Plenty of Beauty at the Bottom 2020 Image Contest

In honor of National Nanotechnology Day, the RTNN and NNCI are supporting the second annual “Plenty of Beauty at the Bottom” image contest. Do you have an image that you think could win most stunning, most unique, or most whimsical? If so, learn more and submit your image at the Image Contest Website. The deadline for image submission has been extended to September 18, 2020. Check out last year’s winners here.

NNCI Hosts Anti-Racism Town Hall

On June 24th, the NNCI hosted a town hall for all NNCI stakeholders including facility users, students, staff, and faculty. The Town Hall was led by Jacob Jones (RTNN), the chair of the NNCI Diversity Subcommittee, who was joined by a panel of Diversity Subcommittee members Liney Arnadottir (NNI), Bruce Clemens (nano@Stanford), Kristin Field (MANTH), Mike Hochella (NanoEarth), Sherine Obare (SENIC), Chris Ober (CNF), Heather Rauser (MONT), and Bill Wilson (CNS) as well as SEI expert David Berube (RTNN). RTNN staff members provided logistical support, answered questions, and directed comments to the panel.

The Town Hall provided a safe venue for candid conversations about race. Oliver Brand (Director of the NNCI Coordinating Office) began the meeting by confirming his and the Coordinating Office’s strong support for the Town Hall and reinforcing the importance of the event. Jacob Jones provided context for the Town Hall by reviewing the results of the 2019 NNCI staff climate survey and the action items that resulted. Panelists and participants then shared their personal experiences with racism as well as those of their students and facility users. Participants used an interactive polling app to answer questions posed by the Subcommittee in real time. They reflected on their perceptions of user experiences in nanotechnology facilities in regards to racism and their knowledge of available resources to combat racism in these facilities. During the event, participants discussed strategies for facilities moving forward and provided the Subcommittee with numerous anti-racism actions.

The NNCI Diversity Subcommittee also collated a list of relevant resources (copied below) for all participants. NNCI participants who wish to be included in future NNCI meetings and conversations surrounding anti-racism can complete this form.


Congrats to our Image Contest Winners

A big thank you to everyone who submitted an image in the 2019 Image Competition. We are excited to announce the winners. Please vote for these amazing images in the NNCI Image Contest, There’s Plenty of Beauty at the Bottom. Voting will open on October 7th!

Most Stunning

Gill raker of the Japanese medaka

Melissa Chernick, Duke University

This image shows a portion of a gill raker from a Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes), a small fish often used as a research model. Gill rakers are tooth-like structures inside a fish that help capture prey and prevent damage to its gills. The image shows some of the tissue that makes up the gill raker: a taste bud surrounded by pavement cells.

Most Unique Capability

Nanocoined Structures in Diamond

Nichole Miller, Smart Material Solutions, Inc.

This image shows hierarchical features that were milled into diamond using a focused ion beam. This patented process, “Nanocoining,” can seamlessly nanopattern drum molds for roll-to-roll manufacturing hundreds of times faster than competing technologies. This enables nanopatterning that was previously feasible for only small, academic experiments to be applied on the industrial scale. Nanocoining opens the door for nanostructured surfaces with unique optical and wetting properties to be applied to a variety of commercial products including OLEDs, biosensors, wire-grid polarizers, solar panels, and windows.

Most Whimsical

Dust Flower

Michael Valerino, Duke University

Particulate matter (PM) refers to liquid or solid particles suspended in the atmosphere and comes from dust, combustion by-products, exhaust, fires, and even vegetation. When PM deposits on the surface of solar panels, it can reduce energy production by up to 40% resulting in ~10 to 50 billion dollars of annual losses globally. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of particles on the panel surfaces help us to better understand the sources impacting soiling. This piece of dust reminded our group of a flower, seemingly blooming out of an unearthly field. Even at this tiny scale, we can find familiarity.

Holly Leddy wins NNCI Education and Outreach Award

Our congratulations go out to Holly Leddy for winning a national award from the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) in the category of Education and Outreach.

Holly is a Research and Development Engineer at Duke’s Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility. Holly was recognized for the vital role she plays in planning and implementing the RTNN’s education and outreach programs. Each year she leads Girls STEM Day @ Duke where girls participate in hands-on science and engineering activities. The event aims to show the girls and their parents that a career in STEM is within their grasp. The huge success of this event was in large part due to Holly’s leadership and tireless hours of hard work. 

Keep up the good work!

RTNN Hosts NNCI REU Convocation

Last month, the RTNN welcomed over 50 guests to Raleigh at the annual NNCI REU Convocation. Participants came from NNCI sites across the country to share their summer research projects with their peers as well as RTNN faculty, staff, and students. The event kicked off with a scavenger hunt where students searched NC State for a variety of landmarks. Attendees also participated in professional development activities that included updates to their LinkedIn profiles and learning how to effectively communicate science to the public. Poster sessions were held on the campuses of Duke and UNC to give students a broader perspective of nanotechnology in the Research Triangle. The entire agenda can be found here and all of the event talks are posted here.