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Nanoengineering – Wikipedia

Nanoengineering is the practice of engineering on the nanoscale. It derives its name from the nanometre, a unit of measurement equalling one billionth of a meter.

Nanoengineering is largely a synonym for nanotechnology, but emphasizes the engineering rather than the pure science aspects of the field.

The first nanoengineering program was started at the University of Toronto within the Engineering Science program as one of the options of study in the final years. In 2003, the Lund Institute of Technology started a program in Nanoengineering. In 2004, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at SUNY Polytechnic Institute was established on the campus of the University at Albany. In 2005, the University of Waterloo established a unique program which offers a full degree in Nanotechnology Engineering. [1]Louisiana Tech University started the first program in the U.S. in 2005. In 2006 the University of Duisburg-Essen started a Bachelor and a Master program NanoEngineering. [2] Unlike early NanoEngineering programs, the first Nanoengineering Department in the world, offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees, was established by the University of California, San Diego in 2007. In 2009, the University of Toronto began offering all Options of study in Engineering Science as degrees, bringing the second nanoengineering degree to Canada. Rice University established in 2016 a Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering (MSNE). DTU Nanotech – the Department of Micro- and Nanotechnology – is a department at the Technical University of Denmark established in 1990.

In 2013, Wayne State University began offering a Nanoengineering Undergraduate Certificate Program, which is funded by a Nanoengineering Undergraduate Education (NUE) grant from the National Science Foundation. The primary goal is to offer specialized undergraduate training in nanotechnology. Other goals are: 1) to teach emerging technologies at the undergraduate level, 2) to train a new adaptive workforce, and 3) to retrain working engineers and professionals.[3]

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Nanoengineering – Wikipedia

Freeze-Dried Foam Soaks Up Carbon Dioxide – Photonics Online – Photonics Online

Rice Scientists Lead Effort To Make Novel 3-D Material

Rice University Materials Scientists Have Created A Light Foam From Two-Dimensional Sheets Of Hexagonal-Boron Nitride (H-BN) That Absorbs Carbon Dioxide.

They Discovered Freeze-Drying H-BN Turned It Into A Macro-Scale Foam That Disintegrates In Liquids. But Adding A Bit Of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) Into The Mix Transformed It Into A Far More Robust And Useful Material.

The Foam Is Highly Porous And Its Properties Can Be Tuned For Use In Air Filters And As Gas Absorption Materials, According To Researchers In The Rice Lab Of Materials Scientist Pulickel Ajayan.

Their Work Appears In The American Chemical Society Journal ACS Nano.

The Polyvinyl Alcohol Serves As A Glue. Mixed Into A Solution With Flakes Of H-BN, It Binds The Junctions As The Microscopic Sheets Arrange Themselves Into A Lattice When Freeze-Dried. The One-Step Process Is Scalable, The Researchers Said.

Even A Very Small Amount Of PVA Works, Said Co-Author And Rice Postdoctoral Researcher Chandra Sekhar Tiwary. It Helps Make The Foam Stiff By Gluing The Interconnects Between The H-BN Sheets And At The Same Time, It Hardly Changes The Surface Area At All.

In Molecular Dynamics Simulations, The Foam Adsorbed 340 Percent Of Its Own Weight In Carbon Dioxide. The Greenhouse Gas Can Be Evaporated Out Of The Material, Which Can Be Reused Repeatedly, Tiwary Said. Compression Tests Showed The Foam Got Stiffer Through 2,000 Cycles As Well.

And When Coated With PDMS, Another Polymer, The Foam Becomes An Effective Shield From Lasers That Could Be Used In Biomedical, Electronics And Other Applications, He Said.

Ultimately, The Researchers Want To Gain Control Over The Size Of The Materials Pores For Specific Applications, Like Separating Oil From Water. Simulations Carried Out By Co-Author Cristiano Woellner, A Joint Postdoctoral Researcher At Rice And The State University Of Campinas, Brazil, Could Serve As A Guide For Experimentalists.

Its Important To Join Experiments And Theoretical Calculations To See The Mechanical Response Of This Composite, Woellner Said. This Way, Experimentalists Will See In Advance How They Can Improve The System.

About Rice University Rice Graduate Student Peter Owuor Is Lead Author Of The Paper. Co-Authors Are Ok-Kyung Park, A Visiting Scholar At Rice And A Postdoctoral Researcher At Chonbuk National University, Republic Of Korea; Rice Postdoctoral Researchers Almaz Jalilov And Rodrigo Villegas Salvatierra And Graduate Students Luong Xuan Duy, Sandhya Susarla And Jarin Joyner; Rice Alumnus Sehmus Ozden, Now A Postdoctoral Fellow At Los Alamos National Laboratory; Robert Vajtai, A Senior Faculty Fellow At Rice; Jun Lou, A Rice Professor Of Materials Science And Nanoengineering; And James Tour, Rices T.T. And W.F. Chao Chair In Chemistry As Well As A Professor Of Computer Science And Of Materials Science And Nanoengineering; And Professor Douglas Galvo Of The State University Of Campinas. Ajayan Is Chair Of Rices Department Of Materials Science And Nanoengineering, The Benjamin M. And Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor In Engineering And A Professor Of Chemistry.

The Air Force Office Of Scientific Research And Its Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Funded The Research.

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Freeze-Dried Foam Soaks Up Carbon Dioxide – Photonics Online – Photonics Online

Are Nano-Metals Dead on Arrival? – Machine Design

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Thousands of years before current era (BCE), people were using copper. Tin was added a few hundred years later, thus sparking the Bronze Age. This first work in metallurgy would set the pace for inventions, world economies, and wars won through the knowledge of controlling these elements. Today, knowledge is still the key.

This article will cover some of the successes and challenges in bringing these revolutionary materials to market. First, what are nano-metals? They are defined as metals controlled or altered on a nanometer scale. Sometimes it represents a buzzword for a new alloy or composite that may or may not actually be altered at the nano-level.

Nano-Metals in Automotive

With the push for more fuel-efficient and safer vehicles, high-strength steels are showing up in more white bodies of vehicles today. While aluminum might sound like a natural switch, the amount of material needed to match the strength of steel would require new molds as well as adjustments to the equipment for the change in volume.

Many studies in lightweighting vehicles focus on the body in white. It consists of the vehicles non-moving parts, and is usually made of sheet-metal components. Many of the metals in cars today did not exist 15 to 20 years ago, says Dave Paratore, President and CEO for NanoSteel (Courtesy of Honda).

Ford invested heavily in this, but not all car manufacturers have the ability to make the necessary upgrades. Other automotive manufacturers are looking for advanced high-strength steels that will work with current production lines. Many alloys can increase strength, but this would alter the metals formability properties, causing them to crack when being stamped into the desired shapes.

This challenge led NanoSteel, based in Providence, R.I., to experiment with novel recipes and thermochemistry to produce, in bulk, a new type of steel that contains nanoscale microstructures. Such a construct can deliver unique combinations of strength and ductility. The company uses conventional steel alloying elements, but in novel ratios. Process control and alloying ratios dictate the resulting properties. The end result is stronger, formable steel thats designed to be used in todays automotive plants.

The auto industry is pushing for third-generation, advanced high-strength steels. The materials properties arent specifically defined, but the figure shows the target for the tensile strengths and elongation percentages of the current and target third-generation materials.

Nano-metals help reduce the weight of vehicles while increasing strength. This is just one example of how the slightest adjustments in chemistry can affect the final product.

Microalloying

If the ratio is such an important factor, how much of an alloy can change a metals property?

Many additives might be as little as 0.5% of a specific alloy, but as little as 0.03% of them have been used to alter properties. This slight addition changes the microstructure of the product. Often, steels will increase in strength, because alloys can slow the recrystallization of austenite that causes the grain size to become finer.

Another example is that small amounts of niobium and vanadium can improve surface hardness, which in turn increases resistance to wear, also known as carbonitriding. Refining the grain size, shape, and dispersion of slight additions of alloy can hone metals to cater to a wide range of material properties, including cold processes.

Along those lines, the article Microalloying Strengthens Steel illustrates that point: With resulfurized 1144 steel, a carbon grade often chosen for its machinability, a light cold drawing increases its yield strength by 15,000 psi, and a heavier drafting boosts it to 25,000 psi. If vanadium is added, yield strength further increases to about 20,000 psi. Adding vanadium and nitrogen typically increases yield strength by about 30,000 psi. This strength increase is retained after cold drawing.

Furthermore, microalloying can eliminate the need for annealing in some cases. Between increasing strengths, improving machinability, and reducing energy in post-processing, microalloying demonstrates the importance of understanding the slightest adjustments in chemistry.

Process Control and Layers

How does the process affect the materials properties? Case in point: By controlling the steel manufacturing process, it is possible to surround martensite with ferrite. This allows the metal to be ductile due to the ferrite, but have the dispersed strong (but brittle) martensite to absorb energy effectively, increasing ductility and strength. This has been a success in the automotive industry. A metal with this composition makes for lightweight, but strong, steel for crumple zones (crumple zones are areas of a vehicle designed to absorb energy in a collision).

The balance between ductility and strength is a battle thats actually been played out since the times of the Samurai. Folding steel in layers let a Samurais sword become hard to keep its edge, but ductile enough so it wouldnt shatter when struck. Taking these alloying concepts, and combining them with layers and new processes, is now revolutionizing multiple industries and markets.

Modumetal worked with the state of Washington to test guardrails made from laminated nanometals. While they showed better performance at a competitive price, the government enforces a standard that prohibits the Department of Transportation from using this material.

Seattle-basedModumetal Inc. is applying the Samurai sword concept and pushing it to the nanometer scale, using a patented, industrial-scale electrochemical process to produce a class of materials called nano-laminated alloys. In the process, metal is electrochemically deposited onto a substrate in nano-scale layers that can vary in composition or microstructure, or both. The end result is an entirely new way of enhancing material properties, including dramatically improved strength, toughness, corrosion, thermal, and wear characteristics, to name a few. In addition, Modumetal is able to mass-produce these metals at a competitive price.

Metal Matrix Composites

The design requirement to make products lighter but still maintain their productivity has increased the demand on metal matrix composites (MMCs). These materials are being used in a variety of industries, including automotive and aerospace applications.

Metal matrix composites (MMC) might not necessarily be a nano-metalin the case of dispersion hardening, it may not even be layered. However, engineering isnt about buzzwordsits about solving problems. Some benefits engineers are finding with MMCs include higher temperature capability, fire resistance, higher transverse stiffness and strength, no moisture absorption, higher electrical and thermal conductivities, and better radiation resistance. Demand for these properties and lightweight parts has driven the market especially for aluminum MMCsaluminum currently represents the largest segment (about 30%) of the MMC market.

Dispersion hardening is a non-layered example of a MMC. Controlling the MMC manufacturing can lead to nano-sized second-phase dispersion of a material within a matrix. Where alloying is generally considered bonding of two or more metals, dispersion hardening suspends a material like fiber glass in an epoxy, and can improve adhesion resistance, flexural strength, toughness, and hardness. This has proven successful in multiple industries, particularly in materials for jet engines and turbines.

Fighting Corrosion

Microalloying and MMCs can improve mechanical properties, but chemical properties could save trillions of dollars worldwide. The National Association of Corrosion Engineers did a study and found that 4.1% of the world GDP is lost to corrosion, says Christina Lomasney, CEO and President of Modumetal.

Electroplating has been around since the 1800s, but has become more sophisticated. In the 1980s, electroplating began to be used to make zinc-nickel (Zn-Ni) coating to protect against corrosion and wear.

This image shows a cross-section (not to scale) of a typical Zn-Ni coating. The three layers of coating consist of a layer of Zn-Ni alloy, covered by a layer of chromate, with a topcoat or sealant on top.

A general mix of 85% zinc and 15% nickel electroplated in layers onto parts has shown to maintain its corrosion resistance even if formed or bent after coating. In addition, Zn-Ni coatings are able to handle thermal stresses. For example, a test was done on zinc versus Zn-Ni costed parts. Results showed that:

The automotive and aerospace industries are talking a lot about nano-metals, but much of that 4.1% lost GDP comes from corroding infrastructure. Electroplating Zn-Ni and nano-metals can increase corrosion resistance, and can help the U.S. get ahead of the rust, but regulations are stopping production.

A Rusty Government

Galvanizing technology was standardized in 1928 under ASTM A123. Today, if you look at the Department of Transportation specifications, the standard to use galvanized material is still pervasively specified everywhere. So we are using technology that is about 100 years old, says Lomasney. I could produce nano-metal guardrails that last 30 times longer than the current galvanized metals, but we would not be able to use them. Before you get angry at the government, remember the DOT is just enforcing what the experts are saying is the best action.

The government tried in 1993 to implement standards that were performance-based, but they were fundamentally flawed. Instead of detailed specifications, the DOT just ended up with standards that would say something like use standard A123, then add a corrosion requirement. This obviously didnt fix the problem.

Now, fortunately, there is a bi-partisan Corrosion Prevention Caucus in the House of Representatives that published the following:

According to a 2001 study by the Federal Highway Administration, corrosion costs the U.S. economy $276 billion every year or roughly 3.1% of our national GDP. When updated to 2015, the cost of corrosion is almost $500 billion annually… When properly installed and maintained, corrosion is largely preventable. Corrosion prevention technologies significantly reduce the risk of harmful effects and the overall financial cost to the U.S. Government.

Recycling Complex Metals

While the caucus fights for new regulations, we must also consider recycling. If standards are based on performance, but say nothing about the materials end-of-life, could stockpiles of valuable metal be added to landfills? When dealing with plastics, some countries have banned custom polymers due to recycling difficulties.

Fortunately, with metals, we are already separating precious metals in the smelting process. The recycling of electronics shows that it is possible to recycle complex metal alloys. However, galvanized steel is easy to recycle, too. Any added energy to recycle nano-metals should be considered.

However, if guardrails made with a nano-metal can last 30 times longer than traditional galvanized steel, galvanized steel would theoretically have to take 1/30th the energy than recycling a nano-metal. In addition, the cost and energy to decommission and commission miles of new guardrails at potentially a 30:1 ratio already put nano-metals at a clear advantage.

Finally, what does it cost? Lomasney says nano-metals are cost-competitive. When considering the return on investment, you have to consider youre eliminating a lot of maintenance and construction cost because they can offer better mechanical and chemical properties than traditional galvanized metals.

From the Bronze Age to the Age of the Samurai, to the industrial and silicon revolutions, history has shown us the importance of material science. If we continue to hold back our technology with outdated or poorly written standards, our economy and infrastructure might also become history.

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Are Nano-Metals Dead on Arrival? – Machine Design

Foraging for fetal cells in mothers’ blood – Chemical & Engineering News

Every pregnant woman who has considered getting a prenatal genetic test is familiar with the dilemma: Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) are the only available diagnostic tests that can say for sure whether a fetus has a devastating genetic disorderbut these tests are invasive, and each carries a small risk of miscarriage. Now, researchers are developing a less invasive test that collects fetal cells from a maternal blood sample using an antibody-coated chip, allowing for conclusive testing for genetic disorders with a simple blood draw (ACS Nano 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b03073).

In amniocentesis and CVS, doctors insert needles or catheters into the uterus to collect placental cells. These cells, called trophoblasts, share the same genome as the developing fetus. But the trophoblasts dont remain exclusively in the uterus. During early pregnancy, the growth of the placenta is a little like the growth of a tumor, says Hsian-Rong Tseng of the University of California, Los Angeles. The placenta grows into and essentially invades the uterus. The end result is that some of the trophoblasts end up circulating in the maternal blood. Tsengs team had previously developed a chip that captures tumor cells from blood samples (Acc. Chem. Res.2014, DOI: 10.1021/ar5001617) and realized they could adapt the method to capturing trophoblasts.

The researchers covered a piece of glass with a forest of nanosized poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) pillars, which provide ample surface area for attaching the bait to capture cells of interest. To capture trophoblasts in particular, Tseng and colleagues attached an antibody that binds to a trophoblast surface protein to the nanopillars. Then, they applied blood samples obtained from six mothers carrying normal male fetuses and nine mothers carrying fetuses with genetic abnormalities, such as trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), to the chip. The nanopillar chip captured 80% of the trophoblasts in blood samples spiked with a known trophoblast concentration, compared with 20 30% for a flat antibody-coated chip, says Tseng. That boost was critical, he says, with only two to six trophoblasts per 2 mL of maternal blood. The researchers still had to use 10 mL of blood to gather enough cells for genetic analysis.

To isolate the fetal cells from others stuck on the chip, the researchers tagged the trophoblasts with fluorescent antibodies and then used laser capture microdissection to collect only those cells that glowed. Using commercial microarrays, they analyzed the trophoblast genotypes, correctly identifying the sex and whether the fetus had genetic abnormalities for all 15 samples, as confirmed with amniocentesis or CVS.

The fishing of the cells is innovative, says Sascha Drewlo of Wayne State University, but he says the approach still needs to overcome significant hurdles before its ready for commercial application, including boosting the number of cells captured and lowering the amount of blood needed for analysis. Tseng is aware of these challenges, and hopes to improve his cell yield in future experiments by obtaining trophoblasts from cervical samples instead of maternal blood. A pap smear sample can yield hundreds of trophoblasts, says Tseng.

Tseng cofounded a company, FetoLumina Technologies, to commercialize the chip technology.

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Foraging for fetal cells in mothers’ blood – Chemical & Engineering News

nanotech.upenn.edu – NANO/BIO INTERFACE CENTER

Charlie Johnson Appointed as New Director of the NBIC [ read more ]

NBIC prepares for NanoDay@Penn 2015 [ read more ]

New Mid-Atlantic Nanotech Hub [ read more ]

Biosensors with transition metal dichalcogenides [ read more ]

Nextgen nanopores [ read more ]

Liver cancer center funded [ read more ]

Light-refracting polymer crystals useful for protective gear [ read more ]

Nano Master’s students Y-Prize Finalists [ read more ]

Materials Research Society Fellows [ read more ]

Potential of new multimodal sensor [ read more ]

Modeling meets biology [ read more ]

National Academy of Inventors Fellow [ read more ]

Nanomembranes to purify wastewater [ read more ]

AFM in Biology Workshop, February 12-13, 2015 [ read more ]

Electronic noses sniff out illness [ watch more ]

$9M to understand cellular motors [ read more ]

Nanopores characterize nanoparticles [ read more ]

Why graphene’s friction increases [ read more ]

NanoDay@Penn 2014 … read more

NBIC Facility Expands Raman Spectroscopy Capacity [ read more ]

NBIC Director talks about graphene and his start-up [ watch more ]

Exemplary research recognition [ read more ]

Teacher as hero award [ read more ]

Early career awards [ read more ]

American Philosophical Society election [ read more ]

NBIC faculty share expertise [ read more ]

NBIC Director featured on radio, TV [ read more ]

Gene Expression Workshop for Educators (5/13/14) [ read more ]

Detecting opiods with a novel, electronic biosensor [ read more ]

Teaching excellence recognized [ read more ]

Opportunity for student research in Grenoble, France … read more

REU applications now being accepted … read more

Minerals, Metals & Materials Society recognizes faculty member … read more

Four NBIC professors recognized with endowed honors … read more

NanoDay@Penn 2013 … read more

Pilot Grants Program (NBIC), 2013 … read more

Dawn Bonnell, NBIC Director, appointed to Vice Provost for Research [ read more ]

GAPSA-Provost Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Innovation [ read more ]

Wear at the nanoscale [ read more ]

Dawn Bonnell Elected to National Academy of Engineering [ read more ]

Shedding New Light on Biological Imaging [ read more ]

AFM workshop at Ibersensor 2012 [ read more ]

Tip Enhanced Raman Scattering Workshop at UPENN [ read more ]

Penn Researchers Create First Custom Designed Protein Crystal [ read more ]

NBIC Distinguished Scholar, Yung Woo Park, Honored on April 2, 2012 [ read more ]

Summer Research Opportunities in France … read more

Job Prospects in Nanotechnology [ read more ]

Progress on the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology Read about the ongoing construction in the [ Penn Current ]

Symposium: Building Cellular Complexity One Molecule at a Time March 30, 2012 … read more

Yung Woo Park, NBIC Visiting Distinguished Scholar Arrives … read more

NanoDay@Penn 2011 … read more

Nano/Bio Interface Center Symposium: Local Probes at the Frontiers of Energy Systems and Biotechnology … read more

Agarwal Group show that ultrafast phototonic devices could operate at speeds a thousand times greater then currently possible … read more

Physical Science in Cancer Research Pilot Program Grants Program (NBIC), 2011 … read more

Innovation Grants Program (NBIC), 2010 … read more

New developments in electronic and optical devices … read more

“Polarization Mediated Properties at Interfaces: A path towardnovel molecular devices” Lecture by Dawn A. Bonnell 4.5.11 … read more

Producing Graphene at Industrial Scale Charlie Johnson and his group (Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Arts and Science) report on a process to create graphene that is just a single layer thick over 95% of its area. [ press release ]

Pilot project program on Physical Science in Cancer Research The Nano/Bio Interface Center announces a Pilot Program for research involving physical science and engineering in cancer research. … read more

Motor Protein High-wire Act Revealed Researchers explain novel approach that reveals myosin motor motion along actin filaments. … read more

Pilot project program on Physical Science in Cancer Research The Nano/Bio Interface Center announces a Pilot Program for research involving physical science and engineering in cancer research. … read more … download PDF

Penn breaks ground for nanotechnology center … read more

New International Research Opportunities for Penn students in France – Summer 2011 The Nano/Bio Interface Center will support all expenses related to travel and accommodations for a 10-week research exchange during the upcoming summer (23 May 29 July). The program is centered at MINATEC in Grenoble, France … read more

Nanotech Student Pizza Party Monday, February 14, 2011 … read more

A Family Event Saturday, February 5, 2011 Philly Materials Day … read more

NANODAYS@PENN 2010 … read more

2010 Award for Research Excellence in Nanotechnology … read more

Science Cafe features Yale Goldman on October 20 … read more

2010 NTI/ECI Nanotech Conference This event will take place on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 from 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, PA. … read more

Graduate Research Award Nominations … read more

The 2010 REU Students Complete Research … read more

First Cohort from France Completes Summer Research Three graduate students from the research center called MINATEC in Grenoble, France completed a 10-week research experience at Penn this summer. … read more

Post-doctoral Associate Opening … read more

Arjun Shah and Mike Shen take 3rd place … read more

Innovation Awards: Call for Proposals … read more

Discovery Channel, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science and others report on the NBIC discovery of Plasmon Induced Current… read more

Purohit receives NSF Career Award… read more

John Scotland proposes a novel approach for imaging nanostructures … read more

Innovation Grants Program (NBIC), 2009 … read more

NanoDay@Penn October 28, 2009

Networking Around Research and Careers … read more

Imagine That Image Contest … read more

$11.5 Million to Advance Nanoscale Research in Biological Systems … read more

Work-Study Position Opportunity … read more

Graduate Research Award Nominations … read more

Undergraduate Open House October 15, 2009 … read more

2009 Award for Research Excellence in Nanotechnology … read more

Special Seminar: Young Kuk, August 10 … read more

NEW Masters Degree In Nanotechnology … read more

NBIC Announces Three New members to the External Advisory Board … read more

DNI / LNN PA Regional Nanotechnology Conference Collaborating in Todays Economy … read more

Igor Kulic has been awarded a permanent position in the French CNRS … read more

Professor Shree Singh joins NBIC Science Advisory Board … read more

Nanotechnology for the Study of Cellular and Molecular Interactions… read more

2009 Innovation Award Program deadline April 3, 2009… read more

Seeking High School Students in West Philadelphia for Summer Research Experience in Chemistry… read more

Wanted:Science Teachers for Professional Development in Nanoscale Science … read more

Professor Nelson recognized for excellence in teaching biophysics … read more

Professor Rob Carpick named Penn Fellow

New program deadlines have been added … visit the Education page

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nanotech.upenn.edu – NANO/BIO INTERFACE CENTER

Are Nano-Metals Dead on Arrival? – Machine Design

Download this article in PDF format.

Thousands of years before current era (BCE), people were using copper. Tin was added a few hundred years later, thus sparking the Bronze Age. This first work in metallurgy would set the pace for inventions, world economies, and wars won through the knowledge of controlling these elements. Today, knowledge is still the key.

This article will cover some of the successes and challenges in bringing these revolutionary materials to market. First, what are nano-metals? They are defined as metals controlled or altered on a nanometer scale. Sometimes it represents a buzzword for a new alloy or composite that may or may not actually be altered at the nano-level.

Nano-Metals in Automotive

With the push for more fuel-efficient and safer vehicles, high-strength steels are showing up in more white bodies of vehicles today. While aluminum might sound like a natural switch, the amount of material needed to match the strength of steel would require new molds as well as adjustments to the equipment for the change in volume.

Many studies in lightweighting vehicles focus on the body in white. It consists of the vehicles non-moving parts, and is usually made of sheet-metal components. Many of the metals in cars today did not exist 15 to 20 years ago, says Dave Paratore, President and CEO for NanoSteel (Courtesy of Honda).

Ford invested heavily in this, but not all car manufacturers have the ability to make the necessary upgrades. Other automotive manufacturers are looking for advanced high-strength steels that will work with current production lines. Many alloys can increase strength, but this would alter the metals formability properties, causing them to crack when being stamped into the desired shapes.

This challenge led NanoSteel, based in Providence, R.I., to experiment with novel recipes and thermochemistry to produce, in bulk, a new type of steel that contains nanoscale microstructures. Such a construct can deliver unique combinations of strength and ductility. The company uses conventional steel alloying elements, but in novel ratios. Process control and alloying ratios dictate the resulting properties. The end result is stronger, formable steel thats designed to be used in todays automotive plants.

The auto industry is pushing for third-generation, advanced high-strength steels. The materials properties arent specifically defined, but the figure shows the target for the tensile strengths and elongation percentages of the current and target third-generation materials.

Nano-metals help reduce the weight of vehicles while increasing strength. This is just one example of how the slightest adjustments in chemistry can affect the final product.

Microalloying

If the ratio is such an important factor, how much of an alloy can change a metals property?

Many additives might be as little as 0.5% of a specific alloy, but as little as 0.03% of them have been used to alter properties. This slight addition changes the microstructure of the product. Often, steels will increase in strength, because alloys can slow the recrystallization of austenite that causes the grain size to become finer.

Another example is that small amounts of niobium and vanadium can improve surface hardness, which in turn increases resistance to wear, also known as carbonitriding. Refining the grain size, shape, and dispersion of slight additions of alloy can hone metals to cater to a wide range of material properties, including cold processes.

Along those lines, the article Microalloying Strengthens Steel illustrates that point: With resulfurized 1144 steel, a carbon grade often chosen for its machinability, a light cold drawing increases its yield strength by 15,000 psi, and a heavier drafting boosts it to 25,000 psi. If vanadium is added, yield strength further increases to about 20,000 psi. Adding vanadium and nitrogen typically increases yield strength by about 30,000 psi. This strength increase is retained after cold drawing.

Furthermore, microalloying can eliminate the need for annealing in some cases. Between increasing strengths, improving machinability, and reducing energy in post-processing, microalloying demonstrates the importance of understanding the slightest adjustments in chemistry.

Process Control and Layers

How does the process affect the materials properties? Case in point: By controlling the steel manufacturing process, it is possible to surround martensite with ferrite. This allows the metal to be ductile due to the ferrite, but have the dispersed strong (but brittle) martensite to absorb energy effectively, increasing ductility and strength. This has been a success in the automotive industry. A metal with this composition makes for lightweight, but strong, steel for crumple zones (crumple zones are areas of a vehicle designed to absorb energy in a collision).

The balance between ductility and strength is a battle thats actually been played out since the times of the Samurai. Folding steel in layers let a Samurais sword become hard to keep its edge, but ductile enough so it wouldnt shatter when struck. Taking these alloying concepts, and combining them with layers and new processes, is now revolutionizing multiple industries and markets.

Modumetal worked with the state of Washington to test guardrails made from laminated nanometals. While they showed better performance at a competitive price, the government enforces a standard that prohibits the Department of Transportation from using this material.

Seattle-basedModumetal Inc. is applying the Samurai sword concept and pushing it to the nanometer scale, using a patented, industrial-scale electrochemical process to produce a class of materials called nano-laminated alloys. In the process, metal is electrochemically deposited onto a substrate in nano-scale layers that can vary in composition or microstructure, or both. The end result is an entirely new way of enhancing material properties, including dramatically improved strength, toughness, corrosion, thermal, and wear characteristics, to name a few. In addition, Modumetal is able to mass-produce these metals at a competitive price.

Metal Matrix Composites

The design requirement to make products lighter but still maintain their productivity has increased the demand on metal matrix composites (MMCs). These materials are being used in a variety of industries, including automotive and aerospace applications.

Metal matrix composites (MMC) might not necessarily be a nano-metalin the case of dispersion hardening, it may not even be layered. However, engineering isnt about buzzwordsits about solving problems. Some benefits engineers are finding with MMCs include higher temperature capability, fire resistance, higher transverse stiffness and strength, no moisture absorption, higher electrical and thermal conductivities, and better radiation resistance. Demand for these properties and lightweight parts has driven the market especially for aluminum MMCsaluminum currently represents the largest segment (about 30%) of the MMC market.

Dispersion hardening is a non-layered example of a MMC. Controlling the MMC manufacturing can lead to nano-sized second-phase dispersion of a material within a matrix. Where alloying is generally considered bonding of two or more metals, dispersion hardening suspends a material like fiber glass in an epoxy, and can improve adhesion resistance, flexural strength, toughness, and hardness. This has proven successful in multiple industries, particularly in materials for jet engines and turbines.

Fighting Corrosion

Microalloying and MMCs can improve mechanical properties, but chemical properties could save trillions of dollars worldwide. The National Association of Corrosion Engineers did a study and found that 4.1% of the world GDP is lost to corrosion, says Christina Lomasney, CEO and President of Modumetal.

Electroplating has been around since the 1800s, but has become more sophisticated. In the 1980s, electroplating began to be used to make zinc-nickel (Zn-Ni) coating to protect against corrosion and wear.

This image shows a cross-section (not to scale) of a typical Zn-Ni coating. The three layers of coating consist of a layer of Zn-Ni alloy, covered by a layer of chromate, with a topcoat or sealant on top.

A general mix of 85% zinc and 15% nickel electroplated in layers onto parts has shown to maintain its corrosion resistance even if formed or bent after coating. In addition, Zn-Ni coatings are able to handle thermal stresses. For example, a test was done on zinc versus Zn-Ni costed parts. Results showed that:

The automotive and aerospace industries are talking a lot about nano-metals, but much of that 4.1% lost GDP comes from corroding infrastructure. Electroplating Zn-Ni and nano-metals can increase corrosion resistance, and can help the U.S. get ahead of the rust, but regulations are stopping production.

A Rusty Government

Galvanizing technology was standardized in 1928 under ASTM A123. Today, if you look at the Department of Transportation specifications, the standard to use galvanized material is still pervasively specified everywhere. So we are using technology that is about 100 years old, says Lomasney. I could produce nano-metal guardrails that last 30 times longer than the current galvanized metals, but we would not be able to use them. Before you get angry at the government, remember the DOT is just enforcing what the experts are saying is the best action.

The government tried in 1993 to implement standards that were performance-based, but they were fundamentally flawed. Instead of detailed specifications, the DOT just ended up with standards that would say something like use standard A123, then add a corrosion requirement. This obviously didnt fix the problem.

Now, fortunately, there is a bi-partisan Corrosion Prevention Caucus in the House of Representatives that published the following:

According to a 2001 study by the Federal Highway Administration, corrosion costs the U.S. economy $276 billion every year or roughly 3.1% of our national GDP. When updated to 2015, the cost of corrosion is almost $500 billion annually… When properly installed and maintained, corrosion is largely preventable. Corrosion prevention technologies significantly reduce the risk of harmful effects and the overall financial cost to the U.S. Government.

Recycling Complex Metals

While the caucus fights for new regulations, we must also consider recycling. If standards are based on performance, but say nothing about the materials end-of-life, could stockpiles of valuable metal be added to landfills? When dealing with plastics, some countries have banned custom polymers due to recycling difficulties.

Fortunately, with metals, we are already separating precious metals in the smelting process. The recycling of electronics shows that it is possible to recycle complex metal alloys. However, galvanized steel is easy to recycle, too. Any added energy to recycle nano-metals should be considered.

However, if guardrails made with a nano-metal can last 30 times longer than traditional galvanized steel, galvanized steel would theoretically have to take 1/30th the energy than recycling a nano-metal. In addition, the cost and energy to decommission and commission miles of new guardrails at potentially a 30:1 ratio already put nano-metals at a clear advantage.

Finally, what does it cost? Lomasney says nano-metals are cost-competitive. When considering the return on investment, you have to consider youre eliminating a lot of maintenance and construction cost because they can offer better mechanical and chemical properties than traditional galvanized metals.

From the Bronze Age to the Age of the Samurai, to the industrial and silicon revolutions, history has shown us the importance of material science. If we continue to hold back our technology with outdated or poorly written standards, our economy and infrastructure might also become history.

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Are Nano-Metals Dead on Arrival? – Machine Design

Printed, Flexible, Rechargeable Battery Powers Wearable Sensors – Advanced Manufacturing

Rajan Kumar is the co-first author of the Advanced Energy Materials paper and leads a team to commercialize the technology.

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have developed the first printed battery that is flexible, stretchable and rechargeable. These zinc batteries could be used to power everything from wearable sensors to solar cells and other kinds of electronics.

The researchers made the printed batteries flexible and stretchable by incorporating a hyper-elastic polymer material made from isoprene, one of the main ingredients in rubber, and polystyrene, a resin-like component. The substance, known as SIS, allows the batteries to stretch to twice their size, in any direction, without suffering damage. The work appears in the April 19, 2017 issue of Advanced Energy Materials. An abstract of the paper is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aenm.201602096/full.

The ink used to print the batteries is made of zinc silver oxide mixed with SIS, the scientists reported. While zinc batteries have been in use for a long time, they are typically non-rechargeable. The researchers added bismuth oxide to the batteries to make them rechargeable.

This is a significant step toward self-powered stretchable electronics, said Joseph Wang, one of the papers senior authors and a nanoengineering professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, where he directs the schools Center for Wearable Sensors. We expect this technology to pave the way to enhance other forms of energy storage and printable, stretchable electronics, not just for zinc-based batteries but also for Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries as well as supercapacitors and photovoltaic cells.

The prototype battery the researchers developed has about 1/5 the capacity of a rechargeable hearing aid battery, the researchers said, but it is 1/10 as thick, cheaper and uses commercially available materials. It takes two of these batteries to power a 3-V LED. The researchers are still working to improve the batterys performance. Next steps include expanding the use of the technology to different applications, such as solar and fuel cells, and using the battery to power different kinds of electronic devices.

The researchers used standard screen printing techniques to make the batteriesa method that dramatically drives down the technologys costs. Typical materials for one battery cost only $0.50. A comparable commercially available rechargeable battery costs $5.00. Batteries can be printed directly on fabric or on materials that allow wearables to adhere to the skin. They also can be printed as a strip to power a device that needs more energy. They are stable and can be worn for a long period of time.

The key ingredient that makes the batteries rechargeable is a molecule called bismuth oxide which, when mixed into the batteries zinc electrodes, prolongs the life of devices and allows them to recharge. Adding bismuth oxide to zinc batteries is standard practice in industry to improve performance, but until recently there hasnt been a thorough scientific explanation as to why.

Last year, UC San Diego nanoengineers led by Professor Y. Shirley Meng published a detailed molecular study addressing this question. When zinc batteries discharge, their electrodes react with the liquid electrolyte inside the battery, producing zinc salts that dissolve into a solution. This eventually short circuits the battery. Adding bismuth oxide keeps the electrode from losing zinc to the electrolyte. This ensures that the batteries continue to work and can be recharged.

The work shows that it is possible to use small amounts of additives, such as bismuth oxide, to change the properties of materials.

Understanding the scientific mechanism to do this will allow us to turn nonrechargeable batteries into rechargeable batteriesnot just zinc batteries but also for other electro-chemistries, such as Lithium-oxygen, said Meng, who directs the Sustainable Power and Energy Center at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

Rajan Kumar, a co-first author on this Advanced Energy Materials paper, is a nanoengineering Ph.D. student at the Jacobs School of Engineering. Kumar and nanoengineering professor Wang are leading a team focused on commercializing aspects of this work. The team is one of five to be selected to join a new technology accelerator at UC San Diego. The technology accelerator is run by the UC San Diego Institute for the Global Entrepreneur, which is a collaboration between the Jacobs School of Engineering and Rady School of Management.

The research was sponsored by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (DE-AR0000535) and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The work was performed in part at the San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure (SDNI), a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure, which is supported by the National Science Foundation.

Nanodiamond material specialist Carbodeon (Vantaa, Finland) has worked with metal finishing specialist CCT Plating of Germany to develop a new electroless nickel, PTFE and nanodiamond composite coating.

Electroless nickel-PTFE (EN-PTFE) coatings provide excellent anti-adhesive and low friction properties but are traditionally soft and wear quickly in abrasive conditions. PTFE is polytetrafluoroethylene, or Teflon. By adding nanodiamond particles to the EN-PTFE coating, Carbodeon has been able to improve the abrasive wear resistance of these coatings without compromising the sliding or release properties.

Nanodiamond material consists of small, spherical diamond nanoparticles that are specially treated to make them disperse in coating liquids and carry a positive electrical charge on their surfaces. In the plating process, the diamond particles behave similarly to positively charged metal ions and, together with the nickel and the PTFE material, co-deposit onto the component.

Key performance characteristics are:

Target applications include automotive components, including engine parts, chassis parts and body mechanisms; plastics forming molds, including complex structures, moving cores and slides; military applications requiring hard wearing and lubricant-free operations; and printing and textile production equipment and machinery.

Customer applications have multiple requirements that are a challenge for existing coatings, Carbodeon CTO Vesa Myllymaki said in prepared remarks. Through a combination of these three materials nickel, nanodiamond and PTFE we produce coatings that are resistant to the multiple modes of wear and failure components and systems are subject to, while keeping the low friction and release properties of the NE-PTFE surface.

The nanomaterial for the process can be obtained from Carbodeon for addition to existing electroless nickel-PTFE systems. Alternatively, job plating or turnkey solutions can be carried out by CCT Plating in Stuttgart, Germany.

Carbodeon has patented the nanodiamond material and the plating application.

Tobii Pro (Stockholm, Sweden), developer of eye-tracking research solutions, announced its new Tobii Pro VR Integration for conducting eye-tracking research within immersive virtual reality (VR) environments. The research tool, based on the HTC Vive headset integrated with Tobii eye-tracking technology, comes with the Tobii Pro software development kit (SDK) for research applications. Researchers can accurately collect and record eye tracking data from a VR environment and gain deeper insights on human behavior.

Eye tracking research in immersive VR is transforming how studies can be conducted and opens up new possibilities in psychology, consumer behavior, and human performance, according to Tobii Pro. Through VR, researchers have complete control over a study environment, which allows them to run scenarios that previously would have been too costly, risky or difficult to conduct in real life.

Combining eye tracking with VR is growing as a research methodology and our customers have started to demand this technology to be part of their toolkit for behavioral studies, Tom Englund, Tobii Pro president, said in prepared remarks. The Tobii Pro VR Integration is our first step in making eye tracking in immersive VR a reliable and effective research tool for a range of fields. It marks our first major expansion of VR-based research tools.

Tobii Pro VR Integration is a retrofit of the HTC Vive business edition headset with integrated Tobii eye-tracking technology. It is capable of eye tracking all types of eyes, collecting binocular eye-tracking data at 120 Hz (images per second). The solution allows study participants to move naturally while wearing the headset without compromising the user experience or the output of the eye tracking data.

The solution comes with Tobii Pros SDK, which enables eye-tracking data collection for both live interactions and analysis. The Pro SDK supports millisecond synchronization and gives researchers the freedom to build analysis applications customized to their research on either Matlab, Python, C, or .Net compatible with Unity programming software tools. For more information or to receive updates, please see http://bit.ly/2rwjC1m.

Tech Front is edited by Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak; pwaurzyniak@sme.org.

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Printed, Flexible, Rechargeable Battery Powers Wearable Sensors – Advanced Manufacturing

Freeze-Dried Foam Soaks Up Carbon Dioxide – Photonics Online

Rice Scientists Lead Effort To Make Novel 3-D Material

Rice University Materials Scientists Have Created A Light Foam From Two-Dimensional Sheets Of Hexagonal-Boron Nitride (H-BN) That Absorbs Carbon Dioxide.

They Discovered Freeze-Drying H-BN Turned It Into A Macro-Scale Foam That Disintegrates In Liquids. But Adding A Bit Of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) Into The Mix Transformed It Into A Far More Robust And Useful Material.

The Foam Is Highly Porous And Its Properties Can Be Tuned For Use In Air Filters And As Gas Absorption Materials, According To Researchers In The Rice Lab Of Materials Scientist Pulickel Ajayan.

Their Work Appears In The American Chemical Society Journal ACS Nano.

The Polyvinyl Alcohol Serves As A Glue. Mixed Into A Solution With Flakes Of H-BN, It Binds The Junctions As The Microscopic Sheets Arrange Themselves Into A Lattice When Freeze-Dried. The One-Step Process Is Scalable, The Researchers Said.

Even A Very Small Amount Of PVA Works, Said Co-Author And Rice Postdoctoral Researcher Chandra Sekhar Tiwary. It Helps Make The Foam Stiff By Gluing The Interconnects Between The H-BN Sheets And At The Same Time, It Hardly Changes The Surface Area At All.

In Molecular Dynamics Simulations, The Foam Adsorbed 340 Percent Of Its Own Weight In Carbon Dioxide. The Greenhouse Gas Can Be Evaporated Out Of The Material, Which Can Be Reused Repeatedly, Tiwary Said. Compression Tests Showed The Foam Got Stiffer Through 2,000 Cycles As Well.

And When Coated With PDMS, Another Polymer, The Foam Becomes An Effective Shield From Lasers That Could Be Used In Biomedical, Electronics And Other Applications, He Said.

Ultimately, The Researchers Want To Gain Control Over The Size Of The Materials Pores For Specific Applications, Like Separating Oil From Water. Simulations Carried Out By Co-Author Cristiano Woellner, A Joint Postdoctoral Researcher At Rice And The State University Of Campinas, Brazil, Could Serve As A Guide For Experimentalists.

Its Important To Join Experiments And Theoretical Calculations To See The Mechanical Response Of This Composite, Woellner Said. This Way, Experimentalists Will See In Advance How They Can Improve The System.

About Rice University Rice Graduate Student Peter Owuor Is Lead Author Of The Paper. Co-Authors Are Ok-Kyung Park, A Visiting Scholar At Rice And A Postdoctoral Researcher At Chonbuk National University, Republic Of Korea; Rice Postdoctoral Researchers Almaz Jalilov And Rodrigo Villegas Salvatierra And Graduate Students Luong Xuan Duy, Sandhya Susarla And Jarin Joyner; Rice Alumnus Sehmus Ozden, Now A Postdoctoral Fellow At Los Alamos National Laboratory; Robert Vajtai, A Senior Faculty Fellow At Rice; Jun Lou, A Rice Professor Of Materials Science And Nanoengineering; And James Tour, Rices T.T. And W.F. Chao Chair In Chemistry As Well As A Professor Of Computer Science And Of Materials Science And Nanoengineering; And Professor Douglas Galvo Of The State University Of Campinas. Ajayan Is Chair Of Rices Department Of Materials Science And Nanoengineering, The Benjamin M. And Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor In Engineering And A Professor Of Chemistry.

The Air Force Office Of Scientific Research And Its Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Funded The Research.

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Freeze-Dried Foam Soaks Up Carbon Dioxide – Photonics Online

New biological identity of inhaled nanoparticles revealed – Phys.Org

August 23, 2017 by Yi Zuo Molecular dynamics simulations revealed a pulmonary surfactant corona coated on inhaled nanoparticle. Credit: University of Hawaii at Manoa

Nano-enabled consumer products surround people every day, from personal care, cosmetics, clothing and electronics, to food and beverage.

The Nanotechnology Consumer Products Inventory maintained by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has listed 1,814 nano-enabled consumer products, many of which have a potential safety hazard if inhaled. However, their potential biological risks are still largely unknown.

University of Hawai’i at Mnoa College of Engineering Professor Yi Zuo has developed a new method to reveal the molecular mechanism of nano-bio interactions in the lungs. This research was published in the July 2017 issue of the scientific journal ACS Nano, “Unveiling the molecular structure of pulmonary surfactant corona on nanoparticles.”

Zuo’s study showed that once the inhaled nanoparticles enter the lungs, they are quickly wrapped with a biomolecular corona made of the natural pulmonary surfactant. The entire surface of the lungs is lined with a lipid-protein pulmonary surfactant film,which serves an important physiological function of host defense and surface tension reduction. The pulmonary surfactant corona provides the inhaled nanoparticles with a new identity in their subsequent interactions with the biological system, such as their clearance and cellular toxicity.

“Molecular scale interactions between nanoparticles and biomolecules are too small and too fast to be visualized by most conventional experimental methods,” Zuo said. “Hence, we studied the nano-bio interactions with a virtual experiment called molecular dynamics simulations. Using supercomputers, we created a virtual box in which a certain number of molecules and particles can move and interact with each other for a certain time by following the natural laws of physics and chemistry. The final equilibrium state of the simulation reveals the molecular mechanism of nano-bio interactions.”

This study may also advance the understanding of other air pollutants, such as vog, an air pollutant that is unique to Hawai’i due to its volcanic eruptions.Given the environmental, health and safety impact of vog, there is an urgent need to understand its pulmonary risk, especially to those with existing respiratory conditions and children, whose respiratory system is significantly more vulnerable to particle invasion than adults.

Zuo is continuing to study the molecular mechanism of nano-bio interactions using molecular dynamics simulations and novel experimental techniques developed in his Laboratory of Biocolloids and Biointerfaces, helping to provide a useful metric for regulating and overseeing commercial applications of nanotechnology toward a safer and more sustainable development.

Explore further: Nanoparticles can travel from lungs to blood, possibly explaining risks to heart

More information: Qinglin Hu et al. Unveiling the Molecular Structure of Pulmonary Surfactant Corona on Nanoparticles, ACS Nano (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b01873

Tiny particles in air pollution have been associated with cardiovascular disease, which can lead to premature death. But how particles inhaled into the lungs can affect blood vessels and the heart has remained a mystery. …

(PhysOrg.com) — Diesel engines emit countless carbon nanoparticles into the air, slipping through government regulation and vehicle filters. A new University of Michigan simulation shows that these nanoparticles can get …

A new class of materials which are suitable agents for oil displacing in enhanced oil recovery have been developed by scientists in the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI) at Swansea University and scientists at Islamic …

Cholesterol, a naturally occurring compound at the lung surface, has been shown to have a clear effect on the properties of this nanoscale film that covers the inside of our lungs. Cholesterol levels in this system may affect …

Thousands of consumer products containing engineered nanoparticlesmicroscopic particles found in everyday items from cosmetics and clothing to building materialsenter the market every year. Concerns about possible environmental …

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have managed to synthesise lung surfactant, a drug used in the care of preterm babies, by mimicking the production of spider silk. Animal studies reveal it to be just as effective …

The world’s shortest race by distancea fraction of the width of a human hairwas run on gold and silver tracks, and took a whopping 30 hours. Given that the vehicles were invisible to the naked eye, your typical racing …

Nano-enabled consumer products surround people every day, from personal care, cosmetics, clothing and electronics, to food and beverage.

They may be tiny and invisible, says Xiaoji Xu, but the aerosol particles suspended in gases play a role in cloud formation and environmental pollution and can be detrimental to human health.

To improve viewing pleasure, companies have developed televisionand tablet screensthat include quantum dots to enhance brightness and color. Some quantum dots are made with potentially harmful metals, which could leach …

By combining an FDA-approved cancer immunotherapy with an emerging tumor-roasting nanotechnology, Duke University researchers improved the efficacy of both therapies in a proof-of-concept study using mice.

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new …

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New biological identity of inhaled nanoparticles revealed – Phys.Org

Foraging for fetal cells in mothers’ blood – Chemical & Engineering News

Every pregnant woman who has considered getting a prenatal genetic test is familiar with the dilemma: Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) are the only available diagnostic tests that can say for sure whether a fetus has a devastating genetic disorderbut these tests are invasive, and each carries a small risk of miscarriage. Now, researchers are developing a less invasive test that collects fetal cells from a maternal blood sample using an antibody-coated chip, allowing for conclusive testing for genetic disorders with a simple blood draw (ACS Nano 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b03073).

In amniocentesis and CVS, doctors insert needles or catheters into the uterus to collect placental cells. These cells, called trophoblasts, share the same genome as the developing fetus. But the trophoblasts dont remain exclusively in the uterus. During early pregnancy, the growth of the placenta is a little like the growth of a tumor, says Hsian-Rong Tseng of the University of California, Los Angeles. The placenta grows into and essentially invades the uterus. The end result is that some of the trophoblasts end up circulating in the maternal blood. Tsengs team had previously developed a chip that captures tumor cells from blood samples (Acc. Chem. Res.2014, DOI: 10.1021/ar5001617) and realized they could adapt the method to capturing trophoblasts.

The researchers covered a piece of glass with a forest of nanosized poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) pillars, which provide ample surface area for attaching the bait to capture cells of interest. To capture trophoblasts in particular, Tseng and colleagues attached an antibody that binds to a trophoblast surface protein to the nanopillars. Then, they applied blood samples obtained from six mothers carrying normal male fetuses and nine mothers carrying fetuses with genetic abnormalities, such as trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), to the chip. The nanopillar chip captured 80% of the trophoblasts in blood samples spiked with a known trophoblast concentration, compared with 20 30% for a flat antibody-coated chip, says Tseng. That boost was critical, he says, with only two to six trophoblasts per 2 mL of maternal blood. The researchers still had to use 10 mL of blood to gather enough cells for genetic analysis.

To isolate the fetal cells from others stuck on the chip, the researchers tagged the trophoblasts with fluorescent antibodies and then used laser capture microdissection to collect only those cells that glowed. Using commercial microarrays, they analyzed the trophoblast genotypes, correctly identifying the sex and whether the fetus had genetic abnormalities for all 15 samples, as confirmed with amniocentesis or CVS.

The fishing of the cells is innovative, says Sascha Drewlo of Wayne State University, but he says the approach still needs to overcome significant hurdles before its ready for commercial application, including boosting the number of cells captured and lowering the amount of blood needed for analysis. Tseng is aware of these challenges, and hopes to improve his cell yield in future experiments by obtaining trophoblasts from cervical samples instead of maternal blood. A pap smear sample can yield hundreds of trophoblasts, says Tseng.

Tseng cofounded a company, FetoLumina Technologies, to commercialize the chip technology.

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Foraging for fetal cells in mothers’ blood – Chemical & Engineering News

The science of fluoride flipping: A new technique helps researchers study tiny biological processes – Phys.Org

August 24, 2017 Scientists are just now beginning to understand the various functions of RNA on human health. Credit: Christ-claude Mowandza-ndinga

So much of what happens inside cells to preserve health or cause disease is so small or time-sensitive that researchers are just now getting glimpses of the complexities unfolding in us every minute of the day. UNC School of Medicine researchers have discovered one such complexitya previously hidden mode of RNA regulation vital for bacterial defense against toxic fluoride ions.

Published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, the discovery opens a new research avenue for developing drugs that target RNAgenetic molecules important for various biological processes, including how genes are regulated.

“Much research to find the underpinnings of health and disease has rightfully focused on proteins, but different forms of RNA have functions we’re just beginning to understand,” said Qi Zhang, PhD, senior author and assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics. “Our NMR technique is helping us learn more than ever before.”

In 2014, Zhang and colleagues developed a new way to use nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging to show the shape and motion of RNA at the atomic level over time. This was crucial because RNA is often short-lived and sparsely populated in cells at any given time. The amount of RNA changes over short bursts of time depending on which one of its various roles it is fulfilling. Yet, until now, structural biologists have only visualized RNA as a series of snapshots. Zhang’s technique enables new ways of visualizing RNA, down to its atoms.

“We need this atomic level view because every atomic interaction is important to human health,” said Zhang, who is also a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Scientists have developed similar approaches that work well for proteins and we needed this for RNA, which is crucial for understanding how an RNA serves as a control switch for gene expression.”

In their latest work, Zhang and colleagues studied riboswitches – a class of noncoding RNAs that are not translated from DNA into proteins. Rather, riboswitches control gene expression in response to specific cellular cues. Many bacteria rely on these cues and controls to regulate fundamental cellular function. These switches have been important models for the scientific community’s basic understanding of RNA architecture and ligandsmolecules such as drug compounds. Riboswitches have emerged as targets for a new class of very much needed antibacterial drugs.

Here’s the prevailing wisdom of how these riboswitches work: when a cell produces a metabolite or encounters a toxin to a certain level, a sensor on the riboswitch detects this, reshapes the switch’s three-dimensional structure, and sends a signal to turn the responsible gene circuit on or off. This model has been shown in a variety of riboswitches. But when Zhang’s group tried to understand how bacteria use a specific class of these genetic switchesfluoride riboswitchesto kick start their defense mechanism against a toxic level of fluoride ions, they came upon a mystery.

They first visualized the structure of the fluoride riboswitch when it was unbound to fluoride, and then compared it to the structure of the fluoride-bound riboswitch. To Zhang’s surprise, both riboswitches were identical, down to their most intricate interactions. Yet, each versionbound and unboundhad a distinct function. The bound state activated gene transcription and turned on the toxicity defense system, whereas the unbound state kept the gene silent.

“We thought, ‘how could this be?'” Zhang said. “How could a riboswitch have only one structure but execute two opposite functions? This challenged our basic understanding of the structure-function relationship of RNA. We wondered if nature evolved some special way to fit this unique cellular role of toxicity response. But we also thought something had to distinguish the ligand-bound state of the fluoride riboswitch from the unbound state. Otherwise, how could any of these processes ‘know’ when to do what?”

This is where the NMR technique came in. Zhang’s ability to visualize riboswitches over time allowed his team to reveal the hidden differences in the local motions between the bound and unbound states. Zhang’s team found that over the course of a mere three milliseconds, the riboswitch sits in an excited state. This is when it unravels the linchpin – a rare base pair of molecules formed within the riboswitch – to terminate gene transcription. When the fluoride was bound, this super quick process is suppressed and gene transcription is activated again.

Still, Zhang couldn’t help but wonder why nature would evolve such an unusual mechanism. He wondered what was the advantage of this strange twist over the typical structural differences between bound and unbound RNA?

“It turns out that encoding this ‘hidden’ layer of regulation empowers the fluoride riboswitch with an unexpected capability,” Zhang said. “This fleeting switch can effectively and efficiently execute ligand-dependent switching across a wide range of speeds of RNA polymerase copying DNA into RNA. This ensures a robust response to fluoride toxicity over diverse cellular environments. This ensures survival.”

The discovery marks the first of its kind, and Zhang suspects that this strategy may be used by riboswitches in various toxicity responses and by many other noncoding RNAs for their regulatory functions.

Not only could this work have vast implications for the development of antibiotics, but it provides a new design principle for engineering RNA-based biosensors and nano-devices to probe specific gene expressions and key biological processes to help us understand human disease. It could also be possible to use these RNA nano-devices to interfere with pathological pathways to treat diseases.

“A major challenge in designing effective biosensors and regulators has been ensuring that they can work well across diverse cellular conditions,” Zhang said. “This is important because these synthetic devices encounter very different working environments inside different kinds of tissues. So, by unveiling the fluoride riboswitch’s ‘hidden’ molecular strategy, we provide a new way forward, which is very exciting to us and the field.”

A new imaging technique helps UNC researchers study tiny, time-sensitive biological processes

Explore further: Pause to read the traffic sign: Regulation of DNA transcription in bacteria

More information: Bo Zhao et al. An excited state underlies gene regulation of a transcriptional riboswitch, Nature Chemical Biology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.2427

The survival of the cell isapart from other important aspectsa question of timing: Scientists of Goethe University together with colleagues from other universities have now identified the different parts of this mechanism …

Yale researchers have uncovered the molecular tricks used by bacteria to fight the effects of fluoride, which is commonly used in toothpaste and mouthwash to combat tooth decay.

How does an organism know when it must produce a protein and in what amount? Clever control mechanisms are responsible for the regulation of protein biosynthesis. One such type of mechanism, discovered only a few years ago, …

Biochemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered a genetic sequence that can alter its host gene’s activity in response to cellular energy levels. The scientists have found this particular energy-sensing …

How does an organism know when it must produce a protein and in what amount? Clever control mechanisms are responsible for the regulation of protein biosynthesis. One such type of mechanism, discovered only a few years ago, …

Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have shed new light on a molecular switch that turns genes on or off in response to a cell’s energy needs.

Epigenetics may explain how Darwin’s finches respond to rapid environmental changes, according to new research published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Proteins involved in the production and perception of pheromones may determine if red fire ant colonies contain a single queen or multiple queens.

So much of what happens inside cells to preserve health or cause disease is so small or time-sensitive that researchers are just now getting glimpses of the complexities unfolding in us every minute of the day. UNC School …

The first unambiguous fossil from the botfly family adds to the few known fossils of a major clade of flies (Calyptratae), shedding light on their rapid radiation during the Cenozoic Era, according to a study published August …

A Johns Hopkins paleontologist and her collaborative team of scientists report they have clear evidence that the arrival of humans and subsequent human activity throughout the islands of the Caribbean were likely the primary …

When hemoglobin undergoes just one mutation, these protein complexes stick to one another, stacking like Lego blocks to form long, stiff filaments. These filaments, in turn, elongate the red blood cells found in sickle-cell …

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The science of fluoride flipping: A new technique helps researchers study tiny biological processes – Phys.Org

nanotech.upenn.edu – NANO/BIO INTERFACE CENTER

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Job Prospects in Nanotechnology [ read more ]

Progress on the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology Read about the ongoing construction in the [ Penn Current ]

Symposium: Building Cellular Complexity One Molecule at a Time March 30, 2012 … read more

Yung Woo Park, NBIC Visiting Distinguished Scholar Arrives … read more

NanoDay@Penn 2011 … read more

Nano/Bio Interface Center Symposium: Local Probes at the Frontiers of Energy Systems and Biotechnology … read more

Agarwal Group show that ultrafast phototonic devices could operate at speeds a thousand times greater then currently possible … read more

Physical Science in Cancer Research Pilot Program Grants Program (NBIC), 2011 … read more

Innovation Grants Program (NBIC), 2010 … read more

New developments in electronic and optical devices … read more

“Polarization Mediated Properties at Interfaces: A path towardnovel molecular devices” Lecture by Dawn A. Bonnell 4.5.11 … read more

Producing Graphene at Industrial Scale Charlie Johnson and his group (Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Arts and Science) report on a process to create graphene that is just a single layer thick over 95% of its area. [ press release ]

Pilot project program on Physical Science in Cancer Research The Nano/Bio Interface Center announces a Pilot Program for research involving physical science and engineering in cancer research. … read more

Motor Protein High-wire Act Revealed Researchers explain novel approach that reveals myosin motor motion along actin filaments. … read more

Pilot project program on Physical Science in Cancer Research The Nano/Bio Interface Center announces a Pilot Program for research involving physical science and engineering in cancer research. … read more … download PDF

Penn breaks ground for nanotechnology center … read more

New International Research Opportunities for Penn students in France – Summer 2011 The Nano/Bio Interface Center will support all expenses related to travel and accommodations for a 10-week research exchange during the upcoming summer (23 May 29 July). The program is centered at MINATEC in Grenoble, France … read more

Nanotech Student Pizza Party Monday, February 14, 2011 … read more

A Family Event Saturday, February 5, 2011 Philly Materials Day … read more

NANODAYS@PENN 2010 … read more

2010 Award for Research Excellence in Nanotechnology … read more

Science Cafe features Yale Goldman on October 20 … read more

2010 NTI/ECI Nanotech Conference This event will take place on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 from 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, PA. … read more

Graduate Research Award Nominations … read more

The 2010 REU Students Complete Research … read more

First Cohort from France Completes Summer Research Three graduate students from the research center called MINATEC in Grenoble, France completed a 10-week research experience at Penn this summer. … read more

Post-doctoral Associate Opening … read more

Arjun Shah and Mike Shen take 3rd place … read more

Innovation Awards: Call for Proposals … read more

Discovery Channel, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science and others report on the NBIC discovery of Plasmon Induced Current… read more

Purohit receives NSF Career Award… read more

John Scotland proposes a novel approach for imaging nanostructures … read more

Innovation Grants Program (NBIC), 2009 … read more

NanoDay@Penn October 28, 2009

Networking Around Research and Careers … read more

Imagine That Image Contest … read more

$11.5 Million to Advance Nanoscale Research in Biological Systems … read more

Work-Study Position Opportunity … read more

Graduate Research Award Nominations … read more

Undergraduate Open House October 15, 2009 … read more

2009 Award for Research Excellence in Nanotechnology … read more

Special Seminar: Young Kuk, August 10 … read more

NEW Masters Degree In Nanotechnology … read more

NBIC Announces Three New members to the External Advisory Board … read more

DNI / LNN PA Regional Nanotechnology Conference Collaborating in Todays Economy … read more

Igor Kulic has been awarded a permanent position in the French CNRS … read more

Professor Shree Singh joins NBIC Science Advisory Board … read more

Nanotechnology for the Study of Cellular and Molecular Interactions… read more

2009 Innovation Award Program deadline April 3, 2009… read more

Seeking High School Students in West Philadelphia for Summer Research Experience in Chemistry… read more

Wanted:Science Teachers for Professional Development in Nanoscale Science … read more

Professor Nelson recognized for excellence in teaching biophysics … read more

Professor Rob Carpick named Penn Fellow

New program deadlines have been added … visit the Education page

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nanotech.upenn.edu – NANO/BIO INTERFACE CENTER

"(W)rap on Race" Town Hall with Greg Fishel held at NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Aug. 31 – WRAL.com

Raleigh, N.C. Forty years after anthropologist Margaret Mead and author James Baldwin met to have a Rap on Race, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences bring their conversation into the 21st century. In (W)rap on Race: Where Do We Go from Here? guest speakers will reflect on what the future holds for public education and race, the role of race in medicine, the potential dangers of using biology to explain the behaviors of certain racialized groups, and the ultimate question: where do we go from here? The free event takes place at the Museum on Thursday, August 31, 7 p.m.

The evenings speakers include:

Dr. Yolanda Moses, a past president of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), chair of AAAs National Advisory Board on Race and Human Variation, and co-author of the book Race: Are We So Different? She is also a Professor of Anthropology andAssociate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Excellence at the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Jay S. Kaufman, a Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Health Disparities Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health at McGill University and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Joseph Graves, Jr., Associate Dean for Research and a Professor of Biological Sciences in the Joint School of Nanosciences and Nanoengineering, a collaboration between North Carolina A&T State University and UNC Greensboro.

This Town Hall is held in conjunction with the Museums current featured exhibition, RACE: Are We So Different? which runs through October 22. This program is part of a series at the Museum The Nature of Science: A Town Hall with Greg Fishel inspired by Albert Einsteins view that To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science. The series is designed to provide in-depth discussions with leaders from around the globe as they explore the major scientific and environmental issues of our time. Comments and questions from the audience are encouraged.

Doors to the WRAL 3D Theater open at 6:30 p.m. All guests are invited to attend a coffee and dessert reception following the program from 8:30 to 9 p.m. in the Museums Natural Treasures Gallery. This program is made possible by the Friends of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and Capitol Broadcasting Company.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh (11 and 121 W. Jones St.) is an active research institution that engages visitors of every age and stage of learning in the wonders of science and the natural world. Hours: Mon. Sat., 9 a.m.5 p.m., and Sun., noon5 p.m. General admission is free. Visit the Museum online at http://www.naturalsciences.org. Emlyn Koster, PhD, Museum Director.

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"(W)rap on Race" Town Hall with Greg Fishel held at NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Aug. 31 – WRAL.com

Printed, Flexible, Rechargeable Battery Powers Wearable Sensors – Advanced Manufacturing

Rajan Kumar is the co-first author of the Advanced Energy Materials paper and leads a team to commercialize the technology.

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have developed the first printed battery that is flexible, stretchable and rechargeable. These zinc batteries could be used to power everything from wearable sensors to solar cells and other kinds of electronics.

The researchers made the printed batteries flexible and stretchable by incorporating a hyper-elastic polymer material made from isoprene, one of the main ingredients in rubber, and polystyrene, a resin-like component. The substance, known as SIS, allows the batteries to stretch to twice their size, in any direction, without suffering damage. The work appears in the April 19, 2017 issue of Advanced Energy Materials. An abstract of the paper is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aenm.201602096/full.

The ink used to print the batteries is made of zinc silver oxide mixed with SIS, the scientists reported. While zinc batteries have been in use for a long time, they are typically non-rechargeable. The researchers added bismuth oxide to the batteries to make them rechargeable.

This is a significant step toward self-powered stretchable electronics, said Joseph Wang, one of the papers senior authors and a nanoengineering professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, where he directs the schools Center for Wearable Sensors. We expect this technology to pave the way to enhance other forms of energy storage and printable, stretchable electronics, not just for zinc-based batteries but also for Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries as well as supercapacitors and photovoltaic cells.

The prototype battery the researchers developed has about 1/5 the capacity of a rechargeable hearing aid battery, the researchers said, but it is 1/10 as thick, cheaper and uses commercially available materials. It takes two of these batteries to power a 3-V LED. The researchers are still working to improve the batterys performance. Next steps include expanding the use of the technology to different applications, such as solar and fuel cells, and using the battery to power different kinds of electronic devices.

The researchers used standard screen printing techniques to make the batteriesa method that dramatically drives down the technologys costs. Typical materials for one battery cost only $0.50. A comparable commercially available rechargeable battery costs $5.00. Batteries can be printed directly on fabric or on materials that allow wearables to adhere to the skin. They also can be printed as a strip to power a device that needs more energy. They are stable and can be worn for a long period of time.

The key ingredient that makes the batteries rechargeable is a molecule called bismuth oxide which, when mixed into the batteries zinc electrodes, prolongs the life of devices and allows them to recharge. Adding bismuth oxide to zinc batteries is standard practice in industry to improve performance, but until recently there hasnt been a thorough scientific explanation as to why.

Last year, UC San Diego nanoengineers led by Professor Y. Shirley Meng published a detailed molecular study addressing this question. When zinc batteries discharge, their electrodes react with the liquid electrolyte inside the battery, producing zinc salts that dissolve into a solution. This eventually short circuits the battery. Adding bismuth oxide keeps the electrode from losing zinc to the electrolyte. This ensures that the batteries continue to work and can be recharged.

The work shows that it is possible to use small amounts of additives, such as bismuth oxide, to change the properties of materials.

Understanding the scientific mechanism to do this will allow us to turn nonrechargeable batteries into rechargeable batteriesnot just zinc batteries but also for other electro-chemistries, such as Lithium-oxygen, said Meng, who directs the Sustainable Power and Energy Center at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

Rajan Kumar, a co-first author on this Advanced Energy Materials paper, is a nanoengineering Ph.D. student at the Jacobs School of Engineering. Kumar and nanoengineering professor Wang are leading a team focused on commercializing aspects of this work. The team is one of five to be selected to join a new technology accelerator at UC San Diego. The technology accelerator is run by the UC San Diego Institute for the Global Entrepreneur, which is a collaboration between the Jacobs School of Engineering and Rady School of Management.

The research was sponsored by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (DE-AR0000535) and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The work was performed in part at the San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure (SDNI), a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure, which is supported by the National Science Foundation.

Nanodiamond material specialist Carbodeon (Vantaa, Finland) has worked with metal finishing specialist CCT Plating of Germany to develop a new electroless nickel, PTFE and nanodiamond composite coating.

Electroless nickel-PTFE (EN-PTFE) coatings provide excellent anti-adhesive and low friction properties but are traditionally soft and wear quickly in abrasive conditions. PTFE is polytetrafluoroethylene, or Teflon. By adding nanodiamond particles to the EN-PTFE coating, Carbodeon has been able to improve the abrasive wear resistance of these coatings without compromising the sliding or release properties.

Nanodiamond material consists of small, spherical diamond nanoparticles that are specially treated to make them disperse in coating liquids and carry a positive electrical charge on their surfaces. In the plating process, the diamond particles behave similarly to positively charged metal ions and, together with the nickel and the PTFE material, co-deposit onto the component.

Key performance characteristics are:

Target applications include automotive components, including engine parts, chassis parts and body mechanisms; plastics forming molds, including complex structures, moving cores and slides; military applications requiring hard wearing and lubricant-free operations; and printing and textile production equipment and machinery.

Customer applications have multiple requirements that are a challenge for existing coatings, Carbodeon CTO Vesa Myllymaki said in prepared remarks. Through a combination of these three materials nickel, nanodiamond and PTFE we produce coatings that are resistant to the multiple modes of wear and failure components and systems are subject to, while keeping the low friction and release properties of the NE-PTFE surface.

The nanomaterial for the process can be obtained from Carbodeon for addition to existing electroless nickel-PTFE systems. Alternatively, job plating or turnkey solutions can be carried out by CCT Plating in Stuttgart, Germany.

Carbodeon has patented the nanodiamond material and the plating application.

Tobii Pro (Stockholm, Sweden), developer of eye-tracking research solutions, announced its new Tobii Pro VR Integration for conducting eye-tracking research within immersive virtual reality (VR) environments. The research tool, based on the HTC Vive headset integrated with Tobii eye-tracking technology, comes with the Tobii Pro software development kit (SDK) for research applications. Researchers can accurately collect and record eye tracking data from a VR environment and gain deeper insights on human behavior.

Eye tracking research in immersive VR is transforming how studies can be conducted and opens up new possibilities in psychology, consumer behavior, and human performance, according to Tobii Pro. Through VR, researchers have complete control over a study environment, which allows them to run scenarios that previously would have been too costly, risky or difficult to conduct in real life.

Combining eye tracking with VR is growing as a research methodology and our customers have started to demand this technology to be part of their toolkit for behavioral studies, Tom Englund, Tobii Pro president, said in prepared remarks. The Tobii Pro VR Integration is our first step in making eye tracking in immersive VR a reliable and effective research tool for a range of fields. It marks our first major expansion of VR-based research tools.

Tobii Pro VR Integration is a retrofit of the HTC Vive business edition headset with integrated Tobii eye-tracking technology. It is capable of eye tracking all types of eyes, collecting binocular eye-tracking data at 120 Hz (images per second). The solution allows study participants to move naturally while wearing the headset without compromising the user experience or the output of the eye tracking data.

The solution comes with Tobii Pros SDK, which enables eye-tracking data collection for both live interactions and analysis. The Pro SDK supports millisecond synchronization and gives researchers the freedom to build analysis applications customized to their research on either Matlab, Python, C, or .Net compatible with Unity programming software tools. For more information or to receive updates, please see http://bit.ly/2rwjC1m.

Tech Front is edited by Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak; pwaurzyniak@sme.org.

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Printed, Flexible, Rechargeable Battery Powers Wearable Sensors – Advanced Manufacturing

Freeze-Dried Foam Soaks Up Carbon Dioxide – Photonics Online

Rice Scientists Lead Effort To Make Novel 3-D Material

Rice University Materials Scientists Have Created A Light Foam From Two-Dimensional Sheets Of Hexagonal-Boron Nitride (H-BN) That Absorbs Carbon Dioxide.

They Discovered Freeze-Drying H-BN Turned It Into A Macro-Scale Foam That Disintegrates In Liquids. But Adding A Bit Of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) Into The Mix Transformed It Into A Far More Robust And Useful Material.

The Foam Is Highly Porous And Its Properties Can Be Tuned For Use In Air Filters And As Gas Absorption Materials, According To Researchers In The Rice Lab Of Materials Scientist Pulickel Ajayan.

Their Work Appears In The American Chemical Society Journal ACS Nano.

The Polyvinyl Alcohol Serves As A Glue. Mixed Into A Solution With Flakes Of H-BN, It Binds The Junctions As The Microscopic Sheets Arrange Themselves Into A Lattice When Freeze-Dried. The One-Step Process Is Scalable, The Researchers Said.

Even A Very Small Amount Of PVA Works, Said Co-Author And Rice Postdoctoral Researcher Chandra Sekhar Tiwary. It Helps Make The Foam Stiff By Gluing The Interconnects Between The H-BN Sheets And At The Same Time, It Hardly Changes The Surface Area At All.

In Molecular Dynamics Simulations, The Foam Adsorbed 340 Percent Of Its Own Weight In Carbon Dioxide. The Greenhouse Gas Can Be Evaporated Out Of The Material, Which Can Be Reused Repeatedly, Tiwary Said. Compression Tests Showed The Foam Got Stiffer Through 2,000 Cycles As Well.

And When Coated With PDMS, Another Polymer, The Foam Becomes An Effective Shield From Lasers That Could Be Used In Biomedical, Electronics And Other Applications, He Said.

Ultimately, The Researchers Want To Gain Control Over The Size Of The Materials Pores For Specific Applications, Like Separating Oil From Water. Simulations Carried Out By Co-Author Cristiano Woellner, A Joint Postdoctoral Researcher At Rice And The State University Of Campinas, Brazil, Could Serve As A Guide For Experimentalists.

Its Important To Join Experiments And Theoretical Calculations To See The Mechanical Response Of This Composite, Woellner Said. This Way, Experimentalists Will See In Advance How They Can Improve The System.

About Rice University Rice Graduate Student Peter Owuor Is Lead Author Of The Paper. Co-Authors Are Ok-Kyung Park, A Visiting Scholar At Rice And A Postdoctoral Researcher At Chonbuk National University, Republic Of Korea; Rice Postdoctoral Researchers Almaz Jalilov And Rodrigo Villegas Salvatierra And Graduate Students Luong Xuan Duy, Sandhya Susarla And Jarin Joyner; Rice Alumnus Sehmus Ozden, Now A Postdoctoral Fellow At Los Alamos National Laboratory; Robert Vajtai, A Senior Faculty Fellow At Rice; Jun Lou, A Rice Professor Of Materials Science And Nanoengineering; And James Tour, Rices T.T. And W.F. Chao Chair In Chemistry As Well As A Professor Of Computer Science And Of Materials Science And Nanoengineering; And Professor Douglas Galvo Of The State University Of Campinas. Ajayan Is Chair Of Rices Department Of Materials Science And Nanoengineering, The Benjamin M. And Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor In Engineering And A Professor Of Chemistry.

The Air Force Office Of Scientific Research And Its Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Funded The Research.

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Freeze-Dried Foam Soaks Up Carbon Dioxide – Photonics Online

What is Nanotechnology? | Nano

Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technologyconductedat the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers.

Physicist Richard Feynman, the father of nanotechnology.

Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.

The ideas and concepts behind nanoscience and nanotechnology started with a talk entitled Theres Plenty of Room at the Bottom by physicist Richard Feynman at an American Physical Society meeting at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) on December 29, 1959, long before the term nanotechnology was used. In his talk, Feynman described a process in which scientists would be able to manipulate and control individual atoms and molecules. Over a decade later, in his explorations of ultraprecision machining, Professor Norio Taniguchi coined the term nanotechnology. It wasn’t until 1981, with the development of the scanning tunneling microscope that could “see” individual atoms, that modern nanotechnology began.

Its hard to imagine just how small nanotechnology is. One nanometer is a billionth of a meter, or 10-9 of a meter. Here are a few illustrative examples:

Nanoscience and nanotechnology involve the ability to see and to control individual atoms and molecules. Everything on Earth is made up of atomsthe food we eat, the clothes we wear, the buildings and houses we live in, and our own bodies.

But something as small as an atom is impossible to see with the naked eye. In fact, its impossible to see with the microscopes typically used in a high school science classes. The microscopes needed to see things at the nanoscale were invented relatively recentlyabout 30 years ago.

Once scientists had the right tools, such as thescanning tunneling microscope (STM)and the atomic force microscope (AFM), the age of nanotechnology was born.

Although modern nanoscience and nanotechnology are quite new, nanoscale materialswereused for centuries. Alternate-sized gold and silver particles created colors in the stained glass windows of medieval churches hundreds of years ago. The artists back then just didnt know that the process they used to create these beautiful works of art actually led to changes in the composition of the materials they were working with.

Today’s scientists andengineers are finding a wide variety of ways to deliberatelymake materials at the nanoscale to take advantage of their enhanced properties such as higher strength, lighter weight,increased control oflight spectrum, and greater chemical reactivity than theirlarger-scale counterparts.

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What is Nanotechnology? | Nano

Tripura governor Tathagata Roy rues decrepit engineering industry of the east – The Indian Express

By: PTI | Kolkata | Published:August 22, 2017 4:41 pm Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy. (File Photo)

Governor of Tripura Tathagata Roy on Tuesday regretted the run down condition of engineering industry in eastern India which was used to be a matter of glory in the past.You see eastern India today and what it used to be in the past. The possible reaction will be nothing but to shed a drop of tear, he said at an event organised by Engineering Exports Promotion Council (EEPC) at Kolkata.Roy, who was earlier the president of West Bengal unit of BJP, said that Howrah was once known as the Sheffield of India where companies like GKW, Remington Rand, Martin Burn, Braithwaite and Hindustan Motors used to operate.

All these are things of the past or barely existing, he said.

According to Roy, engineering exports from the east used to account for 50 per cent to 60 per cent of Indias overall figure. This has now dwindled to less than 15 per cent.

The reasons for such a decline were known to all, he said adding West Bengal had a bad experience in the recent past. A car factory started construction of its plant (the Nano plant in Singur) and then went away. And some proudly say that land has been given back to the cultivators, Roy said.

The state was moving from an industrial age to agricultural age, he said adding that similar signs were seen in Odisha when Posco and Vedanta moved away. But Odisha showed some kind of dynamism, he said.

Roy said resurrection was still possible in Bengal if the right government was there as well as a stable land policy and good infrastructure.

The state has good coal reserves and plenty of power, he said but was quick to add that there was no load-shedding as there was no load here referring again to lack of industrialisation.

About Tripura, he said that connectivity was still a problem and transit through Bangladesh would help to a great extent.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App

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Tripura governor Tathagata Roy rues decrepit engineering industry of the east – The Indian Express

Fiber Optics to Prevent Accidents in Mines and Power Plants – Markets Insider

MOSCOW, August 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —

NUST MISIS scientists have suggested a technology for the creation of high-precision sensors based on doped fiberoptics for accident prevention in the nuclear, space, and mining industries.

(Logo: http://mma.prnewswire.com/media/484501/NUST_MISIS_Logo.jpg )

(Photo: http://mma.prnewswire.com/media/545278/NUST_MISIS_fiber_optics.jpg )

(Photo: http://mma.prnewswire.com/media/545277/NUST_MISIS_quartz_fiber.jpg )

“An international team of scientists led byAlexander Kir`yanov,avisitingProfessorat NUST MISIS’s Semiconductor Electronics and Semiconductor Physics Department, in cooperation with the Center for Research in Optics (Leon, Mexico) and CSIR-Central Glass & Ceramic Research Institute (Kolkata, India) has developed a technology for the creation of high-precision stand-alone sensors based onfiber optics,” said AlevtinaChernikova, Rector of NUST MISIS.

The created fiber optics is doped with rare-earth and transition metals: erbium, holmium, bismuth, etc., in addition to nanoparticles of silver and silicon. The composition and ratio of ligands (chemical additives) in quartz-based fibers are unique, as they provide unique properties in obtained fibers. The study’s results have been published in the journal LaserPhysicsLetters.

The high sensitivity of the resulting fibers to temperature changes, tension, chemical composition, and an environment’s background radiation, as well as their stability in inhospitable environments and their high resistance to electromagnetic disturbances allows the fibers to carry out high-precision monitoring of large-scale facilities (pipelines, drillings, power plants, bridges) on a number of parameters. The length of fiber optics also gives the chance to measure large size objects (up to hundreds of meters). In near-earth orbit, sensors based on these obtained fibers can measure the conditions of background radiation in spacecrafts.

Sensors based on these fiber optics effectively register various types of radiation emissions in a wide range of doses, and can do so with high-precision in ultra-high (up to 1700) temperatures, harsh chemical compositions, and powerful electromagnetic fields. The length of fiber optics allows the technology to carry out remote measurements; for example, it can provide full-scale monitoring of deep oil wells, mines, and pipeline assemblies for nuclear plants. Due to its unique characteristics, devices based on this technology will be in high demand in a plethora of fields, including construction and geotechnical engineering, the aerospace and oil & gas industries, and high-current energy engineering, including nuclear engineering.

“A fiber optic sensor is either a small-sized (“pointed”) device (which, in turn, can be a part of a multi-component detecting network, or an interrogator), or a ” spatially-distributed circuit” which is able to collect information about detected parameters at great distances – due to fiber’s property as a fundamentally “long” environment. In the former case, the sensitive elements of sensors can be Bragg gratings (spectrally-selective filters), written in fiber. Their parameters, i.e. reflection and transmission spectrums, greatly depend on the state of the environment (pressure, temperature, deformation, etc.), and respectively serve as the basis of detection. The entire length of a used fiber is the sensitive element in “long sensor” format. It is used either in “passive” mode (in this case, for example, the changes in absorption and transmission spectrum of doped fiber optics are detected parameters), or “active” mode, when it is a component of a laser (in this case, for example, relaxation frequency, optical spectrum, or laser oscillation mode are detected parameters).

“Our research, within this project`s framework, is aimed at the creation, comprehensive research, and application of fiber sensors of the second type with the use of specially developed doped fibers, obtained, in particular, by the method of nano-engineering. Such fibers can become a reliable solution while working in an aggressive environment, when the device based on them is in extreme conditions – for example, when thermo-monitoring oil wells or performing dosimetry at power plants,” told Alexander Kir`yanov, the head of the project.

Source: http://en.misis.ru/

SOURCE The National University of Science and Technology MISiS

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Fiber Optics to Prevent Accidents in Mines and Power Plants – Markets Insider

Welcome to NanoEngineering | NanoEngineering

The NanoEngineering program has received accreditation by the Accreditation Commission of ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. UC San Diego’s NanoEngineering program is the first of its kind in the nation to receive this accreditation. Our NanoEngineering students can feel confident that their education meets global standards and that they will be prepared to enter the workforce worldwide.

ABET accreditation assures that programs meet standards to produce graduates ready to enter critical technical fields that are leading the way in innovation and emerging technologies, and anticipating the welfare and safety needs of the public. Please visit the ABET website for more information on why accreditation matters.

Congratulations to the NanoEngineering department and students!

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Welcome to NanoEngineering | NanoEngineering


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