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CVTC Manufacturing Show showcases opportunities, technology – Leader-Telegram

Cole Hill knows what he wants to do in a future career.

I want to build motors V-8s probably, said the Colfax High School junior who spends time racing at the Red Cedar and Jim Falls tracks.

But just what does one study to prepare to build big engines? Hunter Sullivan of Chippewa Falls, a Chippewa Valley Technical College machine tooling technics student, had some ideas for him at CVTCs annual Manufacturing Show on March 2.

He told me about their CNC (computerized numerical control) machines and the careers, said Hill, who thinks he will eventually enroll at CVTC but he is unsure which program he will choose. I havent looked at any other places.

Introducing people like Hill to careers in manufacturing is a big part of CVTCs Manufacturing Show, which attracted about 1,600 people to CVTCs Manufacturing Education Center. Wonders of modern manufacturing were displayed and demonstrated in CVTC programs, including automation engineering technology, industrial mechanical, machine tooling technics, welding/welding fabrication and manufacturing, nano and industrial engineering programs.

About 40 manufacturing companies were also represented, with display tables highlighting their products and job opportunities.

Sullivan, a 2015 Chippewa Falls Senior High School graduate, connected with Hill as another young man who likes to work with his hands. I just like making things, Sullivan said. I took shop classes in high school with manual lathes and I thought that was pretty cool. But what I learn here is way more than they teach you in high school.

Sullivan is already working in manufacturing, doing some part-time laser cutting work at Riverside Machine. Im not doing CNC work, but hopefully when I finish school they will keep me on as a machinist, he said.

Visitors to the Manufacturing Show were able to take part in hands-on activities, such as trying their hand at welding, building a tiny flashlight with the help of manufacturing engineering technologist students, or playing with projects like a billiards game made by automation engineering technology students.

This is an opportunity to show off new technology, said CVTC dean of manufacturing Jeff Sullivan. The Manufacturing Show brings together alumni and people in the area, and shows off student projects. Our manufacturing partners come in and show the things theyre doing.

More opportunity

Several area high schools sent bus loads of students to the event. They toured local manufacturing companies prior to the show. Other students came on their own, or with their parents.

Menomonie resident Tim Frank, a CVTC graduate, attended the event with his wife and son, Nathan.

Hes interested in coming here next year, Frank said of his son. Hes working at a machine shop in Menomonie after school now. He saw this show was available and asked to come.

I really havent decided what program to take, Nathan Frank said. But it will probably be something in the machining area. Its making stuff. Its hands-on.

Dawn Schrankler and her husband brought their daughter, Kelsey, from Neillsville to the show. Were trying to get her interested in more of a selection, said Schrankler. She wants to be a veterinarian assistant, but were trying to broaden her horizons and open her eyes to other areas.

Not all of the people attending the show to explore careers were high school students or even recent high school graduates. Some seeking to change careers found plenty of older CVTC students who have followed a similar path.

This program is fantastic, said Casey Schellhorn, an student in CVTCs automation engineering technology program who graduated from River Falls High School in 2010. I wanted more opportunity than I had working in food service. I was looking for something interesting and found this on the CVTC website.

Schellhorn was stationed where he could explain to visitors how to play a miniature billiards game and also the pneumatics, electronics and sensors that made the game work. Other students were at the event to explain what they do, what they are learning, and the exciting opportunities available to them in manufacturing careers.

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CVTC Manufacturing Show showcases opportunities, technology – Leader-Telegram

Stretchy electrode paves way for flexible electronics | Stanford News – Stanford University News

The brain is soft and electronics are stiff, which can make combining the two challenging, such as when neuroscientists implant electrodes to measure brain activity and perhaps deliver tiny jolts of electricity for pain relief or other purposes.

Go to the web site to view the video.

Courtesy Bao Research Group

A robotic test instrument stretches over a curved surface a nearly transparent, flexible electrode based on a special plastic developed in the lab of Stanford chemical engineer Zhenan Bao.

Chemical engineer Zhenan Bao is trying to change that. For more than a decade, her lab has been working to make electronics soft and flexible so that they feel and operate almost like a second skin. Along the way, the team has started to focus on making brittle plastics that can conduct electricity more elastic.

Now in Science Advances, Baos team describes how they took one such brittle plastic and modified it chemically to make it as bendable as a rubber band, while slightly enhancing its electrical conductivity. The result is a soft, flexible electrode that is compatible with our supple and sensitive nerves.

This flexible electrode opens up many new, exciting possibilities down the road for brain interfaces and other implantable electronics, said Bao, a professor of chemical engineering. Here, we have a new material with uncompromised electrical performance and high stretchability.

The material is still a laboratory prototype, but the team hopes to develop it as part of their long-term focus on creating flexible materials that interface with the human body.

Electrodes are fundamental to electronics. Conducting electricity, these wires carry back and forth signals that allow different components in a device to work together. In our brains, special thread-like fibers called axons play a similar role, transmitting electric impulses between neurons. Baos stretchable plastic is designed to make a more seamless connection between the stiff world of electronics and the flexible organic electrodes in our bodies.

A printed electrode pattern of the new polymer being stretched to several times of its original length (top), and a transparent, highly stretchy electronic skin patch forming an intimate interface with the human skin to potentially measure various biomarkers (bottom). (Image credit: Bao Lab)

One thing about the human brain that a lot of people dont know is that it changes volume throughout the day, says postdoctoral research fellow Yue Wang, the first author on the paper. It swells and deswells. The current generation of electronic implants cant stretch and contract with the brain and make it complicated to maintain a good connection.

If we have an electrode with a similar softness as the brain, it will form a better interface, said Wang.

To create this flexible electrode, the researchers began with a plastic that had two essential qualities: high conductivity and biocompatibility, meaning that it could be safely brought into contact with the human body. But this plastic had a shortcoming: It was very brittle. Stretching it even 5 percent would break it.

As Bao and her team sought to preserve conductivity while adding flexibility, they worked with scientists at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to use a special type of X-ray to study this material at the molecular level. All plastics are polymers; that is, chains of molecules strung together like beads. The plastic in this experiment was actually made up of two different polymers that were tightly wound together. One was the electrical conductor. The other polymer was essential to the process of making the plastic. When these two polymers combined they created a plastic that was like a string of brittle, sphere-like structures. It was conductive, but not flexible.

The researchers hypothesized that if they could find the right molecular additive to separate these two tightly wound polymers, they could prevent this crystallization and give the plastic more stretch. But they had to be careful adding material to a conductor usually weakens its ability to transmit electrical signals.

After testing more than 20 different molecular additives, they finally found one that did the trick. It was a molecule similar to the sort of additives used to thicken soups in industrial kitchens. This additive transformed the plastics chunky and brittle molecular structure into a fishnet pattern with holes in the strands to allow the material to stretch and deform. When they tested their new materials elasticity, they were delighted to find that it became slightly more conductive when stretched to twice its original length. The plastic remained very conductive even when stretched 800 percent its original length.

We thought that if we add insulating material, we would get really poor conductivity, especially when we added so much, said Bao. But thanks to their precise understanding of how to tune the molecular assembly, the researchers got the best of both worlds: the highest possible conductivity for the plastic while at the same transforming it into a very robust and stretchy substance.

By understanding the interaction at the molecular level, we can develop electronics that are soft and stretchy like skin, while remaining conductive, Wang says.

Other authors include postdoctoral fellows Chenxin Zhu, Francisco Molina-Lopez, Franziska Lissel and Jia Liu; graduate students Shucheng Chen and Noelle I. Rabiah; Hongping Yan and Michael F. Toney, staff scientists at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; Christian Linder, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering who is also a member of Stanford Bio-X and of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute; Boris Murmann, a professor of electrical engineering and a member of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute; Lihua Jin, now an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles; Zheng Chen, now an assistant professor of nano engineering at the University of California, San Diego; and colleagues from the Materials Science Institute of Barcelona, Spain, and Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology.

This work was funded by Samsung Electronics and the Air Force Office of Science Research.

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Stretchy electrode paves way for flexible electronics | Stanford News – Stanford University News

UAE students launch first nano satellite into space – Arab News

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) and the American University of Sharjah (AUS) have announced the successful launch of Nayif-1, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) first nano satellite launched into space. Nayif-1 takes on added importance as an educational project with the goal of providing hands-on experience to Emirati engineering students on designing, building, testing and operating nano satellites. The launch was a step toward the implementing of the Mars 2117 Project. The Nayif-1s mission aims to send and receive text messages on amateur radio frequencies. The project objectives include characterizing and validating the accuracy of a thermal model of Nayif-1 with in-situ temperature measurements in space, as well as determining the evolution of the solar cells performance in space. The nano satellite was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Center in India. The ground station, located at the AUS, received the first signal from Nayif-1, 18 minutes and 32 seconds after it reached its orbit. A team of engineers and students were present at the ground station during launch. Nayif-1 will be operated and controlled from the ground station at AUS moving forward. Speaking on this occasion, Bjorn Kjerfve, chancellor of the AUS, said: The AUS is an institution dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in academia and research. The successful launch of Nayif-1 is a reflection of that vision and a proud moment for the AUS, considering the important part played in its development by seven Emirati students from the AUS. The nano satellite will be monitored by the ground station based at AUS. We are very pleased to have developed this project with MBRSC and look forward to future collaborations that will advance the skills and knowledge of AUS Emirati engineers in space technologies. Kjerfve said: We are proud of our students role in the development of the satellite and their participation in completing all the phases of the space program. This is a living example of our strategy to move toward a knowledge-based economy, to promote innovation in the region, and serve the post-oil needs of the GCC countries. Commenting on the launch, Fatma Lootah, deputy project manager of Nayif-1, said: Through the ground station at the AUS, we will continue to monitor the satellite to understand how it responds to commands in the daytime and in the evening; however it will be shifted later on to the autonomous mode. We will also verify the active control system board in Nayif-1, which determines the satellites direction and maintains its balance.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) and the American University of Sharjah (AUS) have announced the successful launch of Nayif-1, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) first nano satellite launched into space. Nayif-1 takes on added importance as an educational project with the goal of providing hands-on experience to Emirati engineering students on designing, building, testing and operating nano satellites. The launch was a step toward the implementing of the Mars 2117 Project. The Nayif-1s mission aims to send and receive text messages on amateur radio frequencies. The project objectives include characterizing and validating the accuracy of a thermal model of Nayif-1 with in-situ temperature measurements in space, as well as determining the evolution of the solar cells performance in space. The nano satellite was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Center in India. The ground station, located at the AUS, received the first signal from Nayif-1, 18 minutes and 32 seconds after it reached its orbit. A team of engineers and students were present at the ground station during launch. Nayif-1 will be operated and controlled from the ground station at AUS moving forward. Speaking on this occasion, Bjorn Kjerfve, chancellor of the AUS, said: The AUS is an institution dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in academia and research. The successful launch of Nayif-1 is a reflection of that vision and a proud moment for the AUS, considering the important part played in its development by seven Emirati students from the AUS. The nano satellite will be monitored by the ground station based at AUS. We are very pleased to have developed this project with MBRSC and look forward to future collaborations that will advance the skills and knowledge of AUS Emirati engineers in space technologies. Kjerfve said: We are proud of our students role in the development of the satellite and their participation in completing all the phases of the space program. This is a living example of our strategy to move toward a knowledge-based economy, to promote innovation in the region, and serve the post-oil needs of the GCC countries. Commenting on the launch, Fatma Lootah, deputy project manager of Nayif-1, said: Through the ground station at the AUS, we will continue to monitor the satellite to understand how it responds to commands in the daytime and in the evening; however it will be shifted later on to the autonomous mode. We will also verify the active control system board in Nayif-1, which determines the satellites direction and maintains its balance.

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UAE students launch first nano satellite into space – Arab News

Phonon nanoengineering: Vibrations of nanoislands dissipate heat more effectively – Phys.Org

March 8, 2017 The nanoislands are completely isolated (left) or adjoining each other (right). Credit: IFJ PAN

Europium silicide has for some time attracted the attention of scientists. Recognized as being promising for electronics and spintronics, this material has recently been submitted by a team of physicists from Poland, Germany and France to comprehensive studies of the vibrations of its crystal lattice. The results yielded a surprise: deposited on a substrate of silicon, some structures of europium silicide appear to vibrate in a way that clearly broadens the possibilities of designing nanomaterials with tailored thermal properties.

The vibrations of atoms in the crystal lattices of materials, known as phonons, are not chaotic. Instead, they are governed by the lattice symmetry, atomic mass and other factors. For instance, the atoms deep in the solid oscillate differently than on its surface, and still differently when the material forms, for example, nanoislands i.e. small atomic clusters on a substrate. An international team of physicists, composed of scientists from the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFJ PAN) in Cracow, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the European Synchrotron (ESRF) in Grenoble, have for the first time comprehensively examined how the vibrations of the crystal lattice of europium silicide (EuSi2) change depending upon the nanostructures arrangement on a substrate of silicon. The study yielded remarkable results: a new type of vibration was observed in the sample in which the EuSi2 nanoislands were in contact with each other.

“Usually nanoengineering means modifying material on a scale of nanometres, or billionths of a metre. The research on europium silicide in which we participated allows us to offer something more: phonon nanoengineering, i.e. engineering in which not so much the structure of the material is carefully designed as the vibrations of atoms in its crystal lattice,” says Dr. Przemyslaw Piekarz (IFJ PAN).

Europium silicide forms a crystal, in which each europium atom is surrounded by 12 silicon atoms. The system exhibits what is known as tetragonal symmetry: the distance between atoms in one direction is different than in the two remaining directions. This metallic compound readily binds to silicon, and also has a record-breakingly low so-called Schottky barrier (i.e. the barrier of potential energy electrons encounter on their transition from the metal to silicon). Such materials are of interest today in view of their potential application in nanoelectronic systems, for example, in MOSFET technology used in the production of modern processors. However, at low temperatures EuSi2 also exhibits interesting magnetic properties, which makes it attractive for the successor of electronics – spintronics.

Although compounds of rare earth metals and silicon play a fundamental role in heat transport, among others, their lattice vibrations have not to date been comprehensively studied. Meanwhile, in nanoelectronic systems where heat is generated in large amounts, thermal properties of a material became as important as the magnetic or electric properties.

A group led by Dr. Svetoslav Stankov (KIT, Germany) has developed a procedure for the preparation of epitaxial EuSi2 nanostructures by depositing, in ultrahigh vacuum conditions, small amounts of europium atoms on a heated substrate of single crystalline silicon. Moreover, by careful adjustment of the temperature of the substrate and the amount of europium atoms they were able to tailor the morphology of the prepared EuSi2 nanostructures on the silicon surface.

“In this experiment we focused our attention on four europium silicide samples forming: a uniform film, which could be regarded as a solid crystal, a tightly pleated film, and two different assemblies of nanoislands,” explains Dr. Stankov and adds: “A nanoisland is a discrete cluster of self-organized atoms on a surface reaching sizes of several tens of nanometres with a height of a dozen or so nanometres. It turned out that especially interesting are the samples in which the EuSi2 nanoislands are completely isolated from each other and those where the nanoislands are in close contact with each other.”

The samples were prepared in the ultra-high vacuum system at the nuclear resonance beamline of the ESRF synchrotron in Grenoble by the KIT group and investigated in situ by nuclear inelastic scattering (NIS).

“NIS is a state-of-the-art method for direct measurement of the energy spectrum of atomic vibrations of nanomaterials with very high resolution. In this experimental technique the sample is illuminated with high energy photons, selected so that their absorption by atomic nuclei excites or annihilates lattice vibrations of a certain kind, yielding the element-specific phonon density of states,” adds Dr. Stankov.

Theoretical studies at the IFJ PAN were carried out ab initio, based on the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics and statistical physics, using PHONON software written by Prof. Krzysztof Parlinski (IFJ PAN). The Cracow group dealt not only with modelling the vibrations of the crystal lattice of structures of europium silicide, but also determining the conditions for conducting experiments in the ESRF synchrotron.

“In Grenoble only the vibration energies of europium atoms were recorded. The curves obtained from the measurements agreed very well with our calculations for the solid crystal and the surface. We could supplement these data with our predictions for the movements of silicon atoms, which helped to better interpret the results,” says Prof. Parlinski.

Particularly interesting results were obtained for the samples with nanoislands. In the case of a substrate coated with discrete nanoislands a significant increase of the amplitude of vibration of europium atoms was observed, up to 70% relative to the vibrations in the crystal. Such a large increase translates into significantly greater possibilities in the field of heat transfer. The most interesting effect appeared, however, in the sample with nanoislands adjoining each other. Namely, additional vibrations with a characteristic energy were found at the interfaces between the nanoislands. Although theoretically predicted earlier on, their existence was confirmed experimentally for the first time. They constitute another ‘gateway’ through which material can discharge heat into the environment. By means of the adjoining nanoislands a significant increase in the efficiency of heat transfer in nanostructures becomes a reality.

“In the analysis of materials scientists usually look at the properties of a sample of fixed morphology. We have described a whole spectrum of possible surface morphologies of EuSi2. An advanced theoretical model and precise measurements have allowed us for the first time to exactly trace how the vibrations of the crystal lattice of a nanomaterial change depending on its arrangement on the substrate,” stressed Dr. Piekarz.

The research on europium silicide nanostructures, funded by the Helmholtz Association, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (project VH-NG-625) and on the Polish side by the HARMONIA grant from the Polish National Science Centre, is of a basic nature. However, the knowledge gained, especially with regard to the crystal lattice vibrations occurring at the interface between adjacent nanoislands and the related drastic changes in the heat transport, is universal. After suitable adaptation, this phenomenon will allow researchers to design nanomaterials other than europium silicide with tailored thermal properties.

Explore further: Dimensionality transition in a newly created material

More information: A. Seiler et al, Anomalous Lattice Dynamics ofNanoislands: Role of Interfaces Unveiled, Physical Review Letters (2016). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.276101

Journal reference: Physical Review Letters

Provided by: The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

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Phonon nanoengineering: Vibrations of nanoislands dissipate heat more effectively – Phys.Org

Ratan Tata’s dream project Nano contributed to Renault’s success, says CEO – Business Standard

Kwid has put Renault on strong foot in India, said Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of French auto maker Renault has said that Renault has started making money in India after selling 1,00,000 Kwids. Kwid is a compact hatch-back built on the sketch of cars such as Tata Nano and Maruti Suzuki Alto. The Renault Kwid is a second car, after Duster, from the stable of Renault to achieve this milestone. Duster’s total sales in India has crossed over 1.50 lakh units. Since its launch, Kwid sales crossed 1.30 lakh units. Last month the company had sold around 9,600 units. In small cities Kwid continues to be the number one selling car from Renault. Ghosn said Kwid has put Renault on strong foot in India. The company initially struggled because it was the new plant and a new car, so when you have so much innovation accommodated, you struggle with profitability, he added. Kwid now caters to the needs of three different customer types, with a scope of options to suit specific lifestyles. The 0.8 litre for the customer who seeks a superior package with the best fuel efficiency. The 1.0 litre MT for the customer who seeks a superior package along with more performance. The 1.0 Litre AMT for the customer who seeks a superior package with more Performance and greater convenience. Design element also helped the car as customers were looking for a car which is slightly taller with a tinge of sporty element built into it, which Kwid addressed. Ghosn, who is impressed with India’s frugal engineering, said that Ratan Tata’s dream project Nano has contributed to Renault’s success in India. It may be noted Nissan’s much expected low cost brand Datsun has not met with the success it was expecting. On Datsun, Ghosn said: “We are not as successful with Datsun as we would have liked it to be but when you are in a long term strategy we don’t expect success to come immediately.” Ghosn said that with the A-platform — the second of the so-called common module family, or CMF, jointly developed by Renault and Nissan, a sort of modular manufacturing system for cars– particularly with the Kwid and all the products that are going to follow that. This platform will be open to Mitsubishi also.

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Ratan Tata’s dream project Nano contributed to Renault’s success, says CEO – Business Standard

Careers, technology on display at manufacturing show – Chippewa Herald

Cole Hill knows what he wants to do in a future career. I want to build motors V-8s probably, said the Colfax High School junior who spends time racing at the Red Cedar and Jim Falls tracks.

But just what does one study to prepare to build big engines? Hunter Sullivan of Chippewa Falls, a Chippewa Valley Technical College Machine Tooling Technics student, had some ideas for him at CVTCs annual Manufacturing Show Thursday, March 2.

He told me about their CNC (computerized numerical control) machines and the careers, said Hill, who thinks he will eventually enroll at CVTC, but he is unsure of which program. I havent looked at any other places.

Introducing people like Hill to careers in manufacturing is a big part of CVTCs Manufacturing Show, which drew about 1,600 people to CVTCs Manufacturing Education Center. Wonders of modern manufacturing were displayed and demonstrated in CVTCs Automation Engineering Technology, Industrial Mechanical, Machine Tooling Technics and Welding/Welding Fabrication, as well as Manufacturing, Nano and Industrial Engineering programs.

About 40 manufacturing companies were also represented with display tables highlighting their products and job opportunities.

Sullivan, a 2015 Chippewa Falls Senior High School graduate, connected with Hill as another young man who likes to work with his hands. I just like making things, Sullivan said. I took shop classes in high school with manual lathes and I thought that was pretty cool. But what I learn here is way more than they teach you in high school.

Sullivan is already working in manufacturing, doing some part-time laser cutting work at Riverside Machine. Im not doing CNC work, but hopefully when I finish school they will keep me on as a machinist, he said.

Visitors at the Manufacturing Show were able to take part in hands-on activities like trying their hand at welding, building a tiny flashlight with the help of Manufacturing Engineering Technologist students, or playing with projects like a billiards game made by Automation Engineering Technology students.

This is an opportunity to show off new technology, said CVTC Dean of Manufacturing Jeff Sullivan. The Manufacturing Show brings together alumni and people in the area, and shows off student projects. Our manufacturing partners come in and show the things theyre doing.

Several area high schools sent busloads of students who also toured some area manufacturing companies prior to the show. Other high school students came on their own, or with their parents.

Tim Frank of Menomonie, a CVTC graduate himself, came with his wife and son, Nathan. Hes interested in coming here next year, Frank said. Hes working at a machine shop in Menomonie after school now. He saw this show was available and asked to come.

I really havent decided what program to take, Nathan said. But it will probably be something in the machining area. Its making stuff. Its hands-on.

Dawn Schrankler and her husband brought their daughter, Kelsey, from Neillsville for the show. Were trying to get her interested in more of a selection, said Schrankler. She wants to be a veterinarian assistant, but were trying to broaden her horizons and open her eyes to other areas.

But not all of the people attending the show to explore careers were high school students or even recent high school graduates. People looking for a change of careers found plenty of older CVTC students who followed a similar path.

This program is fantastic, said Casey Schellhorn, an Automation Engineering Technology student who graduated from River Falls High School back in 2010. I wanted more opportunity than I had working in food service. I was looking for something interesting and found this on the CVTC website.

Schellhorn was stationed where he could explain to visitors how to play a miniature billiards game and also the pneumatics, electronics and sensors that made the game work. In all the program areas, other students were present to explain what they do, what they are learning, and the exciting opportunities available to them in manufacturing careers.

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Careers, technology on display at manufacturing show – Chippewa Herald

Associate chemical engineering professor recognized by The Welch Foundation – UT The Daily Texan

The Welch Foundation, one of the largest funding resources for chemical research, recognized associate professor Delia Milliron for her contribution to controlling sunlight from entering buildings, according to the foundations website.

Last Wednesday, The Welch Foundation announced Milliron as one of the two recipients of the 2017 Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research. The award was established to honor Norman Hackerman, the foundations scientific advisory board member, with the purpose of supporting Texas scientists who are dedicated to increasing the fundamental understanding of chemistry.

Milliron said it is a great honor to be recognized by The Welch Foundation, and she is very proud to receive this award.

(The Welch Foundation is) a very important supporter of chemistry across the state of Texas, and they found some of the research in my lab and in many others across campus and around the state, Milliron said over the phone. Its a really important driver of innovation in Texas to have the Welch foundation supporting us with grants and with awards like this one.

Milliron is also an associate editor of Nano Letters, a journal of the American Chemical Society, which includes publications related to nanomaterial chemistry.

Thomas Truskett, chair of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, said Milliron is a rising star in the chemical sciences, and she is well-deserved of the award.

The Hackerman Award is a fiercely competitive prize, Truskett said in an email. The fact that Dr. Milliron was chosen for it this year, as well as another colleague from our Department last year, points toward the excellence of our young faculty, who represent the future of the Department.

The Welch Foundation is based in Houston and has contributed to the advancement of chemistry by supporting institutions in Texas with research grants and special projects, according to the foundations website.

Chemistry freshman Andrea Torres said its inspiring to see Millirons recogniton, because she represents a strong female leader in the scientific community.

For a long time chemistry and sciences in general were predominantly male, and to have a woman win an award like that its a pretty big deal, Torres said. It shows that we have a program thatpushes innovation.

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Associate chemical engineering professor recognized by The Welch Foundation – UT The Daily Texan

New Microscopy Tech Offers a Kind of Nano-GPS for Measuring Magnetism of Atoms – IEEE Spectrum

Gif: Nature Nanotechnology

Researchers at IBM Research Alamaden have developed a new approach to measuring the magnetic field of individual atoms that for the first time gives scientists the ability to put the sensor exactly next to the atom they want to measure, providing them with a strong and direct signal of the magnetic field.The energy resolution that the new technologyprovides is more than 1000 times higher than other microscopic techniques, according to its inventors.

The technique involves purposely placing a “sensor” atomnear thetargetatom to measure the latters magnetic field. These sensor atomsalso known as electron spin resonance (ESR) sensorswere first developed by IBM back in 2015 and are used inside of scanning tunneling microscopes (STMs). STMswhich detect the tunneling of electrons between the an ultra-sharp probe as its scanned across a surfaceallow atom-by-atom engineering, so that the positions of both the sensor and the target atoms can be imaged to locate them with atomic precision.

This latest advance in STMs with ESR technology described in the journal Nature Nanotechnology marks a distinct change from how the magnetic fields of atoms have previously been measured.

We have shown in the paper how to perform a kind of nano-GPSimaging, to detect where other magnetic atoms were located purely by the spin resonance signal on several fixed sensor atoms, says Christopher Lutz, a staff scientist at IBM Research Almaden. We intend to use this to image where magnetic centers are in molecules and nanostructures on the surface.

Prior to this latest work, one of the most notable techniques for measuring the magnetic fields of atoms involved exploiting defects in diamondcalled nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centerswhich can measure the magnetic fields from individual atoms within the diamond crystal.

But with that approach the NV center location is random; it cannot be moved around within the diamond crystal, according to Lutz. He further notes that while the diamond containing the NV can be moved near another object to image it magnetically it is presently limited to about 10 nanometers distance, because it is hard to get an NV center with usable properties close enough to the diamond surface.

Lutz also points out that there had been earlier work at IBM in measuring the magnetic field of atoms in which they demonstrated it was possible to detect a weak magnetic force from an individual atom. However, the signals were very challenging to detect, he says.The signal from the new STM technique is much stronger and more robust. We can sense the magnetic field of other atoms directly, which gives clear measure of their magnetic moments and other magnetic properties.

This additional information on the magnetic properties of atoms complements the other kinds of information that regular STMs give, like the location of atoms on a surface and their tunneling spectrathe conductance as a function of the voltage. (The lattergives information on the an atoms electronic structure.) According to Lutz, this means an energy resolution that is 1000 times as sensitive as other microscopic techniques, making it possible to see weak interactions.

This allows weak interaction like magnetic coupling between well-separated atoms to be measured, he says. It can probe structures non-invasively, from several nanometers away, where they are undisturbed by our probe atom.

The operating principle of these ESR sensors depends on what happens when an atom with unpaired electron spins is placed in a magnetic field. It does something called precess, which means its axis rotates around the magnetic field at a precise frequency. This frequency depends on the field strength and the atom’s magnetic moment, which is the strength of the atom’s magnetism.

In our experiment, we apply a magnetic field to the microscope, and then apply a high-frequency voltage to the tunnel junction of the microscope, explains Lutz. When the frequency matches the frequency of the spin precession, it drives the spin away from its thermal equilibrium, in which it is mostly aligned with the magnetic field.

This change in orientation is detected bytransferring a single magnetic sensor atom, in this case iron, to the microscope tip.The frequency is swept through the resonance frequency, and a sharp change in tunnel current appears precisely at the resonant frequency. The resonancefrequency moves in response to nearby magnetic atoms.

The physical principle is the same as for magnetic resonance imagingexcept that we detect electron precession instead of nuclear precession, and we address individual atoms instead of billions of them, by positioning the tip over the atom of interest, adds Lutz.

The technical hurdles in achieving these measurements are pretty high. First, high-frequency cabling is needed to bring gigahertz signals to the STM tip in order to drive the atom’s spin resonantly. Meanwhile,the STM itself must be maintained in an ultra-high vacuum, at liquid helium temperatures, and in an applied magnetic field of just the right magnitude.

We remain the only group able to perform single-atom ESR in an STM, saysLutz. However, we are studying ways to relax the stringent conditions needed to make it work, in order to make this a more general technique and so other groups can make use of it.

Lutz expects that a few other research groups will be able to perform thismeasurement once they installa gigahertz connection in their STM.

We hope to achieve spin resonance on a wider variety of atom types and surface materials, and to relax the extreme conditions needed for this experiment, so that in time more labs can use it, he says.

IEEE Spectrums nanotechnology blog, featuring news and analysis about the development, applications, and future of science and technology at the nanoscale.

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New Microscopy Tech Offers a Kind of Nano-GPS for Measuring Magnetism of Atoms – IEEE Spectrum

Chi-Hi grad gives tips at CVTC manufacturing show – Chippewa Herald

EAU CLAIRE Cole Hill knows what he wants to do in a future career. I want to build motors V-8s probably, said the Colfax High School junior who spends time racing at the Red Cedar and Jim Falls tracks.

But just what does one study to prepare to build big engines? Hunter Sullivan of Chippewa Falls, a Chippewa Valley Technical College Machine Tooling Technics student, had some ideas for him at CVTCs annual Manufacturing Show Thursday, March 2.

He told me about their CNC (computerized numerical control) machines and the careers, said Hill, who thinks he will eventually enroll at CVTC, but he is unsure of which program. I havent looked at any other places.

Introducing people like Hill to careers in manufacturing is a big part of CVTCs Manufacturing Show, which drew about 1,600 people to CVTCs Manufacturing Education Center. Wonders of modern manufacturing were displayed and demonstrated in CVTCs Automation Engineering Technology, Industrial Mechanical, Machine Tooling Technics and Welding/Welding Fabrication, as well as Manufacturing, Nano and Industrial Engineering programs.

About 40 manufacturing companies were also represented with display tables highlighting their products and job opportunities.

Sullivan, a 2015 Chippewa Falls Senior High School graduate, connected with Hill as another young man who likes to work with his hands. I just like making things, Sullivan said. I took shop classes in high school with manual lathes and I thought that was pretty cool. But what I learn here is way more than they teach you in high school.

Sullivan is already working in manufacturing, doing some part-time laser cutting work at Riverside Machine. Im not doing CNC work, but hopefully when I finish school they will keep me on as a machinist, he said.

Visitors at the Manufacturing Show were able to take part in hands-on activities like trying their hand at welding, building a tiny flashlight with the help of Manufacturing Engineering Technologist students, or playing with projects like a billiards game made by Automation Engineering Technology students.

This is an opportunity to show off new technology, said CVTC Dean of Manufacturing Jeff Sullivan. The Manufacturing Show brings together alumni and people in the area, and shows off student projects. Our manufacturing partners come in and show the things theyre doing.

Several area high schools sent busloads of students who also toured some area manufacturing companies prior to the show. Other high school students came on their own, or with their parents.

Tim Frank of Menomonie, a CVTC graduate himself, came with his wife and son, Nathan. Hes interested in coming here next year, Frank said. Hes working at a machine shop in Menomonie after school now. He saw this show was available and asked to come.

I really havent decided what program to take, Nathan said. But it will probably be something in the machining area. Its making stuff. Its hands-on.

Dawn Schrankler and her husband brought their daughter, Kelsey, from Neillsville for the show. Were trying to get her interested in more of a selection, said Schrankler. She wants to be a veterinarian assistant, but were trying to broaden her horizons and open her eyes to other areas.

But not all of the people attending the show to explore careers were high school students or even recent high school graduates. People looking for a change of careers found plenty of older CVTC students who followed a similar path.

This program is fantastic, said Casey Schellhorn, an Automation Engineering Technology student who graduated from River Falls High School back in 2010. I wanted more opportunity than I had working in food service. I was looking for something interesting and found this on the CVTC website.

Schellhorn was stationed where he could explain to visitors how to play a miniature billiards game and also the pneumatics, electronics and sensors that made the game work. In all the program areas, other students were present to explain what they do, what they are learning, and the exciting opportunities available to them in manufacturing careers.

Link:

Chi-Hi grad gives tips at CVTC manufacturing show – Chippewa Herald

25 years later, buckyball a big find on small scale – Chron.com

Photo: SMILEY N. POOL, Staff

1n 2003, a nanotube image is reflected on Rice University professor Richard Smalley, a trailblazing researcher in an ultra-small frontier.

1n 2003, a nanotube image is reflected on Rice University professor Richard Smalley, a trailblazing researcher in an ultra-small frontier.

CONTACT FILED: RICHARD SMALLEY 1/15/03–Rice University professor Rick Smalley stands with a machine to make carbon nanotubes Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 15, 2003, in Houston. (Kevin Fujii/Chronicle)

CONTACT FILED: RICHARD SMALLEY 1/15/03–Rice University professor Rick Smalley stands with a machine to make carbon nanotubes Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 15, 2003, in Houston. (Kevin Fujii/Chronicle)

25 years later, buckyball a big find on small scale

This Houston Chronicle story ran on Oct. 11, 2010. The headline and words are reprinted below.

As is so often the case with great scientific discoveries, Rick Smalley, Bob Curl and Harry Kroto weren’t looking for buckyballs when they found them in 1985.

Smalley had built a fancy machine at Rice University that used lasers to vaporize bits of metal. Kroto, meanwhile, wanted to better understand the nature of tiny chains of carbon dust between stars, so he asked his friend Curl if he wouldn’t mind sticking a chunk of graphite inside Smalley’s machine.

They did, and unexpectedly discovered a unique form of carbon in which 60 atoms clustered neatly into a tiny, soccer-shaped ball. They christened their finding a buckyball – or fullerene – after Buckminster Fuller, whose geodesic designs the molecules resemble.

The discovery a quarter century ago won the trio a Nobel Prize in 1996 and is, in no small part, responsible for launching the field of nanotechnology.

Prior to the discovery, scientists – most famously Richard Feynman – had mused about manipulating and controlling atoms to perform special tasks.

But it remained mostly talk until the creation of a buckyball, essentially a tiny protective cage in which scientists could put other atoms, crystallized the possibility of creating particles with special properties.

“That got people thinking about how we could design molecules with tailor-made properties,” said Gustavo Scuseria, a Rice chemist who came to the university four years after the discovery in large part because of the excitement it spurred.

“People were talking about nanoscience before, but there was no clear example of what could be a brick builder for nanotechnology. With the buckyball it was evident to everyone that this changed the game.”

Latest developments

The buckyball itself hasn’t delivered on some of the early hype, but its discovery led scientists to find more useful carbon materials, such as long, skinny carbon nanotubes and more recently, graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms.

The 2004 discovery of graphene by Russian scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, in fact, won the pair the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics last week.

“The principal effect of the fullerene discovery has been the development of intense worldwide interest in the chemistry of elemental carbon with several unusual and interesting new structures discovered,” Curl said. “I am happy that our discovery has led to such a great deal of good science.”

Carbon nanotubes and graphene are being studied for a raft of new technologies, from flexible TV displays to lightweight spacecraft materials to tiny and powerful semiconductors.

Beyond leading to new forms of carbon, the buckyball led scientists to tinker with the atom-by-atom design of materials for electronics and other purposes. The touch screens of many smart phones, for example, are possible because the use of nanomaterial to “paint” indium tin oxide on the front to create a transparent conductor.

Explosion of products

Nanotechnology also has worked its way into more conventional goods such as washing machines and air conditioners as engineers have embedded tiny bits of silver to take advantage of its antimicrobial properties.

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies conservatively estimates that the number of nanotechnology-enabled products has risen from 54 in 2005 to more than 1,000 last year.

After winning the Nobel Prize in 1996, Smalley, who died of leukemia at the age of 62 in 2005, became an evangelist for nanotechnology. He urged President Bill Clinton to increase research funding, and with the help of Clinton’s science adviser Neal Lane, the National Nanotechnology Initiative was begun in 2001.

Since then it has provided $14 billion in federal funding for nanotechnology research, with other federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense, providing as much or more.

“There was not a lot of push-back,” Lane recalled of Capitol Hill. “It was pretty easy to explain to members of Congress if you can make things on a smaller and smaller scale and build them from the bottom up, you could make some things that might have a major impact on new kinds of medical treatments, new ways of computing and new materials that could revolutionize a lot of areas.”

Boon for Houston

The buckyball’s discovery was also a financial boon for Houston.

It has led to at least $500 million in federal research funding coming to Rice for its many nanotechnology research programs, said Wade Adams, director of Rice’s Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.

It’s also spilled into other institutions in the Texas Medical Center and the University of Houston, where there are intensive programs to study the use of nanomaterials to treat disease, such as tiny gold shells that burn cancer cells and special drug-delivery devices that carry tumor-killing agents directly into cancers.

Nanotechnology’s potential has only begun to be tapped, says Philip Lippel, an advisory board member for NanoBusiness Alliance.

While some technologies are near the market – engineers are counting on nanomaterials to continue the trend of ever-increasingly powerful computer processors and memory chips – others remain in various stages of development.

Medical applications take longer, he said, because they must first be developed in a laboratory and then pass through various phases of safety and effectiveness testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Just the beginning

Longer-term there’s also hope nanomaterials may provide leaps to make technologies such as solar energy and water desalinization both efficient and cost-effective.

“I think we are just beginning to see what nanotechnology is capable of,” Lippel said. “A lot of good 20th-century engineering solutions to energy, water, communications are going to have their economics changed by nanomaterials.”

Lippel sees nanotechnology as a great enabling technology, similar to computing and information technology during the latter half of the 20th century.

But Peter Bishop, a University of Houston future studies professor, isn’t ready to go that far, at least not yet.

“I don’t put nanotechnology in the same category as some of the more disruptive technologies in our history like machines, coal, railroads, telephone or electricity,” he said.

Instead he says nanotechnology will be more of an invisible, under-the-hood technology that provides incremental changes and allows people to do things better. He says nanotechnology may be more like the plastics of the 21st century.

“No one called the middle of the last century the plastics era, but it certainly was an important step forward in materials science,” he said.

We’ll just have to wait until the buckyball’s golden anniversary to settle the question.

UPDATE

In recent years, Houston universities and Texas Medical Center institutions have continued to invest resources in nanotechnology, cementing Houston as a national research hub for all things on the nano scale.

In 2013, Rice university took the logical step creating the Department of Material Sciences and Nanoengineering, two fields that Rice researchers have dominated for years.

Two years later, the university was tapped by the National Science Foundation to establish the Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment Systems, Houston’s first NSF Energy Research Center and the third in Texas.

That same year, the university announced it would invest $49 million in molecular nanotechnology.

The University of Houston launched its first nanotechology spinoff in 2013; Integricote, based in the university’s Energy Research Park, produces protective coatings for wood and masonry, based on the work of physicist Seamus Curran.

Several other nanotech-based products for the energy industry are undergoing commercial testing, including an enhanced oil recovery fluid developed by physicist Zhifeng Ren, a pioneer in working with carbon nanotubes recruited from Boston College in 2013, and a “smart” cement, developed by engineer Cumaraswamy Vipulanandan, that can alert engineers to potential problems with a well before they become dangerous.

In 2010, Houston Methodist made a major investment in the future of nanotechnology by poaching nanomedicine pioneer Dr. Mauro Ferrari from the University of Texas Health Science Center to run the Houston Methodist Research Institute.

While there, Ferrari has continued to pursue his research including a nano-based technology that has been shown in mouse studies to destroy a lethal-type of breast cancer after it reached the lungs, a stage of the disease once considered untreatable.

Likewise, Ferrari has recruited a crop of highly-regarded scientists to the Institute where they continue to develop new ways to merge nanotechnology and medicine.

One such recruit, Dr. Alessandro Grattoni who now leads the Institute’s Department of Nanomedicine, recently the launched the first of its kind Center of Space Nanomedicine.

Last year, Grattoni and his team had one of their experiments conducted aboard the International Space Station. That experiment involved testing a device that uses “nano channels” to deliver medication in a super precise manner. Another experiment is set to be launched in April.

– Kim McGuire

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25 years later, buckyball a big find on small scale – Chron.com

Bioinspired process makes materials light, robust, programmable at nano- to macro-scale – Science Daily


Science Daily
Bioinspired process makes materials light, robust, programmable at nano– to macro-scale
Science Daily
Researchers at Tufts University's School of Engineering have developed a new bioinspired technique that transforms silk protein into complex materials that are easily programmable at the nano-, micro- and macro-scales as well as ultralight and robust.

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Bioinspired process makes materials light, robust, programmable at nano- to macro-scale – Science Daily

Nanoengineers 3-D print biomimetic blood vessel networks … – Science Daily


Science Daily
Nanoengineers 3-D print biomimetic blood vessel networks …
Science Daily
Nanoengineers have 3-D printed a lifelike, functional blood vessel network that could pave the way toward artificial organs and regenerative therapies. The new …

and more »

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Nanoengineers 3-D print biomimetic blood vessel networks … – Science Daily

Nano-sized hydrogen storage system increases efficiency – Space Daily

Lawrence Livermore scientists have collaborated with an interdisciplinary team of researchers including colleagues from Sandia National Laboratories to develop an efficient hydrogen storage system that could be a boon for hydrogen powered vehicles.

Hydrogen is an excellent energy carrier, but the development of lightweight solid-state materials for compact, low-pressure storage is a huge challenge.

Complex metal hydrides are a promising class of hydrogen storage materials, but their viability is usually limited by slow hydrogen uptake and release. Nanoconfinement – infiltrating the metal hydride within a matrix of another material such as carbon – can, in certain instances, help make this process faster by shortening diffusion pathways for hydrogen or by changing the thermodynamic stability of the material.

However, the Livermore-Sandia team, in conjunction with collaborators from Mahidol University in Thailand and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, showed that nanoconfinement can have another, potentially more important consequence. They found that the presence of internal “nano-interfaces” within nanoconfined hydrides can alter which phases appear when the material is cycled.

The researchers examined the high-capacity lithium nitride (Li3N) hydrogen storage system under nanoconfinement. Using a combination of theoretical and experimental techniques, they showed that the pathways for the uptake and release of hydrogen were fundamentally changed by the presence of nano-interfaces, leading to dramatically faster performance and reversibility. The research appears on the cover of the Feb. 23 edition of the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.

“The key is to get rid of the undesirable intermediate phases, which slow down the material’s performance as they are formed or consumed. If you can do that, then the storage capacity kinetics dramatically improve and the thermodynamic requirements to achieve full recharge become far more reasonable,” said Brandon Wood, an LLNL materials scientist and lead author of the paper.

“In this material, the nano-interfaces do just that, as long as the nanoconfined particles are small enough. It’s really a new paradigm for hydrogen storage, since it means that the reactions can be changed by engineering internal microstructures.”

The Livermore researchers used a thermodynamic modeling method that goes beyond conventional descriptions to consider the contributions from the evolving solid phase boundaries as the material is hydrogenated and dehydrogenated. They showed that accounting for these contributions eliminates intermediates in nanoconfined lithium nitride, which was confirmed spectroscopically.

Beyond demonstrating nanoconfined lithium nitride as a rechargeable, high-performing hydrogen-storage material, the work establishes that proper consideration of solid-solid nanointerfaces and particle microstructure are necessary for understanding hydrogen-induced phase transitions in complex metal hydrides.

“There is a direct analogy between hydrogen storage reactions and solid-state reactions in battery electrode materials,” said Tae Wook Heo, another LLNL co-author on the study.

“People have been thinking about the role of interfaces in batteries for some time, and our work suggests that some of the same strategies being pursued in the battery community could also be applied to hydrogen storage. Tailoring morphology and internal microstructure could be the best way forward for engineering materials that could meet performance targets.”

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Nano-sized hydrogen storage system increases efficiency – Space Daily

The Tiny Robots Will See You Now – IEEE Spectrum

Over the past week, weve highlighted a lot of big, impressive robots. Now its time to pay homage to their teeny, tiny counterparts.

Its science-fiction-turned-reality: Researchers are developing micro- and nanoscale robots that move freely in the body, communicate with each other, perform jobs, and degrade when their mission is complete. These tiny robots will someday have a major impact on disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, according to a new review in Science Robotics from a top nanoengineering teamat the University of California, San Diego.

The review highlights four areas of medicine where tiny robots have been successfully used in proof-of-concept studies: targeted delivery, precision surgery, sensing of biological targets, and detoxification. Of those, active drug delivery is primarily the most promising commercial application of medical microrobots, said paper co-author Joseph Wang, chair of nanoengineering at UCSD, in an email to IEEE Spectrum. In December, for example, researchers at ETH Zurich in Switzerland showed that a wire-shaped nanorobot could be wirelessly steered toward a location and then triggered by a magnetic field to release drugs to kill cancer cells.

To get to know these little machines better before we meet them in the doctors office, here are five things to know about micro- and nanorobots:

1. They are hard to moveand even harder to power.

Two of the key challenges of miniaturizing robots to the micro- and nanoscales are locomotion and power. You simply cant fit gears or a battery on these guys. Many of the robots employ a swimming strategy and are either chemically powered or externally powered by magnetic fields or other energies, including light, heat, or electricity. One of Wangs favorites is a nanorocket his team developed that propels itself in the stomach or gastrointestinal tract using gastric fluid as fuel and leaving a trail of bubbles in its wake. Still, the field continues to look for new energy sources that last longer that current sources and will work autonomously, without a technicians intervention.

2. They can perform surgery.

Robot-assisted surgery is now common, translating doctors hand movements to smaller, precise motions inside a patients body. Now, imagine that on the nanoscale. Scientists are developing nanodrillers, microgrippers, and other tools to be injected into the body, travel to particular areas in the body, and then capture or remove certain tissues, such as a clump of cells for biopsy. In one recent example, researchers constructed a tube-like microrobot that performed surgery, injecting a needle into the back of a living rabbits eye. The motion of the robot was controlled with magnetic fields.

3. Theyll cooperate via swarm intelligence.

Micro- and nanorobots arent expected to work alone; hundreds to thousands of units will cooperate to do a job. These microrobots can swarm into small schools to perform a collective action, says Wang. For that to happen, scientists will need to instill de-centralized communication called swarm intelligence. That can be done using group motion planning and machine learning, according to the paper.

4. Theyre designed to destroy themselves after completing a mission.

Lets be honestno one wants a bunch of nanobots sticking around inside of their body once the job is done, whether it be surgery, drug delivery, or something else. So scientists are constructing the robots out of biodegradable materials that stay in a patients body for a limited amount of time, and then are cleared or disappear once the job is completed.

5. Theyre being used in live animals.

Wangs nanorocket, mentioned earlier, was the first artificial micromotor to be tested in a live mouse model. Today, more labs are testing their tech in live animals, says Wang, including at ETH Zurich and the University of Montreal. If successful, this in vivo work should lead to clinical trials in humans, says Wang. Who wants to sign up first?

IEEE Spectrums biomedical blog, featuring the wearable sensors, big data analytics, and implanted devices that enable new ventures in personalized medicine.

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Excerpt from:

The Tiny Robots Will See You Now – IEEE Spectrum

Bioinspired process makes materials light, robust, programmable at … – Phys.Org

February 27, 2017 A new bioinspired process developed at Tufts University combines top-down and bottom-up assembly to turn silk protein into materials that are easily programmable at the nano-, micro- and macro-scales; ultralight; and robust. This web of silk nano fibers was able to sustain a load 4,000 times its own weight. Credit: Silk Lab / Tufts University

Researchers at Tufts University’s School of Engineering have developed a new bioinspired technique that transforms silk protein into complex materials that are easily programmable at the nano-, micro- and macro-scales as well as ultralight and robust. Among the varied structures generated was a web of silk nano fibers able to withstand a load 4,000 times its own weight. The research is published online in Nature Nanotechnology on February 27.

Structural proteins are nature’s building blocks, forming materials that provide stiffness, structure and function in biological systems. A major obstacle to fabricating comparable synthetic materials is natural materials’ hierarchical structure which confers unique properties from the molecular to the macro level. When scientists try to emulate this structure, they often find that control at one scale hinders control at other scales.

The Tufts researchers combined bottom-up self-assembly characteristic of natural materials with directed, top-down assembly to simultaneously control geometry at all scales, micro-mechanical constraints and solvent-removal dynamicsall of which determine biomaterial properties.

“We generated controllable, multi-scale materials that could be readily engineered with dopant agents. While silk is our main focus, we believe this approach is applicable to other biomaterials and composites and synthetic hydrogels,” said corresponding author Fiorenzo Omenetto, Ph.D., Frank C. Doble Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Omenetto also has an appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and in the Department of Physics within the School of Arts and Sciences.

With the new technique, centimeter-scale silicone molds were patterned with micro-scale features no thicker than a human hair. An aqueous fibroin protein gel derived from silkworm cocoons was injected into the molds and then mechanically stressed by contraction of the gel in the presence of water and ethanol and/or physical deformation of the entire mold. As the system dried, the silk protein’s structure naturally transformed to a more robust beta-sheet crystal. The material’s final shape and mechanical properties were precisely engineered by controlling the micro-scale mold pattern, gel contraction, mold deformation and silk dehydration.

“The final result of our process is a stable architecture of aligned nano fibers, similar to natural silk but offering us the opportunity to engineer functionality into the material,” said first author Peter Tseng, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar in Omenetto’s Silk Lab at Tufts’ School of Engineering.

In some of the experiments the Tufts researchers doped the silk gel with gold nanoparticles which were able to transport heat when exposed to light.

Tseng noted that webs spun by spiders are structurally dense rather than porous. “In contrast, our web structure is aerated, porous and ultra-light while also robust to human touch, which may enable every-day applications in the future,” he said. A 2 to 3 cm diameter web weighing approximately 2.5 mg was able to support an 11 gram weight.

Explore further: Engineers create programmable silk-based materials with embedded, pre-designed functions

More information: Peter Tseng et al, Directed assembly of bio-inspired hierarchical materials with controlled nanofibrillar architectures, Nature Nanotechnology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2017.4

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Bioinspired process makes materials light, robust, programmable at … – Phys.Org

Compact hydrogen storage gets a boost | The Engineer – The Engineer

An international team of researchers has used nano-engineering to speed up the charge and recharge cycle of compact, solid-state hydrogen storage materials.

Solid metal hydrides are seen as a potential fuel source for powering hydrogen vehicles, but are usually limited by slow hydrogen uptake and release. But scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), working with colleagues from Sandia National Laboratories, Thailands Mahidol University, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, have developed a technique to overcome this.

The researchers found that nanoconfinement infiltrating the metal hydride within a matrix of another material such as carbon can have the effect of shortening the diffusion pathways for hydrogen, making the hydride a more efficient fuel source. Using a high-capacity lithium nitride (Li3N) hydrogen storage system under nanoconfinement, they also discovered that internal nano-interfaces could alter the phases produced when the material is cycled, further boosting performance. The research is reported in the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.

The key is to get rid of the undesirable intermediate phases, which slow down the materials performance as they are formed or consumed, said Brandon Wood, an LLNL materials scientist and lead author of the paper. If you can do that, then the storage capacity kinetics dramatically improve and the thermodynamic requirements to achieve full recharge become far more reasonable.

In this material, the nano-interfaces do just that, as long as the nanoconfined particles are small enough. Its really a new paradigm for hydrogen storage, since it means that the reactions can be changed by engineering internal microstructures.

According to the team, the discovery that interfaces can play a pivotal role in hydrogen storage materials is not hugely surprising, as engineers have been exploring the same phenomenon in battery electrodes for a few years.

There is a direct analogy between hydrogen storage reactions and solid-state reactions in battery electrode materials, said Tae Wook Heo, another LLNL co-author on the study. People have been thinking about the role of interfaces in batteries for some time, and our work suggests that some of the same strategies being pursued in the battery community could also be applied to hydrogen storage.

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Compact hydrogen storage gets a boost | The Engineer – The Engineer

Engineering undergrads use DNA origami to target cancer – University of California

A team of engineering students has a cancer-fighting idea up its sleeve and the sleeve is nanoscale.

The idea is based on a new cutting-edge research tool called DNA origami in which scientists literally fold the molecules of life into two- and three-dimensional shapes. The UC San Diego team plans to compete in Harvard’s BIOMOD 2017 competition a molecular design competition for undergraduates.

Researchers have already proven that DNA origami works by folding the genetic material into shapes such as stars, smiley faces and even a bunny. However, the UC San Diego students are not folding DNA for aesthetics alone. They are breaking the double-stranded DNA formations found in nature to create molecular structures in which they hope to hide cancer drugs like a Trojan horse.

The studentsare incorporating folic acid a protein that is upregulated in cancer cells into the DNA to target the cargo to cancer cells.

Researchers all over the world are exploring the applications of DNA origami in fields like therapeutics and bioelectronics. Were applying it to targeted drug delivery, said Raina Borum, a fourth year nanoengineering major and the team lead for the project.

The team chose to design a sleevethink Christmas stockingto carry the hidden cargo. But the shape isnt what makes the design unique.

Whats really unique about our project is that we are incorporating folic acida protein that is upregulated in cancer cellsinto the sleeve of DNA to target the cargo to the cancer cell, said Borum. Folic acid is a protein that scientists look for when determining the presence of cancer. The further along a cancer is, the higher the density of the folic acid receptor on the cell surface.

The students believe that by weaving folic acid into the DNA sleeve, the cargo will be taken up exclusively by cancer cells. And, since DNA is a naturally occurring substance in cells, it wont be rejected.

Because double-stranded DNA is made up of complementary nucleic acid base pairs, scientists have figured out how to deliberately position small staple strands of DNA alongside a longer scaffold strand and cause it to self-assemble into two- and three-dimensional nanostructures.

Knowing that DNA is negatively charged, the students hypothesize that it will bind tightly to a positively charged nanoparticle incorporating the cancer drug.

The team is competing in BIOMOD, a molecular design competition hosted by Harvard that has generated impressive results in the past. Previous winners have used DNA, RNA, and proteins as building blocks to create autonomous robots, molecular computers, and prototypes for nanoscale therapeutics.

The UC San Diego teams goals are just as big, if not bigger.

Alejandro Alva, a fourth year nanoengineering major, joined the team because of complications with his scoliosis surgery. During the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school, I underwent a scoliosis repair surgery. The surgery left me with nerve damage and two spinal cord injuries. I became determined to change this for future generations and wanted to push myself to study a newer and more cutting-edge field of engineering. I hope to one day invent ways to make surgeries less invasive and ease the replacement of lungs or other organs. I joined this team in order to get exposure to the field of nanomedicine and begin my journey to better the lives of others.

For Borum, the project has been a highlight of her time at UC San Diego.

Being a part of this team has been incredibly empowering, she said. Im surrounded by students with polished communication skills and extensive backgrounds in medical and nanoscale engineering. To now call them my friends is even more special.

And for another student on the team, it means keeping a promise.

I made a promise to my mom when I came here that I would help cure diseases, said Hamid Razavi, a transfer student from Iran majoring in nanoengineering who is also on the team. When I heard about this project, I knew I could keep that promise.

The team also consists of second year bioengineering studentKyo Johnny Koo, and fourth year nanoengineering students Zandra Rojo and Quyen Hoang.

UC San Diego NanoEngineering professor Yi Chen is a faculty mentor. Another mentor is former nanoengineering professor Sadik Esener, who is now director of the Center for Early Detection Research at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

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Engineering undergrads use DNA origami to target cancer – University of California

Nano-sized hydrogen storage system increases efficiency – Science Daily


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Nano-sized hydrogen storage system increases efficiency
Science Daily
"In this material, the nano-interfaces do just that, as long as the nanoconfined particles are small enough. It's really a new paradigm for hydrogen storage, since it means that the reactions can be changed by engineering internal microstructures.".

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Nano-sized hydrogen storage system increases efficiency – Science Daily

Micro-Optics and the World of Nano 3D Printing – ENGINEERING.com

When zoomed into the nanoscale, its possible to see that tiny universe as just as immense and complex as the universe of planets, galaxies and other macro phenomena. And, while many in the 3D printing industry may be focused in our day-to-day lives on the macro, there are those like Nanoscribe who work to advance 3D printing at the nanoscale.

Microscopic lenses 3D printed using Nanoscribes technology. (Image courtesy of Nanoscribe.)

Nanoscribe has developed a unique method for 3D printing photopolymers that can be leveraged to create the tiniest objects for some of the most breakthrough applications, including optics, electronics and medical device manufacturing. Piqued by a recent breakthrough in the use of Nanoscribes technology to create nano-optics, ENGINEERING.com spoke with the companys CEO, Martin Hermatschweiler, and head of Sales & Marketing, Andreas Frlich, to learn more.

After about six years of research, Nanoscribe was spun out of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany in 2007. It was at KIT that foundations for a process called two-photon polymerization was developed.

Two-photon polymerization is similar to more familiar types of photopolymerization like stereolithography and digital light processing, in that a light-sensitive photopolymer is selectively cured using a light source. The difference with Nanoscribes technology, however, is that it is capable of very fine details.

This is possible through the use of a high-powered laser, which directs two photons of near-infrared light in ultrashort pulses at a photocurable resin. Piezo-driven actuators and focusing optics, combined with this laser technology, enable the process to print details finer than 200 nm (7.9 in).

Two-photon polymerization was commercialized through the Photonic Professional GT 3D printing systems. Hermatschweiler pointed out that, though the companys machines are capable of printing tiny objects, they are not limited to such small details.

Today, Nanoscribe offers 3D printers for the nano-, micro- and mesoscale as well as photoresists and process solutions tailored to specific application areas, Hermatschweiler said. [Our] high-tech company has established itself in this field as the technological and global market leader with its laser lithographic processes underlying the technique of two-photon polymerization.

As one might guess, the applications for such a technology are highly specialized, leaving its primary use for those in the research field. Our primary customers are universities and research facilities in science and industry investigating a vast variety of applications often in multiuser environments. Worldwide, more than 560 users work with our systems, Hermatschweiler explained.

Increasingly, researchers are using the ability to 3D print at the nanoscale to create tiny medical devices for targeted drug delivery. Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, for instance, were able to 3D print nanoscopic fish-shaped objects with platinum loaded onto their tails for propulsion. Coated with iron oxide on their tips, these swimmers could be magnetically directed to a specific spot to perform toxic cleanup.

Nanoscribes facilities. (Image courtesy of Nanoscribe.)

Hermatschweiler mentioned some of the other work that is being achieved in the biomedical field. [R]esearchers of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) described how the reproduction of the natural biological microenvironment in vitro should improve the understanding of cell behavior for exploiting cell functions in various health-care applications. They 3D printed bone trabeculae obtained by -CT scans of a biopsy from the human femoral neck, Hermatschweiler said.

Less tangible applications include the creation of nearly invisible sculptures, something that artist Jonty Hurwitz did with Nanoscribes platform. Unfortunately for Hurwitz, however, these sculptures are only visible under a microscope, and a breath of air caused them to be blown away, where they became lost among the dust particles of the surrounding room.

Hermatschweiler spoke further on the exact use cases for the technology. The multitude of applications is ranging from optics and photonics, to complex structures for the microfluidics, 3D templates for cell migration and stem cell differentiation studies up to the fabrication of micro machines for life sciences. As disruptive technology, 3D laser lithography is an enabler for novel applications and will provide solutions for a broad range of industrial applications, e.g., in fields of optical interconnections, micro-sized parts or in the fabrication of micro-optical elements.

The creation of micro-optical elements is one of the latest breakthroughs achieved with Nanoscribes technology. Due to the ability to 3D print free-form objects at such a small scale, the Photonic Professional GT has proven ideal for 3D printing microscopic optical lenses for a new generation of microchips.

Researchers from the University of Stuttgart 3D printed doublet lenses directly onto CMOS image sensors to create a high-performance and compact imaging system. Printed as an array 1 square centimeter in total and semispheres with a height of 150 m, the lenses have a shape accuracy that is better than 1 m and a surface roughness that is better than 10 nm Ra.

Microscopic lenses of different sizes are grouped together in bundles of four to replicate the mechanics of the fovea. (Image courtesy of Science Advances.)

Frlich explained the implications of the research, Micro-optical components are pretty much commonplace in a lot of devices ranging from optical instrumentation to consumer electronics. However, it is not an easy task to get master-shapes for their cheap and reliable production, for example, by injection molding. Our high-precision 3D printing solutions enable the micro-optics industry to innovate by additive manufacturing. Masters can be fabricated as well as a broad range of almost arbitrary micro-optical shapes, including standard refractive micro-optics, freeform optics, diffractive optical elements or even multiplet lens systems, can now be printed in a one-step process.

The images above demonstrate the type of image that the foveated lenses can capture. (Image courtesy of Science Advances.)

The lenses mimic foveated vision, a type of vision that enables predators to focus on a single object within a wide field of view made possible by a small area of color-sensing cones, called the fovea, located at the back of the eye. The fovea is the only part of the eye where light hits the cones directly, making that area of vision clearer than the lower resolution areas surrounding it.

To replicate this ability, the researchers used a set of four different sized lenses, some that see from a wide angle and others that have a more focused view. The various images are then combined digitally. In addition to foveated vision, the camera developed by the Stuttgart team is extremely small, which is necessary for the increasingly small world of electronics, as well as the world of medical devices.

[R]esearchers at the University of Stuttgart demonstrated that Nanoscribes 3D printers have the potential to pave the way for the construction of novel and extremely small endoscopes which are suited for the smallest body openings or machine parts that can be inspected, Frlich said.

As researchers like those at the University of Stuttgart forge ahead with their research, so too will Nanoscribe according to Frlich. We continuously work on expanding our capabilities in micro-optics. The next step will be to make our in-house developed know-how about microlens mastering using the two-photon polymerization technology available in the form of a solution that can be used with our Photonic Professional GT printers.

To learn more about Nanoscribes work and technology, head to the companys website.

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Micro-Optics and the World of Nano 3D Printing – ENGINEERING.com

Nano-sized hydrogen storage system increases efficiency – Phys.Org

February 24, 2017 by Anne M Stark Hydrogenation forms a mixture of lithium amide and hydride (light blue) as an outer shell around a lithium nitride particle (dark blue) nanoconfined in carbon. Nanoconfinement suppresses all other intermediate phases to prevent interface formation, which has the effect of dramatically improving the hydrogen storage performance. Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Lawrence Livermore scientists have collaborated with an interdisciplinary team of researchers including colleagues from Sandia National Laboratories to develop an efficient hydrogen storage system that could be a boon for hydrogen powered vehicles.

Hydrogen is an excellent energy carrier, but the development of lightweight solid-state materials for compact, low-pressure storage is a huge challenge.

Complex metal hydrides are a promising class of hydrogen storage materials, but their viability is usually limited by slow hydrogen uptake and release. Nanoconfinementinfiltrating the metal hydride within a matrix of another material such as carboncan, in certain instances, help make this process faster by shortening diffusion pathways for hydrogen or by changing the thermodynamic stability of the material.

However, the Livermore-Sandia team, in conjunction with collaborators from Mahidol University in Thailand and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, showed that nanoconfinement can have another, potentially more important consequence. They found that the presence of internal “nano-interfaces” within nanoconfined hydrides can alter which phases appear when the material is cycled.

The researchers examined the high-capacity lithium nitride (Li3N) hydrogen storage system under nanoconfinement. Using a combination of theoretical and experimental techniques, they showed that the pathways for the uptake and release of hydrogen were fundamentally changed by the presence of nano-interfaces, leading to dramatically faster performance and reversibility. The research appears on the cover of the Feb. 23 edition of the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.

“The key is to get rid of the undesirable intermediate phases, which slow down the material’s performance as they are formed or consumed. If you can do that, then the storage capacity kinetics dramatically improve and the thermodynamic requirements to achieve full recharge become far more reasonable,” said Brandon Wood, an LLNL materials scientist and lead author of the paper. “In this material, the nano-interfaces do just that, as long as the nanoconfined particles are small enough. It’s really a new paradigm for hydrogen storage, since it means that the reactions can be changed by engineering internal microstructures.”

The Livermore researchers used a thermodynamic modeling method that goes beyond conventional descriptions to consider the contributions from the evolving solid phase boundaries as the material is hydrogenated and dehydrogenated. They showed that accounting for these contributions eliminates intermediates in nanoconfined lithium nitride, which was confirmed spectroscopically.

Beyond demonstrating nanoconfined lithium nitride as a rechargeable, high-performing hydrogen-storage material, the work establishes that proper consideration of solid-solid nanointerfaces and particle microstructure are necessary for understanding hydrogen-induced phase transitions in complex metal hydrides.

“There is a direct analogy between hydrogen storage reactions and solid-state reactions in battery electrode materials,” said Tae Wook Heo, another LLNL co-author on the study. “People have been thinking about the role of interfaces in batteries for some time, and our work suggests that some of the same strategies being pursued in the battery community could also be applied to hydrogen storage. Tailoring morphology and internal microstructure could be the best way forward for engineering materials that could meet performance targets.”

Explore further: Carbon-free energy from solar water splitting

More information: Brandon C. Wood et al. Nanointerface-Driven Reversible Hydrogen Storage in the Nanoconfined Li-N-H System, Advanced Materials Interfaces (2017). DOI: 10.1002/admi.201600803

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