Phillip Strader Wins NNCI User Support Award

Our congratulations go out to Phillip Strader for winning an inaugural national award from the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) in the category of User Support!

Phillip is an RTNN project scientist through NC State’s Department of MSE and a lab manager at AIF. His nomination was particularly noteworthy because of his leadership in securing and commissioning new instruments and his thoughtful execution of the RTNN Kickstarter program.

Keep up the good work!

Rigaku SmartLab X-ray Diffractometer coming soon to CHANL

CHANL is thrilled to offer powder and thin film x-ray diffraction with a new Rigaku SmartLab X-ray diffractometer (XRD). This system is capable of grazing angle measurements for measuring diffraction from thin films and possesses an in-plane diffraction arm for measuring crystalline planes perpendicular to the sample surface. Samples with periodicity on length scales up to 100 nm can be characterized with the SAXS unit, and micro area measurements with spot sizes as small as 100 μm are also possible.  Rocking curves, pole figures, and reflectivity measurements are all available with this system, which is also equipped with a HyPix-3000 2D detector. A number of sample stages allowing for sample heating and cooling (-100ºC to 1,000ºC) and environmental control (inert atmosphere, vacuum, reactive gas) are available for interesting in situ measurements. The SmartLab Guidance software makes these measurements easy to implement as it guides users to install the correct optical components, and walks them through the appropriate alignments before measurements begin. Powerful analysis software includes access to the ICDD PDF2 database, allows for Rietveld whole pattern fitting, and 2D pattern analysis.

If you would like additional information about this tool, please email Carrie Donley (cdonley@email.unc.edu).

Researchers Use Gold Nanoparticles to Unfold 3-D Structures

Researchers at NC State have developed a technique that uses nanoparticles, nanospheres and nanorods, to trigger shape changes in polymers. These differently shaped nanoparticles exhibit different surface plasmon resonances and will heat when exposed to specific wavelengths of light. When embedded in polymers, this causes the material to heat and change its shape. This work has the potential for use in soft robotics applications like biomedical implants. For more on this work, please see the NC State press release.

Sequential Actuation of Shape-Memory Polymers through Wavelength-Selective Photothermal Heating of Gold Nanospheres and Nanorods

Authors: Sumeet R. Mishra and Joseph B. Tracy, North Carolina State University

Published: June 15, Applied Nano Materials

DOI: 10.1021/acsanm.8b00394

Abstract: Photothermal triggering of shape-memory polymers is an appealing noncontact mode of actuation for responsive materials and soft robotics. Wavelength-selective photothermal triggering of shape recovery is reported in thermoplastic polyurethane shape-memory polymers with embedded gold (Au) nanospheres and nanorods. Light-emitting diodes with wavelengths of 530 and 860 nm matched to the surface plasmon resonances drive selective shape recovery. Wavelength-selective shape recovery enables sequential actuation, as demonstrated in a wavelength-controlled stage with optically controlled height and tilt angle using legs of shape-memory-polymer films with embedded Au nanospheres and nanorods.

 

Looking inside 18th Century Ivory Mannequins

Duke’s Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMIF) is working with conservationists at Rubenstein Library to carefully image anatomical models that have been housed behind glass since the 1950s. Once the original has been scanned, researchers use a 3D printer to create a plastic replica. The model can be handled to prevent damage to the original. To learn more, visit the recent news feature or watch the video describing the process.

Girls STEM Day @ Duke Fuels the STEM Pipeline

On Saturday, May 19th, Girl Scouts and their families traveled to Duke University to learn from and work with over 100 women in STEM careers across the Triangle. Girl Scouts earned badges in digital photography, forensics, and robotics through a variety of different activities including use of SMIF’s scanning electron microscope. In a parallel parents forum, female STEM professionals, high school college counselors and university admissions counselors engaged parents and troop leaders in interactive panel discussions. To learn more about the event and see more photos, read Duke’s News Release.

Participants earning the digital photography badge were charged with imaging samples that they collected with both light and electron microscopes. These ranged from a flower petal (below image top) to a bagel (below image bottom).