New equipment in the RTNN!

The RTNN has several new tools online with many more scheduled for installation in the coming months. Please contact rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu with any questions regarding technical information or access.

FEI Titan Krios Cryo-Transmission Electron Microscope (Cryo-TEM): This 300 keV instrument offers atomic scale resolution of samples held at cryogenic temperatures and is the most powerful and flexible high-resolution electron microscope for 2D and 3D characterization of biological samples on the market.  Its cryo-based technology and stability allows for single particle analysis and dual-axis cellular tomography of frozen hydrated cell organelles and cells.  The TEM is equipped with a robotic loader, capable of handling up to 12 frozen hydrated samples for increased throughput. Lab renovations are underway for this new Cryo-TEM.

Atomic Force Microscope (AFM): The Asylum AFM includes an MFP-3D head, an XY scanner, and a base. The MFP-3D head offers low noise and precise measurements of the cantilever position for accurate force and topography measurement. The XY-scanner provides flat scans and the ability to accurately zoom and offset with one mouse click. The 3D base offers three configurations for illuminating and viewing samples: top view for opaque samples, bottom view for transparent samples, and dual view for both viewing options.

Raman Microscope: This XploRA PLUS Confocal Raman Microscope includes integrated imaging spectrometer with 4 gratings mounted on motorized turret for full resolution, range and coverage as well as low noise full range CCD detector. It comes with motorized computer controlled 6 position ND filter wheel, confocal pinhole, entrance slit and coupling optics, laser and filter selection. The instrument includes 532 nm and 785 nm Raman excitation laser sources. It offers fast confocal imaging, automated laser wavelength switching. It provides sample identification and chemical imaging on a microscopic scale.

Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD): A newly installed ALD system has allowed us to add 6 precursor lines in one of the facilities, including a low vapor pressure (LVP) delivery line, and has also relieved scheduling pressure that users were experiencing on the original system.  New precursors that we have been exploring since the purchase of the new system include a number of metal organics for depositing CuO, Ga2O3, HfO2, Nb2O5, WO3, and ZnO. The Ultratech Fiji 200Gen 2 Plasma ALD system has four precursor locations and four gas lines into the system for depositions. This instrument is a modular, high-vacuum system that accommodates a wide range of deposition modes.

E-beam lithography: A new Nanometer Pattern Generation System (NPGS) system was installed in one of our focused ion beam (FIB) systems. The NPGS is designed as an e-beam lithography system, but can also be used with the focused ion beam as well.  The system can achieve for patterning with resolution on the order of less than 20 nm for the electron beam and less than 50 nm for the ion beam.

Maskless Lithography System: The Heidelberg Instruments µPG 101 is a direct write lithography system equipped with a 375 nm ultraviolet diode laser capable of exposing feature sizes down to 0.6 µm on either positive or negative photoresists on samples sizes of 10 mm x 10 mm up to 6” x 6”. In addition to full exposure, it has the ability to create surface topographies for gray scale applications.

Reactive ion etcher: The Oxford Plasmalab100 is an induced coupled plasma etcher dedicated to GaN etching.

Cathodoluminescence Imaging and Spectroscopy Detection: The Horiba HCLUE will be installed on our cryo-scanning electron microscope this fall. The spectroscopy system has a focal length of 320 mm and will operate in the ultraviolet-visible range (200-1050 nm). Panchromatic or monochromatic imaging is available in the system.

Retractable Detectors: Two new detectors will be installed on our dual beam FIB/SEM. The retractable annular scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) detector enables scanning transmission imaging in bright field, dark field, and high-angle dark field modes. The detector includes a special sample holder that can hold up to 6 transmission electron microscopy (TEM) grids and is compatible with the holder used for thin sample preparations. The retractable directional backscatter (DBS) detector features four concentric ring segments that enable separate detection of electrons emitted at different angles. This detector is an ultra-sensitive, Solid State (SS) detector which is sensitive to emitted electrons from 500 V onwards. Using the option beam deceleration, images with beam landing energies down to 50 V are possible. This detector is mounted on a software-controlled retractable arm and allows simultaneous energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) spectra acquisition for WD ≥ 10 mm.

Rapid Thermal Processor: The annealsys AS-One 150 is a rapid thermal processing tool that will be capable of running samples from small pieces to 6” wafers, up to 1300˚C with pressure ranges from atmospheric conditions to high vacuum.

“Tweezers” to study nuclear interactions

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have developed numerical “tweezers” that can pin a nucleus in place, enabling them to study how interactions between protons and neutrons produce forces between nuclei. They found that the strength of local interactions determines whether or not these nuclei attract or repel each other, shedding light on the parameters that control attraction or repulsion in quantum bound states.

“Ultimately we want to understand how nuclear forces determine nuclear structure by studying how nuclei attract or repel one another,” says Dean Lee, professor of physics at NC State and corresponding author of a paper describing the work. “So we needed a way to hold particles in place and move them around relative to one another in order to measure attraction or repulsion.”

The full press release can be found here.

Effective Forces Between Quantum Bound States

Authors: Alexander Rokash, Evgeny Epelbaum and Hermann Krebs, Institut fur Theoretische Physik II, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany; Dean Lee, North Carolina State University

Published: June 9, 2017, Physical Review Letters

Abstract: Recent ab initio lattice studies have found that the interactions between alpha particles (4He nuclei) are sensitive to seemingly minor details of the nucleon-nucleon force such as interaction locality. In order to uncover the essential physics of this puzzling phenomenon without unnecessary complications, we study a simple model involving two-component fermions in one spatial dimension. We probe the interaction between two bound dimers for several different particle-particle interactions and measure an effective potential between the dimers using external point potentials which act as numerical tweezers. We find that the strength and range of the local part of the particle-particle interactions play a dominant role in shaping the interactions between the dimers and can even determine the overall sign of the effective potential.

Researchers use electric fields to control light

Scientists at NC State have developed a new method to control light. To do this, they use electric fields to change the refractive index of materials. Researchers investigated thin films of semiconductor materials: molybdenum sulfide, tungsten sulfide and tungsten selenide. In some of these materials, the refractive index was changed by as much as 60 percent.

A press release can be found here.

Giant Gating Tunability of Optical Refractive Index in Transition Metal Dichalcogenide Monolayers

Authors: Yiling Yu, Yifei Yu, Lujun Huang and Linyou Cao, North Carolina State University; Haowei Peng, Temple University; and Liwei Xiong, Wuhan Institute of Technology

Published: May 15, 2017, Nano Letters

Abstract: We report that the refractive index of transition metal dichacolgenide (TMDC) monolayers, such as MoS2, WS2, and WSe2, can be substantially tuned by > 60% in the imaginary part and > 20% in the real part around exciton resonances using CMOS-compatible electrical gating. This giant tunablility is rooted in the dominance of excitonic effects in the refractive index of the monolayers and the strong susceptibility of the excitons to the influence of injected charge carriers. The tunability mainly results from the effects of injected charge carriers to broaden the spectral width of excitonic interband transitions and to facilitate the interconversion of neutral and charged excitons. The other effects of the injected charge carriers, such as renormalizing bandgap and changing exciton binding energy, only play negligible roles. We also demonstrate that the atomically thin monolayers, when combined with photonic structures, can enable the efficiencies of optical absorption (reflection) tuned from 40% (60%) to 80% (20%) due to the giant tunability of refractive index. This work may pave the way towards the development of field-effect photonics in which the optical functionality can be controlled with CMOS circuits.

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.

 

 

New Graduate Student Opportunity: Science Outside the Lab

Science Outside the Lab” brings a small cohort of graduate student scientists and engineers to Washington, D.C. to explore the relationships among science, innovation, policy, and societal outcomes. This customized free one week version (June 4-10, 2017), sponsored by the Nanotechnology Collaborative Infrastructure Southwest (NCI-SW), will investigate the context of nanotechnology decision-making in government and business at the local, state, federal, and international levels. During the week-long workshop participants meet and interact with groups of people who fund, regulate, shape, critique, publicize, and study nanotechnology and other emerging technologies. This includes people like congressional staffers, lobbyists, funding agency officers, regulators, journalists, academics, museum curators, and others.

To apply to the program, complete this application and email as an attachment to CENTSS@asu.edu or fax to (480-727-8791). Application deadline: March 10, 2017. For more information, please contact Andra Williams at andra.williams@asu.edu

Silver nanocubes for multispectral imaging and printing

Researchers at Duke University recently published a paper in Advanced Materials describing the development of a technique to detect light across the electromagnetic spectrum. As opposed to using materials that absorb specific wavelengths of light, silver nanocube structures trap different types of light. This can be controlled by changing the size and arrangement of the nanocubes. To learn more see the Duke press release or read the article.

Toward Multispectral Imaging with Colloidal Metasurface Pixels
Jon W. Stewart, Gleb M. Akselrod, David R. Smith, and Maiken H. Mikkelsen

Abstract: Multispectral colloidal metasurfaces are fabricated that exhibit greater than 85% absorption and ≈100 nm linewidths by patterning film-coupled nanocubes in pixels using a fusion of bottom-up and top-down fabrication techniques over wafer-scale areas. With this technique, the authors realize a multispectral pixel array consisting of six resonances between 580 and 1125 nm and reconstruct an RGB image with 9261 color combinations.

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.

Analytical Instrumentation Facility Announces Best Paper Awards

The 2016 Awards for “Best Papers” utilizing the Analytical Instrumentation Facility (AIF) were announced in November and went to Yanqi Ye from the group of Zhen Gu (BME) for a publication in Advanced Materials introducing a microneedle-based cell therapy and Kelly Stano from the group of Philip Bradford (TECS) for work published in Small on nanotube networks. Congratulations to these authors on their excellent work! Previous award winners can be found here.