by RTNN director Dr. Jacob Jones, a team of researchers from NC State, UNC-CH, Duke, and RTI has been announced as a GRIP (Game-Changing Research Initiative Program) awardee for their project “Water Sustainability through Nanotechnology: Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the Solid-Water Interface.” Water is a fundamental requirement for life. However, universal access to clean water has become a crisis facing society, evidenced by continuing droughts and contaminated water supplies in major population centers. There is an emergent need for innovative, sustainable technologies to improve and maintain worldwide availability and quality of clean water. Development of new materials, membranes, and separation processes are essential to more efficiently create drinking water from salt water (desalination), reclaim clean water from waste and local streams (wastewater and point-of-use treatment), and to recover contaminants of value from water (resource recovery). Engineered nanotechnologies and nanomaterials can be used to uniquely address many emerging challenges in water sustainability due to their high surface area, reactivity, and surface and interfacial phenomena. Empowered by a multi-agency Nanotechnology Signature Initiative released in March 2016, the team will launch an ambitious effort to catalyze several interrelated, game-changing research activities for substantially increasing water availability at lower cost. The effort will position NC State, RTI, and partnering institutions including Duke and UNC-CH as a leading team at the water-nano nexus.

More information about the GRIP and other awardees can be found in the NC State press release and on the GRIP website.

AIF Seeks Applications for Talented Electron Microscopist

The Analytical Instrumentation Facility (AIF) seeks a talented and industrious experimentalist to join our team as an Electron Microscopy Specialist. The AIF is NC State’s primary shared facility for materials characterization with a mission to enable and lead state-of-the-art research through acquisition, development, maintenance, training, and access to major analytical and materials characterization instrumentation. Through the support of engaged faculty and experienced staff, the AIF supports state-of-the-art scanning and transmission electron microscopes, X-ray scattering and spectroscopy instruments, mass spectrometry, scanning probe microscopy, nanoindentation, and extensive sample preparation facilities. The AIF is a core nanotechnology user facility in the new Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (RTNN), a site in the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI).

Primary responsibilities of the new position include training new users (both internal users from NC State and those external to NC State) as well as performing service work for external clients. The ideal candidate will be customer-focused and exhibit a commitment to excellence in all technical and organizational aspects of their role. The new Postdoc will work closely with the AIF and RTNN teams in serving the needs of university, industrial, and government researchers from across NC State, the North Carolina Research Triangle, and the nation.

Please encourage talented applicants to apply:
Full-time staff position: https://jobs.ncsu.edu/postings/76529
Postdoc: https://jobs.ncsu.edu/postings/76522

Image Contest Winner – Yaewon Park

Congratulations to our image contest winner, Yaewon Park, for her entry, CaCO3 mineralized poly(vinyl alcohol) nanofibers.

This picture shows a Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) image of CaCO3 nanoparticle clusters encrusting electrospun poly(vinyl alcohol) nanofibers. This structure resembles bone structure which consists of collagen fibrils and hydroxyapatate crystals attached along them.

My current research is on surface coating of nanofibers with CaCO3 particles by mimicking bone formation process. My research is expected to give a light on environmentally friendly coating of functional textiles and water filtration materials. Nanofibers were dipped in CaCl2 solution and Na2CO3 solution alternatively for 10 times. This image shows that spherical CaCO3 particles surrounded the circumference of nanofibers. This interesting structure is similar to human bone structure.

Honorable Mention Images:
img-2-coral-reefJoshua Zhou: Coral Reef The viewing window of a scanning electron microscope halts before a field of “coral reef”, ordered clusters of vanadium oxide nanorods. Another rod rests on their surface, like a fish seeking shelter from predators. Characterizing the shape of vanadium oxide nanomaterials can account for changes in their thermochromic properties.

This work aimed to form a titanium oxide-vanadium oxide composite doped with magnesium in order to increase the infrared blocking capability of thermochromic films. Efficient thermochromic films can be used in smart windows to block heat-bearing infrared radiation on hot days, while phase-shifting in cold weather to allow warmth in from sunlight. Phase shifts are temperature dependent and rely on no external supply of electricity. This can help reduce air-conditioning bills while maintaining room comfort.

mn3Yanqi Ye: Smart Melanoma Patch Fluorescence imaging of a representative microneedle patch that contained FITC-aPD1 loaded NPs for melanoma treatment. Despite recent advances in melanoma treatment through the use of anti-PD- 1 (aPD1) immunotherapy, the efficacy of this method remains to be improved. Here we report an innovative self-degradable microneedle (MN) patch for the sustained delivery of aPD1 in a physiologically controllable manner. Moreover, this administration strategy can integrate with other immunomodulators (such as anti-CTLA- 4) to achieve combination therapy for enhancing anti-tumor efficacy.



RTNN acquires portable Scanning Electron Microscope

Through collaboration with the Parsons Research Group at NC State, the RTNN now has available a PhenomWorld Desktop SEM. The Phenom SEM allows for very fast microscopic imaging of samples in a compact, portable package – about the size of a desktop computer. The RTNN will use the Desktop SEM in outreach programs, such as bringing instruments to classrooms for demonstrations of instruments used in nanoscience. If you are interested in having the RTNN bring the desktop SEM to your event or school, please contact Phillip Strader (phillip_strader@ncsu.edu) or Maude Cuchiara (maude_cuchiara@ncsu.edu)