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.
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.
Authors: Sumeet R. Mishra and Joseph B. Tracy, North Carolina State University
Published: June 15, Applied Nano Materials
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.
Smart Material Solutions, Inc. (SMS) is seeking two REU students for 10 week paid summer internships. SMS is a small NC State startup in Raleigh, NC that is developing an advanced nanomanufacturing process called nanocoining. The patented process can seamlessly nanopattern drum molds for roll-to-roll manufacturing hundreds of times faster than competing technologies like electron-beam lithography.
Internship 1: Simulations of optical properties
This student will perform finite different time domain (FDTD) simulations to model and optimize the optical properties of nanostructures. The intern will model anti-reflective coatings as well as light-extraction features for OLED displays and solid-state lighting. This student will also be trained in scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Students with a background in optics, modeling, physics, electrical engineering, or a related field are encouraged to apply.
Internship 2: Fabrication, characterization, and lamination of nanostructured films
This intern will imprint nanostructures into polymer films and characterize their optical and wetting properties. The student will also laminate nanostructures onto devices such as a solar cell and smartphone. This student will receive training on several characterization techniques including SEM, AFM, and UV-Vis spectroscopy. SMS prefers a student with a background in materials science, chemical engineering, nanotechnology, or a related field.
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+’.