“Nanotechnology, A Maker’s Course” Launches on Coursera

RTNN faculty, staff, and students have launched a free online course on nano-fabrication and -characterization tools and techniques. Through instruction and lab demonstrations, this course gives students a rich understanding of the capabilities of nanotechnology tools, and how to use this equipment for nano-scale fabrication and characterization. Students will learn the fundamentals through engaging video lectures and exciting demonstrations in RTNN facilities. To learn more and enroll in the course, visit the course homepage. We also invite you to participate in our live Q&A sessions on October 10th! Experts will answer your questions on nano -fabrication and -characterization.

National Nanotechnology Day

National Nanotechnology Day will be held on October 9, 2017. 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. In the spirit of the day, RTNN will host two online nano Q&A sessions on October 10th. More details regarding these events can be found here.

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)


National Nanotechnology Day

National Nanotechnology Day will be held on October 9, 2016. Several events have been scheduled in celebration. More details regarding these events can be found here.

Nanofibers, Applications and Related Technologies conference concludes

The 2016 Nanofibers, Applications and Related Technologies (NART) conference concluded last week in Raleigh, NC. The conference included many exciting speakers and topics in the realm of textile nanoscience sponsored and organized by the Nonwovens Institute (NWI) and the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA).

The National Nanotechnology Initiative was well represented during the conference. Mike Meador (Director, National Nanotechnology Coordination Office) gave a keynote presentation on the opening day on the current and future state of nanotechnology.  The Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (RTNN) organized and hosted a session titled Analytical and Characterization of Nano Materials – featuring topics on analytical methods applied to textile materials by staff from RTNN facilities (Analytical Instrumentation Facility, NCSU), as well as faculty from N.C. State University and the Technical University of Liberec.

For more information on NART, please visit the conference website: www.nartconference.org