Next: Superconducting nanowires could be used in circuits – Electronics Weekly

Researchers from Karl Berggrens group in MITs Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science have found that,although traditionally operated as single photon detectors, superconducting nanowires host a suite of attractive characteristics that have recently inspired their use in digital circuit applications for amplification, addressing, and memory.

Here, I take advantage of the electrothermal feedback that occurs in resistively shunted nanowires to develop two new technologies: (1) A multilevel memory cell made by incorporating a shunted nanowire into a superconducting loop, allowing flux to be controllably added and stored; and (2) An artificial neuron for use in spiking neural networks, consisting of two nanowire-based relaxation oscillators acting analogously to the two ion channels in a biological neuron. By harnessing the intrinsic dynamics of superconducting nanowires, these devices offer competitive energy performance and a step towards bringing memory and processing closer together on the same platform, writes Berggren.

Berggren is resurrecting the Cryotron a concept described in1956, by MITs Dudley Buck and he calls his device a nano-cryotron.

In Berggrens device, current runs through a superconducting, supercooled wire called the channel. That channel is intersected by an even smaller wire called a choke like a multilane highway intersected by a side road. When current is sent through the choke, its superconductivity breaks down and it heats up. Once that heat spreads from the choke to the main channel, it causes the main channel to also lose its superconducting state.

Berggrens group has already demonstrated proof-of-concept for the nano-cryotrons use as an electronic component.

A former student of Berggrens, Adam McCaughan, developed a device that uses nano-cryotrons to add binary digits.

Berggren has used nano-cryotrons as an interface between superconducting devices and classical, transistor-based electronics.

He thinks the nano-cryotron could one day find a home in superconducting quantum computers and supercooled electronics for telescopes. Wires have low power dissipation, so they may also be handy for energy-hungry applications, he said.

Its probably not going to replace the transistors in your phone, but if it could replace the transistor in a server farm or data center? That would be a huge impact says Berggren.

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4 UCSD Researchers Win Sloan Research Fellowships for Early Career Scientists – Times of San Diego

Four UC San Diego researchers have been awarded 2021 Sloan Research Fellowships, which honor extraordinary early career scientists in the U.S. and Canada, the university announced Tuesday.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded the fellowships each year since 1955 to recipients whose creativity, innovation and research accomplishments make them stand out as the next generation of scientific leaders. A total of 140 faculty from UCSD have been awarded the fellowships.

The new Sloan Research Fellows from UCSD are:

Being named a Sloan Research Fellow is a remarkable achievement and Im delighted that four of our early career faculty members were named to the 2021 list of honorees, said UCSD Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. From biological oceanography to mathematics, nanoengineering to chemistry, this years recipients truly capture the stimulating breadth of research initiatives featured across the UC San Diego campus.

More than 1,000 researchers are nominated each year for 128 fellowship slots. Winners receive a two-year, $75,000 fellowship which can be spent to advance the fellows research.

Fifty-one fellows have received a Nobel Prize in their respective field, 17 have won the Fields Medal in mathematics, 69 have received the National Medal of Science, and 20 have won the John Bates Clark Medal in economics, including every winner since 2007.

Fellows from the 2021 cohort are drawn from 58 institutions across the U.S. and Canada, from large public university systems to Ivy League institutions and small liberal arts colleges.

Candidates must be nominated by fellow scientists. Winners are selected by independent panels of senior scholars on the basis of a candidates research accomplishments, creativity and potential to become a leader in his or her field.

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Pendse named 2021 Distinguished Maine Professor – UMaine News – University of Maine – University of Maine

Hemant Pendse

Hemant Pendse, an internationally recognized leader in forest bioproducts research, has been named the University of Maine 2021 Distinguished Maine Professor.

The annual Distinguished Maine Professor Award honors a UMaine professor who exemplifies the highest qualities of teaching, research and public service. It is sponsored by the University of Maine Alumni Association and its classes of 1942 and 2002.

Pense was nominated for the award by College of Engineering Dean Dana Humphrey. The selection process is conducted by a 17-person committee of alumni, current and retired faculty, and a representative of the student body. Each nominee is evaluated on three criteria related to UMaines land-grant mission: teaching performance based on peer and student evaluations; the quality and productivity of the nominees research, scholarship, and creative activities; and the nominees contributions of professional expertise in a volunteer capacity in support of university and public causes, services, and initiatives.

The UMaine Alumni Association will honor Pendse at the annual Alumni Achievement Awards and Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, April 29. Due to COVID-19 precautions, this years event will be held online and streamed on YouTube.

Since joining the university in 1979, the professor of chemical engineering and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering has spearheaded innovative research that has earned two patents, produced 82 publications, given more than 200 technical papers and garnered $17 million in external funding. He also has yielded new economic opportunities for Maine through his work on forest bioproducts.

Students know Pendse as an educator who challenges them to think critically, provides clear and concise lessons, is always willing to help, and dedicates himself to their success.

Dr. Pendse is a gifted leader who provides tremendous service to the university and industry, wrote UMaine College of Engineering Dean Dana Humphrey in his nomination. He is able to visualize the potential of the organizations and then work collaboratively with students, faculty, staff, administration and outside constituencies to achieve this vision.

Pendse founded the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute in 2010, and serves as its director. FBRI aims to identify the logistic, scientific, economic and policy factors that would allow forest-based products to be made at a commercial scale and inspire the creation of a biorefinery in Maine.

Under Pendses leadership, FBRI built the nations first pilot-scale plant for manufacturing nano-fibrillated cellulose, or nanocellulose. The institute earned $48 million for various projects, $17 million of which is attributable to Pendses efforts.

FBRI developed and secured patents for its breakthrough thermal deoxygenation process (TDO) for making biofuels for jets and marine engines, and for its process to create advanced materials like nanocellulose. Pendse was instrumental in scale up to continuous pilot operations that benefit researchers and private business alike.

Jake Ward, vice president of innovation and economic development at UMaine, wrote in his letter of recommendation that Pendses ability to not only lead, but collaborate with fellow faculty members and external partners from other academic institutions, communities and the private sector brought FBRI and the benefits it yields to fruition. His efforts have bolstered the universitys capacity for serving the public and fostering economic growth.

The success of this project has not only resulted in stronger research programs and more grant funding at UMaine, but true economic development success with the partnership with Old Town and a variety of owners of the mill. Ward wrote.

The UMaine chemical engineers research interests involve pulp and paper manufacturing, colloid systems, particulate and multiphase processes and sensor development. During his studies, he has developed forest biorefinery pilot-scale industrial process systems, an ultrasonic slurry characterization system, a laboratory instrument for particle surface charge characterization in concentrated colloids and an online particle size distribution sensor system for concentrated slurries. He also has developed multiple theories and methodologies to assist in particulate systems characterization and processing.

He is an inspiring scholar whose research has significantly impacted Maine industries, university faculty members and Maine research infrastructure, wrote colleagues Clayton Wheeler, chemical engineering professor and FBRI associate director, Jonathan Rubin, economics professor and director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, and Jeffrey Benjamin, former associate professor of forestry, in their joint recommendation letter.

Pendses numerous awards include the 2009 College of Engineering Ashley Campbell Award, 2012 Genco Award from the University of Maine Pulp and Paper Foundation, and the 2012 UMaine Presidential Research and Creative Achievement.

Pendses record of public service includes advising the Municipal Review Committee, a group of 115 Maine cities and towns united to tackle solid municipal waste problems; and serving on the Economic Development Assessment Team, Maine Innovation Economy Advisory Board, the Governors Wood-to-Energy Taskforce and more He and the FBRI have also aided with the Forest Opportunity Roadmap/Maine (FOR/Maine), a public-private partnership seeking new markets for wood products and bolstering technological innovation to support new commercial uses for wood. He has also served on the Corporate Advisory Council for Nelson Industries, Stoughton, Wisconsin, and the Transport & Energy Processes Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in various capacities.

Perhaps his greatest value in this respect is his willingness and ability to serve these communities as an unbiased technical expert, expertise many communities lack and could not afford, when vetting opportunities, Ward wrote in his recommendation letter. He is often called upon by Maines federal delegation to play this role and as a technical advisor on state-wide/nation-wide initiatives.

Contact: Marcus Wolf, 207.581.3721; marcus.wolf@maine.edu

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New Polymer Cores Added to Windows Could Solve Energy Issues for Buildings – AZoBuild

Written by AZoBuildFeb 17 2021

Engineers from Rice University have proposed a colorful solution to futuristic energy collectionadding luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) to windows in buildings.

The team of researchers headed by Rafael Verduzco and postdoctoral researcher and lead author Yilin Li from Rices Brown School of Engineering engineered and developed foot square 'windows'in which a conjugated polymer is interspersed between two clear acrylic panels.

The thin middle layer is the secret to success. It has been designed to harness light in a particular wavelength and guide it to the edges of the panel that are lined with solar cells.

Conjugated polymers are chemical compounds that can be tailored with particular physical or chemical properties for a range of applications, such as conductive films or sensors for biomedical devices.

The polymer compound developed at Rice lab is named PNV (for poly[naphthalene-alt-vinylene]) and harnesses and discharges red light. However, tweaking its molecular ingredients should enable it to harness light in a range of colors.

The strategy is that the compound is a waveguide and accepts light from any direction but controls how it leaves, thereby focusing it onto the solar cells that transform it into electricity.

The motivation for this research is to solve energy issues for buildings through integrated photovoltaics. Right now, solar rooftops are the mainstream solution, but you need to orient them toward the sun to maximize their efficiency, and their appearance isnt very pleasing. We thought, why cant we make colorful, transparent or translucent solar collectors and apply them to the outside of buildings?

Yilin Li, Study Lead Author and Postdoctoral Researcher, Brown School of Engineering, Rice University

Li started the project as part of a 'smart glass'competition. The research was published in the Polymer International journal.

In fact, the quantity of juice produced by the test units developed by the Rice team is very less compared to that collected by even average commercial solar cells, which usually transform nearly 20% of sunlight into electricity.

However, LSC windows never cease working. They readily convert light from the inner side of the building into electricity when the sun sets. Tests demonstrated that they exhibited more efficiency at converting ambient light from LEDs than from direct sunlight, although the sunlight was 100 times stronger.

Even indoors, if you hold up a panel, you can see very strong photoluminescence on the edge, Li noted during the demonstration. The panels tested by him demonstrated a power conversion efficiency of nearly 3.6% under ambient LED light and 2.9% in direct sunlight.

In the past decade, researchers have developed various types of luminophores, but not many with conjugated polymers, stated Verduzco, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of materials science and nanoengineering.

Part of the problem with using conjugated polymers for this application is that they can be unstable and degrade quickly. But weve learned a lot about improving the stability of conjugated polymers in recent years, and in the future, we can engineer the polymers for both stability and desired optical properties.

Rafael Verduzco, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Materials Science and Nanoengineering, Rice University

The lab also replicated the return of energy from panels measuring up to 120 square inches. According to the researchers, these panels would offer relatively less energy, but they can still be sufficient for a households power requirements.

Li added that the polymer may even be tweaked to transform energy from ultraviolet and infrared light, thus enabling the panels to remain transparent.

The polymers can even be printed in patterns in the panels, so they can be turned into artwork.

Yilin Li, Study Lead Author and Postdoctoral Researcher, Brown School of Engineering, Rice University

The co-authors of the study include University of Washington alumnus Yujian Sun; Yongcao Zhang, a graduate assistant at the University of Houston; and Yuxin Li, a graduate assistant at the University of Cincinnati.

This study was supported by Solera City Energy.

Li, Y., et al. (2020) Highperformance hybrid luminescentscattering solar concentrators based on a luminescent conjugated polymer. Polymer International. doi.org/10.1002/pi.6189.

Source: https://www.rice.edu/

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New Polymer Cores Added to Windows Could Solve Energy Issues for Buildings - AZoBuild

Caltech Professor Inducted into the National Academy of Engineering Pasadena Now – Pasadena Now

Yu-Chong Y.C. TaiCredit: Caltech

Yu-Chong Y.C. Tai, the Anna L. Rosen Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).Induction into the NAE, one of the three national academies in the United States, is among the highest professional honors an engineer can receive.

Tai, also the Andrew and Peggy Cherng Medical Engineering Leadership Chair and executive officer for medical engineering, works in the field of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and nano-electro-mechanical systems (NEMS). MEMS and NEMS are highly miniaturized electro-mechanical devices that are found in modern devices like inkjet printers, movie projectors, and the gyroscopes of smartphones. They also have uses outside the consumer marketplace in medical devices, optical data communications, and microscopy, among other applications.

During his time at the Institute, Tai founded the Caltech MEMS Laboratory, a facility dedicated to the development of MEMS and NEMS devices for use in medical settings. Research conducted at the laboratory has led to the creation of devices that can perform a variety of blood tests on a single chip, microscopic drug-delivery systems, and MEMS medical implants.

The NAE elected 106 members and 23 international members this year. Also elected was B. Gentry Lee, chief engineer for the Solar System Exploration Directorate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which Caltech manages for NASA. Lee, who has worked on a variety of NASA missions and programs including Viking (1975), Voyager (1977), Galileo (1989), Spirit (2003) and Opportunity (2003), and Curiosity and Dawn (2007), was recognized for contributions to 20 planetary exploration missions to Mars, Jupiter, asteroids, and comets, according to the NAE.

In addition, Caltech alumnus Francis J. Doyle III (PhD 91), John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor and dean of Harvard Universitys Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was named as a member of the NAE for insights into natural biological control systems and innovative engineering of diabetes control devices. Another Caltech alumnus, Sudhir K. Jain (PhD83), director of the Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar, was elected as an international member of NAE for leadership in earthquake engineering in developing countries.

The newly elected class will be formally inducted into the NAE during a ceremony at the academys annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on October 3.

Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m.

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How Nanotechnology Has Improved the Auto Industry – Salon Priv Magazine

The automotive industry is constantly in pursuit of innovation. New technology has made the modern car faster, lighter, more comfortable and increasingly efficient. Many technologies have disrupted the field, and nanotechnology is one of the latest and most impactful.

Innovation has perhaps never been more critical to the industrys success than right now. As of 2018, 67% of people worldwide saw climate change as a significant threat, compared to just 56% in 2013. Since transportation is a substantial contributor to carbon emissions, theres a rising demand for the industry to become eco-friendly.

Environmental concerns aside, there are more drivers now than ever before, and that number keeps climbing. Automakers have to keep improving to satisfy the needs and desires of their growing consumer base. Nanotechnology provides a solution.

Nanotechnology refers to the applications of science, engineering and technology that occur on a nanoscale. The nanoscale deals with materials between one and 100 nanometers, so small that theyre invisible to the naked eye. Given this tiny scale, companies havent had the technology to work with these materials extensively until relatively recently.

When engineers and scientists work with nanotech, they manipulate the very atoms that make up other materials. They adjust the physical and chemical properties of matter. This level of precision enables tremendous advances and changes in how materials, parts and devices interact with the world.

This field has applications across many industries, but automakers have taken a particular interest in it. Its no exaggeration to say that nanotech has revolutionized the sector. Heres how.

One of the most common applications of nanotechnology in the auto industry is in weight reduction. Lighter cars can accelerate faster and are more fuel-efficient, as they take less power to move. Nanotechnology can create novel materials that provide the strength cars need without weighing them down.

While steel and aluminium may be comparatively light for metals, theyre still heavy. With nanotechnology, engineers can design plastics and carbon-based materials that are far lighter than these metals. Car components made from some nanoengineered plastics can be up to 40% lighter than traditional steel parts.

In addition to creating new materials, nanotechnology can improve preexisting ones. Engineers can use nanotech to modify the physical properties of steel or aluminium, improving their relative strength to achieve similar results with less material.

As the world becomes more concerned about climate change, sustainability becomes increasingly crucial for automakers. Since nanotechnology makes cars lighter, it makes them more fuel-efficient, leading to fewer carbon emissions. Nano carbons also have a thermal conductivity five times higher than other materials, reducing heat waste to improve efficiency further.

Nanotechnology has green applications beyond increasing the efficiency of fossil fuel cars, too. Nano engineers have recently developed methods for embedding silicon nanoparticles into graphene battery components to make lithium-silicon batteries. This technology can make batteries last 20% longer per charge, making electric cars a more viable option.

Nanotechnology also paves the way for thinner, more efficient hydrogen fuel cells. These technologies provide another green alternative to fossil fuel cars, producing water and heat as their only emissions. As these sustainable alternatives improve, car owners will have more options for zero-emission vehicles.

Nanoengineered materials are also typically more durable than traditionally manufactured alternatives. Research has shown that nanoparticles substantially improve scratch and abrasion resistance and maintain these properties for longer. These improvements come mostly from the way nanoparticles move as a vehicles coating encounters more elements.

As cars face adverse weather or even prolonged UV exposure from the sun, they develop microscopic scratches and cracks in their coating. Nanoparticles tend to fill pores as they appear, clogging up these minute blemishes and protecting the materials underneath. As a result, it takes longer for the elements to affect the metal under the paint, preventing rust and other corrosion.

Nanotech can improve the durability of tires, too. Materials like soot and silica improve rubbers natural properties, and the size of these particles directly impacts their efficacy. By applying these materials on a nanoscale, automakers can maximize their benefits, making tires more resistant without sacrificing grip.

Another leading application of nanotechnology in the auto industry is in the interior of a car. Vehicle interiors hold a lot of soft materials like felt and leather to make seats more comfortable. While excellent for comfort, these porous surfaces can trap bacteria and other microorganisms that could pose a risk to passengers health.

Metallic nanoparticles like silver and titanium oxide have unique antimicrobial properties that can solve this problem. Many of these tiny metal particles destroy the cell membrane of harmful microbes while posing no risk to humans. Hospitals have started using them extensively to disinfect equipment and manufacture drugs, and the auto industry has caught on.

Car manufacturers can coat interiors with these metallic nanoparticles, helping prevent the spread of disease. Similar coatings in a vehicles air filter can eliminate harmful microbes from the air, too.

Not all improvements from nanotechnology deal with vehicle performance and safety. Some are less crucial yet still central to the business side of the auto industry. Namely, nanotechnology makes cars more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

Some nanomaterial coatings can make surfaces hydrophobic and dirt-repellant. These improvements can help keep cars clean, both inside and outside. The anti-corrosion properties of nanoparticle-infused paints dont just protect the chassis but maintain the paints factory polish. With fewer scratches and blemishes, cars retain their initial beauty for longer.

Since some nanomaterials have tremendous heat conductivity, theyre ideal for heated seats. Seat cushions woven from nanofibers can heat up and cool faster than traditional materials, providing a more comfortable ride.

As technology advances, cars are featuring more and more of it. The more tech features a vehicle has, the more likely it is to sell, and some of this tech improves performance as well. Nanotechnology is just the latest in a long tradition of the industry embracing cutting-edge tech.

Nanotech is still relatively new, yet the automotive industry has already capitalized on it. As these technologies become cheaper and more versatile, theyll see even broader implementation. Nanotechnology could easily revolutionize transportation.

Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded, where he writes about a variety of topics, including the most recent trends in tech. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for regular updates!

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How Nanotechnology Has Improved the Auto Industry - Salon Priv Magazine

Caltech: Tai Inducted into the National Academy of Engineering – India Education Diary

Yu-Chong Y.C. Tai, the Anna L. Rosen Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Induction into the NAE, one of the three national academies in the United States, is among the highest professional honors an engineer can receive.

Tai, also the Andrew and Peggy Cherng Medical Engineering Leadership Chair and executive officer for medical engineering, works in the field of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and nano-electro-mechanical systems (NEMS). MEMS and NEMS are highly miniaturized electro-mechanical devices that are found in modern devices like inkjet printers, movie projectors, and the gyroscopes of smartphones. They also have uses outside the consumer marketplace in medical devices, optical data communications, and microscopy, among other applications.

During his time at the Institute, Tai founded the Caltech MEMS Laboratory, a facility dedicated to the development of MEMS and NEMS devices for use in medical settings. Research conducted at the laboratory has led to the creation of devices that can perform a variety of blood tests on a single chip, microscopic drug-delivery systems, and MEMS medical implants.

The NAE elected 106 members and 23 international members this year. Also elected was B. Gentry Lee, chief engineer for the Solar System Exploration Directorate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which Caltech manages for NASA. Lee, who has worked on a variety of NASA missions and programs including Viking (1975), Voyager (1977), Galileo (1989), Spirit (2003) and Opportunity (2003), and Curiosity and Dawn (2007), was recognized for contributions to 20 planetary exploration missions to Mars, Jupiter, asteroids, and comets, according to the NAE.

In addition, Caltech alumnus Francis J. Doyle III (PhD 91), John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor and dean of Harvard Universitys Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was named as a member of the NAE for insights into natural biological control systems and innovative engineering of diabetes control devices. Another Caltech alumnus, Sudhir K. Jain (PhD83), director of the Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar, was elected as an international member of NAE for leadership in earthquake engineering in developing countries.

The newly elected class will be formally inducted into the NAE during a ceremony at the academys annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on October 3.

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Caltech: Tai Inducted into the National Academy of Engineering - India Education Diary

Plastic-nanotube composite ‘tougher and lighter than similar forms of aluminium’ – Professional Engineering

The material could lead to the development of lighter and more durable structures for use in aerospace or automotive (Credit: University of Glasgow)

A new form of 3D-printed material made by combining common plastics with carbon nanotubes is tougher and lighter than similar forms of aluminium, its developers have said.

The material could lead to the development of safer, lighter and more durable structures for use in the aerospace, automotive, renewable energy and marine sectors, the researchers said.

The team, led by University of Glasgow engineers, developed a new plate-lattice cellular metamaterial capable of impressive resistance to impacts.

Metamaterials are a class of artificially created cellular solids, designed and engineered to have properties which do not occur in the natural world. One form of metamaterials, known as plate-lattices, are cubic structures made from intersecting layers of plates that exhibit unusually high stiffness and strength, despite featuring a significant amount of space between the plates. That porosity also makes plate-lattices unusually lightweight.

The researchers set out to investigate whether new forms of plate-lattice design, manufactured from a plastic-nanotube composite they developed, could make a metamaterial with even more advanced stiffness, strength and toughness.

The composite includes a mixture of polypropylene or polyethylene low-cost, reuseable plastics widely used in everyday items like bags and bottles and multi-wall carbon nanotubes.

The team used its nanoengineered filament composite as the feedstock in a 3D printer, which fused the filaments together to build a series of plate-lattice designs. Those designs were then subjected to a series of impact tests by dropping a 16.7kg mass from a range of heights to determine their ability to withstand physical shocks.

A hybrid plate-lattice design, including multi-faceted aspects, proved to be the most effective in absorbing impacts. The polypropylene version showed the greatest impact resistance. The team found that it could withstand 19.9 joules per gram a superior performance over similarly-designed micro-architected aluminium metamaterials.

Dr Shanmugam Kumar, reader in composites and additive manufacturing in the James Watt School of Engineering, led the research project. The research team also involved mechanical and chemical engineers from Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi and Texas A&M University.

Dr Kumar said: This work sits right at the intersection of mechanics and materials. The balance between the carbon nanostructure-engineered filaments weve developed as a feedstock for 3D printing, and the hybrid composite plate-lattice designs weve created, has produced a really exciting result.

In the pursuit of lightweight engineering, there is a constant hunt for ultra-lightweight materials featuring high performance. Our nano-engineered hybrid plate-lattices achieve extraordinary stiffness and strength properties and exhibit superior energy absorption characteristics over similar lattices built with aluminium.

He added: Advances in 3D printing are making it easier and cheaper than ever to fabricate the kinds of complicated geometries with tailored porosity that underpin our plate-lattice design. Manufacture of this kind of design at industrial scales is becoming a real possibility.

One application for this new kind of plate-lattice might be in automobile manufacture, where designers perpetually strive to build more lightweight bodies without sacrificing safety during crashes. Aluminium is used in many modern car designs, but our plate-lattice offers greater impact resistance, which could make it useful in those kinds of applications in the future.

The recyclability of the plastics were using in these plate-lattices also makes them attractive as we move towards a net-zero world, where circular economic models will be central to making the planet more sustainable.

The teams paper, titled Impact behaviour of nanoengineered, 3D-printed plate-lattices, was published inMaterials & Design. The work was supported by funding from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and the University of Glasgow.

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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Plastic-nanotube composite 'tougher and lighter than similar forms of aluminium' - Professional Engineering

New coalmine questioned and high-density hydro planned: 10 top stories of the week – Professional Engineering

High-density pumped hydro could store energy in small hills

Professional Engineering

Thousands of hillsides around the UK could host a new type of pumped-hydro energy storage system, its developers have claimed. Unlike conventional hydro power, the system from RheEnergise uses dense liquid instead of water. The fluid is two-and-a-half-times denser than water, and could therefore potentially provide two-and-a-half-times the power of equivalent conventional systems.

The Guardian

Cumbria County Council is to reconsider planning permission for a controversial coalmine project, which would be the first such deep coalmine in the UK for three decades. The council will reconsider planning permission in light of new information about the governments carbon budgets and net-zero aims.

Professional Engineering

A new ultimate mobility vehicle (UMV) will use wheels, legs and an attachable drone to traverse the most inhospitable and remote environments. Designed to carry deliveries, aid packages or scientific equipment, the uncrewed Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot (Tiger) is being developed by Hyundai Motor Group in California.

Professional Engineering

Complete printed human organs are coming ever closer, thanks to some innovative engineering. Before being implanted in patients, they could radically transform drug development by replacing animal testing and human volunteers, helping speed up the process massively.

The Engineer

United Airlines is partnering with Archer Aviation on a fleet of up to 200 flying taxis. The four-passenger tilt-rotor taxis have a predicted range of about 100km. They could fly from Manhattan to JFK airport in just seven minutes.

E&T

A team of researchers from New York University and New York Stem Cell Foundation have precisely replicated natural bone tissue using biothermal imaging and a heated nano-chisel. The system could be used for studying drugs and diseases, or creating orthopaedic implants.

Professional Engineering

More than 40% of people aged 16-24 are putting their career or education plans on hold until the pandemic is over, a new survey has found. The research, commissioned by BAE Systems to mark National Apprenticeship Week, found a fifth (21%) said they are more confused about their career path than before the pandemic, with 20% saying the industry they had wanted to work in has been deeply impacted.

Renewable Energy Magazine

A new trial from H2GO Power, the European Marine Energy Centre (Emec) and Imperial College London is using artificial intelligence (AI) software to control hydrogen storage technology. The system will make real-time asset management decisions to optimise renewable energy integration.

Professional Engineering

A new form of 3D-printed material made by combining common plastics with carbon nanotubes is tougher and lighter than similar forms of aluminium, its developers have said. The team, led by University of Glasgow engineers, developed a new plate-lattice cellular metamaterial. It could lead to the development of safer, lighter and more durable structures for aerospace or automotive.

Professional Engineering

Schools, parents and businesses should collectively push the message that apprenticeships are of equal value to traditional academic routes, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has said. Skills and education lead Stephanie Baxter called for a shift in perception after IET research revealed that a third (32%) of engineering companies are still looking to recruit and train apprentices and graduates to fill skill gaps.

Want the best engineering stories delivered straight to your inbox? TheProfessional Engineeringnewslettergives you vital updates on the most cutting-edge engineering and exciting new job opportunities. To sign up, clickhere.

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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Scientists study moving worm "blobs" to create robot swarms – Big Think

A new study looked at how California black worms work together to form "worm blobs" in order to model their behavior in moving swarms of simple robots. The "blob" formation, which can range in size from 10 to 50,000 worms, serves to protect the creatures from drying out and withstanding threats like strong heat.

The researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology focused on how thousands of the worms (Lumbriculus variegatus), about a centimeter in length each, can intertwine into an "active matter," which behaves as one. This self-organized shape-shifting blob allows the worms to achieve much more complex outcomes together than they would without getting hitched up.

The work promises to help engineers working on swarm robots to understand and adapt the mechanics of how such blobs behave.

Saad Bhamla, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech's School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, highlighted that being in a group is beneficial to the worms' survival:

"We were curious about why these worms would form these living blobs," said Bhamla. "We have now shown through mathematical models and biological experiments that forming the blobs confers a kind of collective decision-making that enables worms in a larger blob to survive longer against desiccation."

The scientists also showed that the worms in a blob can move together, exhibiting unique collective behavior. The capabilities of the blob are much more than anything the individuals can do on their own. Studying these blobs helps researchers who are looking to transfer the key traits of living systems to ones designed by humans. Swarm robots, in particular, are built around the idea that individual robots must collaborate to be able to engage in complex actions.

Collective worm and robot "blobs" protect individuals, swarm together

The worms were studied closely by the research associate Yasemin Ozkan-Aydi, whose experiments included testing the blob's responsiveness to temperature and light changes and creating a "worm gymnasium", which allowed her to gauge the strength of the worms. To create a worm blob, she took the worms out of water. When they couldn't find the water, they came together in a ball-like blob. The worms would trade off on who would be on the outside of the blob, where most evaporation took place. This allowed the collective to suffer less of an effect from the lack of liquid. The researchers concluded that being in a blob helped the worms survive 10 times longer when being out of water, compared to individual worms.

Georgia Tech research associate Yasemin Ozkan-Aydin holds a smarticle blob as Georgia Tech Assistant Professor Saad Bhamla holds a worm blob.

Credit: Christopher Moore, Georgia Tech

Professor Daniel Goldman, in whose lab these experiments were carried out, pointed to the unexpected smartness of what the worms did.

"They would certainly want to reduce desiccation, but the way in which they would do this is not obvious and points to a kind of collective intelligence in the system," explained Goldman. "They are not just surface-minimizing machines. They are looking to exploit good conditions and resources."

This intelligence of the worms was also on display in heat experiments, where the cooperation between the worms in the blob allowed them to slink away from hot spots, dramatically improving their survival chances. Moving as a blob, 95% of the worms made it to the cold side.

Ozkan-Aydin incorporated the observations of worm behavior into small robotic blobs made of "smart active particles" or "smarticles." She pinned six 3D-printed robots which featured two arms and two light sensors in a mesh, essentially entangling them similarly to the worms. She then programmed and tested different movements the robots could perform, finding that the robot swarms "generate emergent behavior that is similar to what we saw in the worms."

You can check out the new study "Collective dynamics in entangled worm and robot blobs" published in PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Scientists study moving worm "blobs" to create robot swarms - Big Think

Riding the Funding Wave: These DFW Startups Got the Money in 2020 Dallas Innovates – dallasinnovates.com

COVID brought in-person meetings and pitches to a screeching halt last year, but that didnt stop deals from getting done. VCs, angels, and corporatesalong with IPOskept the money flowing for companies in Dallas-Fort Worth to fund future developments, hires, and next-gen tech. From Taysha Gene Therapies $125 million in two funding rounds (and its subsequent IPO) to Bestows $70 million Series C , the investment landscape defied the pandemic with robust activity.

Weve rounded up 32 notable funding deals. Fitting the digital demands of a global pandemic, its a tech-heavy group, with liberal doses of biotech and healthcare-related firms, received money to keep them growing. These are startups to watch.

The Plano-based healthcare website marketing platform announced a $7 million Series A funding round led by Austin-based PE firm Unbundled Capital in January 2020. Founded in 2003, DoctorLogic works with medical practices in the field of aesthetics, dentistry, surgery, and general medical. Its technology includes a proprietary Content Creation Engine showcasing its customers online presence, helping them acquire new patients and measure their marketing efforts.

The Dottid team in January 2020. Founder and CEO Kyle Waldrep is fifth from the left. [Photo: Dottid]

The Dallas proptech startup offering SaaS for commercial real estate landed $3.9 million in seed funding in January 2020. The startup doubled its staffing last year anddeveloped Dottid Industrial, which officially unveiled in early 2021. CEO Kyle Waldrep, who founded the company in 2016, calls Dottids new workflow management platform the first-ever created specifically for industrial owners, managers, brokers, and tenants. Its time for the commercial real estate industry to catch up with the innovation industrial property tenants are used to, he said in a news announcement. The company hired a former Toyota Connected engineer, Senneca Miller, as its new CTO in 2019.

Patricia Zilliox, with expertise in global clinical development in ophthalmology and a 30-plusyear career at Alcon Laboratories, is president and CEO.[Photo via Eyevensys]

Biotech startup Eyevensys, led by a one-time Alcon exec, is a privately held biotech with U.S. operations based in Fort Worth at UNTs HSC and a headquarters in Paris, France. The clinical-stage company, which was founded in 2008, raised $30 million in Series B funding in January 2020. Eyevensys develops non-viral gene therapies for retinal and other ophthalmic diseases. Among its tech is a gene therapy platform to deliver ocular drugs via an electrotransfection system to the ciliary muscle of the eye. The company is funded by the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Pureos Bioventures, Bpifrance through the Innobio Fund, CapDecisif, Inserm Transfert Initiative, Pontifax, and the Global Health Sciences Fund.

Pieces Founder & CEO, Ruben Amarasingham

The Dallas healthcare AI startup closed a $25.7 million Series B round led by Concord Health Partners in January 2020. Physician and scientist Ruben Amarasingham invented the Pieces platform to connect providers with data and people with services. Since its founding in 2015, the healthtech startup has built integrated communities with clients from hospitals, health systems, and health plans to community clinics, service providers, and educational services. The company recently acquired Bowtie Business Intelligence to fuel its growth in January 2021.

Sales software provider Spotio received $4.5 million in January 2020 in Series A funds from Florida venture capital firm Ballast Point Ventures. The Dallas startup, which has an office in Poland, provides a mobile-first platform for field salespeople to manage sales territories, conduct face-to-face meetings, and improve sales performance. CEO Trey Gibson, who founded the startup in 2014, said the funding would be used to accelerate development of its tech pipeline, add to its sales team, and strengthen its marketing efforts. The company has raised a total of $5.1 million in four rounds since 2016, according to Crunchbase.

The Dallas building configuration software startup announced $2 million in seed funding in early 2020 from Parkway Venture Capital. The game-like city-building software helps architects, real estate developers, and general contractors run simulations to determine how buildings can be set up on a site. TestFit CEO Clifton Harness, who co-founded the company in 2017, said the funding would help the firm scale and expand into new markets, while continuing to innovate its generative-design software. Testfits app, a software-as-a-service solution, uses proprietary AI algorithms to produce results in seconds, the company says.

Cysiv CEO and co-founder Partha Panda [DI composite: Photo via Cysiv, illustration via istockphoto]

The Irving-based enterprise Security Operations Center-as-a-Service company originally incubated within Trend Micro. The spinout closed a $26 million Series A funding round in February to scale business operations and fuel further platform enhancements. Cysivs cloud-based platform aims to address the challenges enterprises currently face in protecting their data. Its technology combines elements of a threat-hunting security operations center with a managed security stack for hybrid cloud, network, and endpoint security.

Founder Vaidyanatha Siva and board member Prabhaka Reddy, who is co-founder and managing partner of Naya Ventures, at the 2020 Innovation Awards presented by D CEO and Dallas Innovates. Siva was named Startup Innovator of the Year. [Photo: Bret Redman]

The Irving AI healthtech startup, which was founded in 2015, announced bridge funding from Chicago PE firm Colosseum Group in February 2020 under the name DocSynk. Three months after its bridge funding, the company rebranded to FelixHealthcare.AI to better describe the companys patented AI healthcare engine, founder and CEO Vaidyanatha Siva told Dallas Innovates. The startup tech uses machine and deep learning to help healthcare organizations transform both business and clinical processes. DocSynks AI system can compile lists of patients who are at risk for chronic illnesses, such as early-onset diabetes or coronary artery disease, along with their probability of being diagnosed within certain time frames. The funding will help the startup move toward a Series A round, the company said at the time. The startup previously received $1 million in seed funding from Naya Ventures in 2016. Of the new name, the company says Felix is roughly defined as happy. That aligns to the startups mission to make the healthcare journey happy and successful for all stakeholders.

Shiftsmart Inc., a Dallas-based marketplace for part-time work, raised more than $16.3 million of a $16.5 million equity funding offering, per a filing in February. Founded in 2015, Shiftsmart connects part-time workers with open shifts in a number of industries. The startup helps companies source workers and manage peak shifts, and provides a channel for running promotions and incentives. An app matches workers with jobs based on their credentials, availability, and preferences. People can accept or decline the job with a swipe, Shiftsmart said. The startup has raised a total of $22.5 million in funding over 2 rounds since 2017. The January Series A round included investments from Perot Jain, Mark Cuban, HALL Group, SoftBank, Spieker Partners, and the WeWork Creator Fund, according to Crunchbase.

Worlds is the third AI Venture for Dave Copps (left) and Chris Rhode (center). The duo, along with CTO Ross Bates (right), started their latest venture in 2018. [Photos: Worlds Inc.]

Emerging from stealth in early 2020, Dallas-based AI startup Worlds Inc. raised a $10 million Series A in February. Its platform creates live AI-powered models of real-world scenes, making it possible for organizations to remotely sense physical environments from a single interface. The extended reality environments are almost like turning real life into a video game, Copps says. The tech gives businesses and organizations a new way to viewand managetheir physical assets. In October, the founders unveiled Worlds Protect, a non-invasive, rapid breath test for COVID-19 that has FDA emergency-use authorization on the radar along with a team that includes Texas A&M and the U.S. Army.

In March, the Dallas biopharmaceutical company received an oversubscribed $80 million Series A investment led by Colt Ventures, the Dallas-based family office of Darren Blanton, and OrbiMed Advisors LLC. The funding will help bring two new lung disease drugs to marketReCode plans to file an investigational application with the FDA in 2021. As part of the deal, ReCode also merged with TranscripTx, a California-based biotech firm. The genetic medicines company has an office in Menlo Park, California.

The Dallas-based edge computing innovator announced a Series B equity funding round in March that it said will be used to accelerate growth in product development, engineering, and go-to-market activities. Led by California-based Juniper Networks and Atlanta-based Cox Communications, the amount of the round was not disclosed. Including an earlier Series A round led by Abry Partners, the new funding brings StackPaths total equity raised a reported $396 million. In September, the edge-computing platform hired a new chief technology officer, William Charnock, who will help expand its global footprint, CEO Kip Turco said. StackPath, founded in 2016, is eyeing the rapid growth of edge computing, partly attributable to new and growing 5G digital cellular networks that can boostby a factor of 10wireless network speed and increase data volume capacity by an estimated 40 percent per user over current 4G standards.

The Dallas tech unicorn reported explosive growth in 2020. In April, the supply-chain planning pioneer announced a minority equity investment from KKR that valued the company at over a billion dollars. o9 Solutions AI-powered platform, which helps global enterprises drive digital transformation, has grown its annual recurring revenue by more than 100 percent in the last year, it said at the time. The first external capital raise in its history, the funding is expected to accelerate o9s expansion in industry verticals and global markets. in late December, o9 announced a partnership with Gurobi Optimization, which produces whats been called the worlds fastest mathematical optimization solver. o9 will offer the Gurobi Optimizer as part of its AI-powered platform. The startup said it more than doubled its annual recurring revenue bookings last year, per a news release. o9 reported bookings across all its core industry verticals: CPG, Manufacturing, and Retail. The startup also noted growth in the Food and Beverage and Fashion and Apparel segments. Crunchbase reports o9 Solutions has raised a total of $122 million in funding over seven rounds since 2012.

Coppell-based Peak Nanosystems, known for taking nanotechnology out of the lab and into the real world, closed on a Series C funding round with a $25 million investment from Connecticut-based Squadron Capital in April. The company is expanding its optical product development and acquired PolymerPlus, which has developed its own tech for optics and film capacitors that are ready for product launches in 2021. Through the acquisition, Peak Nano will get exclusive rights to that tech.

Panna Sharma, CEO of Lantern Pharma

The Dallas clinical-stage biotech startup specializing in precision oncology therapeutics earned more than $26 million in its June IPO. That will allow it to hire more biologists, cancer researchers, and AI developers, said CEO Panna Sharma. Lantern recently surpassed one billion data points on its proprietary AI platforma milestone that could help improve patient outcomes by matching biomarker signatures with the best treatment options.

In June, Frisco-based Trivie, a training and communication startup that uses cognitive science, gamification, and adaptive learning to help employees remember training information longer, closed $5 million in Series A funding to increase the distribution of its app. Trivie said the investment round, led by Cottonwood Venture Partners, will expand its remote learning technology to Fortune 1000 companies and others in industries like energy, manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare, and consumer goods. So far, Trivie has raised a total of $16.6 million in funding over four rounds since it was founded by Lawrence D. Schwartz and Leland Putterman in 2011, according to Crunchbase. As the need for safety training and remote learning increasesand62 percent of Americans work from homethe startup said major companies have turned to its AI-based gamification software. Subway, Anheuser-Busch, and more have wanted to ensure employees will remember and follow guidelines, Trivie says.

John Tomlinson, the co-founder of Equalizer Games and a former NFL coach. [Image: Courtesy Equalizer Games]

The Dallas startups app, a virtual football training program for quarterbacks and coaches, received a $100,000 investment from Arlan Hamilton, well known in the VC community for investing in underrepresented entrepreneurs. Created by former NFL coach John Tomlinson, the app helps QBs read coverages and make smarter decisions.

The Dallas-based first-mile supply chain startup closed on a $2.5 million funding round in July, following a $3.2 million seed round led by Austin-based LiveOak Venture Partners that was announced in late 2019. The startup, which offers solutions for importers and connects global supply with demand through its platform, aims to bring international trade into the digital age. The most recent investment was led by Austin-based Ironspring Ventures and joined by a new investor, Supply Chain Ventures. Mercado plans to leverage the two companies support, along with its existing team of investors, to optimize and advance its supply chain platform.

Photo-illustration: TechFW

The Bedford-based startup closed an oversubscribed Series A funding round in July for its leading work on retinas, which could enable the blind to see. The undisclosed amount of funding is expected to be used to begin a clinical trial on inherited retinal disorders and other eye-related initiatives. The startup, a TechFW client, also announced the addition of Dr. Alvaro Guillem, a co-founder of ZS Pharma, as its chairman of the board.

Alkami Technology

Plano-based Alkami, a fintech founded in 2009 that provides cloud-based digital solutions for credit unions and banks, raised $140 million in a September 2020 venture round lead by D1 Capital Partners. Also in 2020, Alkami reached the 10 million user milestone and brought in more than $100 million in revenue. The fintech has raised a total of $385.2 million in 10 rounds since 2011, per Crunchbase. In October, the fintech acquired fraud prevention provide ACH Alert for an undisclosed amount.

R.A. Session II, president, CEO, and founder of Taysha Gene Therapies [Background image: Olena Yepifanova via iStock]

The Dallas biotech had an explosive start in 2020, moving from stealth to IPO in a matter of months. The clinical-stage startup that develops treatments for monogenic disorders of the central nervous system raised more than $125 million over two funding rounds in 2020: a Series A in April and a Series B Round in August. The company then went public in September at $20 a share, with an estimated $716.2 million in valuation, according to Crunchbase. Kicking off this year, Taysha and UT Southwestern together launched a new innovation fund in January 2021 to advance the development of new gene therapies.

Adaptive3D focuses on creating strain-tolerant materials used for additive manufacturing. [Photo: Courtesy Adaptive3D]

Spun out of UT Dallas, the startup founded in 2014 wants to change how the world mass manufactures plastics and rubbers. In October, it closed on an undisclosed Series B round to scale up its materials for 21st-century manufacturing. Per Crunchbase, the startup has raised a total of $5.1 million in two rounds. With a team of inventors and a large IP portfolio, it plans to use the funds to scale production and distribution to deliver photo-resin parts at a fraction of the weight and cost. Its photopolymer resins for additive manufacturing are tough, strain-tolerant, tear-resistant rubbers. Founded by inventor Walter Voit, the president and CEO, in 2014, the company is now known as a premium supplier of photopolymer resins. Voit is a professor at UTD who heads up the Advanced Polymer Research Lab.

The Dallas-based startup helps live streamers like Dude Perfect and Snoop Dogg scale their streams through tools for better audience engagement. A cross-platfrom chatbot, Botisimo raised $700,000 in initial seed funding in October 2020 from Mason Bridge, a Dallas-based operating partner specializing in software-driven businesses. Its suite of viewer engagement tools are available on Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, and more.

Craig Lewis is the CEO and founder of Gig Wage. [Photo: Michael Samples]

In October, the Dallas-based pioneer in simplifying payroll for the gig economy raised a $7.5 million Series A round to boost its banking platform. The funding was led by Green Dot, a Pasadena-based financial technology and bank holding company. Additional participation comes from Techstars and Rise of the Rest, among others. The deal goes beyond just an investmentGreen Dot will now serve as an infrastructure bank partner to Gig Wage, allowing the startup to add Green Dots solutions to its instant payments platform for gig workers and the huge number of underbanked Americans. This year, the startup raised another $2.5 million in follow-on funding in January. That brings the Dallas-based fintechs total Series A funding to approximately $10 million, the startup told us. Founder and CEO Craig Lewis plans to quadruple his team by the end of 2021.

Linear Labs electric motor was invented by Brad Hunstable and his father, Fred, while they were working to design a device that could pump clean water and provide power for small communities in underdeveloped regions. [Photo: Courtesy Linear Labs]

In October, the smart motor maker got a $6 million round and plans to expand its manufacturing and employee base. That followed a June kick off of Linear Labs public/private partnership with the City of Fort Worth, which included economic incentives worth up to $68.9 million to create a smart electric motor manufacturing facility and a research and development facility in the city. Founded in 2014, its motors have twice the torque of competitive motors or equal torque in half the size, Co-Founder Brad Hunstable says. Linear Labs also added Masergy Chairman and CEO Chris MacFarland to its Board of Directors last year.

MediBookr Founder and CEO Sunny Nadolsky [Image: Courtesy MediBookr]

The Dallas-based healthcare company offering a digital platform for provider-patient interactions raised an estimated $2.6 million in seed funding in October 2020. Founded by Healthcare Wildcatter alum Sunny Nadolsky, MediBookr responded to COVID-19 demand by rolling out several new tools offering improved digital engagement. Founder and CEO Sunny Nadolsky sees a healthcare experience of the future that rivals the efforts taken in the retail sector. The future of healthcare has a UX built for customer loyalty, she says. The ultimate end result? Lower operating costs and increased revenue for providers.

The convenience store company moved its HQ to Fort Worth last summer, closing on $235 million in equity funding in October for a store raze-and-rebuild campaign across its portfolio. The five-year-old startups fast-growth track was kickstarted when it acquired the 304-store Allsups chain in 2019. Yesway, which has 402 store locations, is on its way to a goal of 500. Yesway says it wants to pursue other acquisitions complementary to expanding the Yesway/Allsups brand.

ShearShares co-founding couple Courtney and Dr. Tye Caldwell. [Image: Courtesy ShearShare]

The McKinney-based beauty tech startup closed a $2.3 million seed round in November. Its a time of rapid financial growth for ShearShare, as it reaches $3.9 million in overall funding, per Crunchbase. The mobile marketplace for stylists said it experienced a 157 percent increase in users over the past few months, despite the pandemic. The startup was also one of four Black-founded startups in DFW to receive funding in October from the $5 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund. The local founders in total received $300,000.

Apty received $5.4 million in post-seed funding in December. The Frisco-based company develops Digital Adoption Platform software for enterprises to improve complex business processes and is used by big clients such as Mary Kay and Hitachi. This is not just the first outside investment for Apty but also validation of our success in the market, Krishna Dunthoori, Aptys founder and CEO, said. Dunthoori, who founded the startup in 2017, sees a growing need for digital adoption in the new normal. The startups platform lets companies solve issues in software utilization, digital transformation, and process compliance. Its tech and UX aims to make that easy with on-screen guidance, usage analytics, and insights. That, in turn, can improve process compliance.

From left: Bestow co-founders Jonathan Abelmann and Melbourne OBanion, photographed in 2018. [Courtesy: Bestow]

The Dallas-based digital life insurance platform capped 2020 with a $70 million Series C funding round, following a $50 million Series B raise in February. So far, the insurance innovator has raised $145 million in total funding as it readies for expansion. The startup wants to make life insurance coverage fast, easy, and accessible to millionsand expand the market. Bestow also acquired Centurion Life Insurance Company and started a nonprofit during the pandemic.

Founders Mandy Price and Star Carter.

Kanarys, a tech platform that helps companies prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion to strengthen workplace culture, had a landmark year in 2020. The company received $500,000 in funding as a runner up in Revolutions Rise of the Rest Tour pitch competition, also gaining a spot in Morgan Stanleys Multicultural Innovation Lab 2021 cohort. Black and female-founded startup was chosen for the inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders. They also were a recipient of Google for Startups Black Founders Fund. Kicking off 2021, the social innovation startup landed $3 million in seed funding in January, after receiving $1 million in pre-seed funds a year ago. Co-founded by Mandy Price and Star Carter in 2019, the startup now has $4.6 million in total funding. CEO Mandy Price has a lofty goal: Changing the face of DEI, so that we can all work where we belong.

Zirtue Co-Founder and CEO Dennis Cail calls his startup, Zirtue, a radically different fintech platform

The Dalla-based startup, along with Kanarys, took home $500,000 as a runner up in Revolutions 2020 Rise of the Rest pitch competition. It also landed an estimated $1.6 million in Seed Round funding in May and received funds from Dallas Cowboys Jaylon Smiths Minority Entrepreneurship Institute Capital Fund and the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in 2020. Thelending platform raised $1M in seed funding in 2019. Cail launched the startup in 2018 with co-founder Michael Seay, a Dallas financial executive and entrepreneur who serves as Zirtues CFO. He aims for a business strategy that includes social impact. The startups patent-pending app encourages transparent and equitable lending options for all people.

A version of this story was originally published in Dallas Innovates 2021: The Resilience Issue.

Our fourth annual magazine, Dallas Innovates 2021: The Resilience Issue, highlights Dallas-Fort Worth as a hub for innovation. The collective strength of the innovation ecosystem and intellectual capital in Dallas-Fort Worth is a force to be reckoned with.

Sign up to keep your eye on whats new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

Now in its second year, the program from Dallas Innovates and D CEO honors disruptors and trailblazers driving a new vision for North Texas.

The collective strength of the innovation ecosystem and intellectual capital in Dallas-Fort Worth is a force to be reckoned with.

Browse our curated selection of opportunities for innovators.

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Riding the Funding Wave: These DFW Startups Got the Money in 2020 Dallas Innovates - dallasinnovates.com

UVA Honors Distinguished Researchers at Virtual Awards Event – University of Virginia

On Friday during a virtual ceremony over Zoom, the University of Virginia honored and recognized faculty members for their outstanding contributions to their fields and the impact of their research and scholarly activities at the annual Research Achievement Awards.

Although it was a challenging year for researchers, we are proud of our facultys achievements and accomplishments, Melur Ram Ramasubramanian, UVAs vice president for research, said. We believe its important to celebrate our faculty who are making a significant impact on the world with their research and scholarship.

Our dedicated and talented researchers are deeply committed to the mission of this universityadvancing knowledge and passing it on to the world and the next generation, Provost Liz Magill said. The Research Achievement Awards are a great way to recognize our researchers for making meaningful contributions in their disciplines, supporting their peers and mentees, and having a positive impact on our communities.

If this past year has taught us anything, its that academic research is a fundamental part of a successful society, fueling discoveries in medicine, breakthroughs in engineering, and changing the way we think about and respond to the natural and social world, President Jim Ryan said. The research award winners truly exemplify the high-quality scholarship that makes UVA a leading research institution.

Ken Ono, Thomas Jefferson Professor of Mathematics, delivered the keynote address, and received a Distinguished Spotlight Award to recognize his contribution to the field of mathematics. He has won Sloan, Packard and Guggenheim fellowships, and in 2020 Academic Influence named him one of the top 20 most influential mathematicians of the past decade.

Prasanna V. Balachandran,School of Engineering and Applied Science

Balachandrans research focuses on materials informatics, an emerging field of materials science research. He has tackled several problems of materials science, including thermal management, nanoelectronics materials and the design of coatings for use in extreme environments.

Computational Materials Science Journal recognized Balachandran as a Rising Star in Computational Materials Science, and he was also a recipient of the DARPA Young Faculty Award in 2020.

Balachandrons knowledge in the application of artificial intelligence and density functional theory calculations to address grand challenge problems in the field of materials science and engineering makes him one of the foremost experts in the discipline, said Jacob L. Jones of North Carolina State Universitys College of Engineering,.

L. Ilse Cleeves,College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Cleeves is rapidly developing into one of the worlds leading experts in theoretical astrochemistry and its applications to newly forming and formed planets. Her research has focused on understanding the molecular and physical origins of planetary systems, getting closer to answering questions about whether life on planets was aided by organic materials delivered to planets as they formed or afterward.

Cleeves received the 2018 American Astronomical Societys Annie Jump Cannon Award, given for outstanding research by a young North American female astronomer, and recently earned a prestigious Packard Fellowship and a Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D award.

Cleeves is a brilliant and very productive scientist who is making very important contributions to our understanding of astrochemistry and the origin of planets, said Craig L. Sarazin, chair of UVAs Department of Astronomy.

Chongzhi Zang,School of Medicine

Zangs research focuses on developing computational models and algorithms for analyzing data from cutting-edge technologies, and on using data science to study the epigenetics in human diseases, primarily cancer. He has developed bioinformatics tools including SICER, a ChIP-sequencing analysis tool, and BART, a big-data transcriptional regulator prediction tool. Both are used widely in the research community.

His research is both data-driven and translational, as it focuses on human cancer systems, a passion developed during his Ph.D. and postdoctoral training experiences and continuing as a productive, innovative computational scientist, Stephen Rich of the UVA School of Medicine said. Chongzhi has made remarkable and groundbreaking contributions to the studies of chromatin epigenetics and transcriptional regulation in cancer.

William A. Petri Jr.,School of Medicine

Petris research is on the role of the immune system in infections, and has been largely focused on intestinal infections like C. difficile colitis and their consequences in children in the developing world. In 2020, Petri stepped forward to provide regular updates on new developments in COVID-19 virology, immunology, treatment, vaccines and pandemic control, locally as well as globally. His research extended to include vaccine improvements and a monoclonal antibody trial to help prevent infection and progression of COVID-19.

His many awards include an NIH MERIT Award, Virginia Outstanding Scientist and Inventor of the Year, and he recently was selected to receive the 2021 National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Maxwell Finland Award.

Petri is richly deserving of this prestigious award for his international leadership in the study of diarrheal infections, a leading cause of death of children in the developing world, said Upinder Singh, division chief of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine at Stanford University. There is no one who is more innovative or made greater advances in this key area of study.

Kodi S. Ravichandran,School of Medicine

Ravichandrans research focuses on cell clearance, or how the body turns over billions of cells every day. He looks at how this process affects human health and disease. His work has led him to work on problems with inflammatory illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis.

As chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology, he frequently collaborates with other faculty members. His work has led to a long publication list, including 12 papers in the prestigious journal Nature.

Ravichandrans discoveries have transformed the field and their impacts have been immense, both from a fundamental biological science perspective and from the perspective of understanding disease pathogenesis in many and varied contexts, said Christopher Gregory, director of the University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research. In this respect his work underpins future translation of the field into clinical care with, ultimately, invaluable societal impact.

Xiaodong (Chris) Li,School of Engineering and Applied Science

Lis research spans advanced manufacturing, materials and mechanics. He has created several new areas of study that have made a significant impact.

Lis manufacturing innovations include deploying a variety of monitoring techniques to catch defects and correct them in real time using digital sensors. Li together with his collaborators created an entirely new area digital image correlation-enabled smart manufacturing, which has been used worldwide in academia, research labs and industry and has made a significant impact economically, Scott Mao of the University of Pittsburghs Swanson School of Engineering said.

Li also developed ways to make manufacturing processes environmentally friendly by using organic matter like banana peels as fuel.

His work in materials includes developing a strong, lightweight, heat-resistant metallic composite by mimicking the structure of mollusk shells, and turning a cotton T-shirt into a wearable capacitor. Li also designed nanoparticles for a specialized drug delivery method to help cancer patients.

Joseph Hart,School of Education & Human Development; David Diduch,School of Medicine; Mark Miller,School of Medicine; Stephen Brockmeier,School of Medicine; Brian Werner,School of Medicine; F. Winston Gwathmey,School of Medicine

The interdisciplinary research team, comprised of kinesiology professor Hart and orthopedic surgeons Diduch, Miller, Brockmeier, Werner and Gwathmey, bridges the clinic and the laboratory with its Lower Extremity Assessment Program.

More than 700 patients recovering from knee surgery have done functional performance tests in the Department of Kinesiologys Exercise & Sport Injury Lab. The results from these tests help surgeons decide when their patients are ready to return to normal activities, but also serve as a research database. Now one of the largest sports medicine databases, the work has made a real difference in improving patient outcomes.

The team has made substantial advances in the understanding of the recovery of patients recovering from ACL reconstructive surgery, said Jay Hertel, chair of the Department of Kinesiology. This new knowledge has impacted clinical practice in many sports medicine disciplines including orthopedics, physical therapy and athletic training.

John A. Stankovic,School of Engineering and Applied Science

Stankovic is the BP America Professor of Computer Science and directs UVA Engineerings Link Lab for cyber-physical systems. Over the course of his career, Stankovic has mentored many junior faculty members. In addition to offering guidance on research ideas and proposal-writing techniques, he has often invited mentees to team with him on his own grant proposals. Stankovic has directed over 42 Ph.D. students to completion; many have gone on to become professors.

He is a role model, inspiring others by his contributions in the field of computer science and his research leadership in the areas of real-time systems, distributed computing, wireless sensor networks, wireless health and cyber-physical systems. Stankovic is an IEEE Life Fellow and ACM Fellow. He has an h-index of 119 and more than 66,000 citations.

Faculty members who nominated him wrote: Professor Stankovic has been a great faculty mentor who not only inspires us to become better researchers, but also provides extraordinary efforts to help us grow.

Christine Mahoney,Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Mahoneys research focuses on how nongovernmental organizations and governments at the local, national and global levels attempt to fight for the rights of refugees fleeing their homelands because of ethnic and political violence. Her scholarship in global advocacy uses social entrepreneurship to support the rights of the displaced. Her work has led to the creation of the Refugee Investment Network, a non-profit impact investing collaborative which creates solutions to forced migration around the globe.

Mahoney also does community public interest research in the local community. She collaborates with the New Hill Development Corporation to help end racial disparities by expanding and strengthening the African American middle class. The project uses a community engagement process, and has fostered partnerships in Charlottesville and around Virginia.

Christine has brought the research excellence of the University of Virginia to support an under-resourced segment of the Charlottesville population, said Yolunda Harrell, the CEO of New Hill Development Corporation.

Watch the award winners accept their awards.

The following researchers were also honored for their contributions in 2020 and invited to attend the event:

School of Architecture

College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Biocomplexity Institute

Darden School of Business

Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

McIntire School of Commerce

Provost Office

School of Data Science

School of Education and Human Development

School of Engineering and Applied Science

School of Law

School of Medicine

School of Nursing

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UVA Honors Distinguished Researchers at Virtual Awards Event - University of Virginia

Nanostructure of the Anodic and Nanomaterials Sol-Gel Based Materials Application: Advances in Surface Engineering – Products Finishing Magazine

by

Xavier Albort Ventura*

Laboratory Electrochemical R&D, Barcelona, Spain

University Politecnic of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain

Tecnocrom Industrial Cabrera de Mar, Barcelona, Spain

Editors Note: A printable pdf of this paper can be accessed and printed HERE.

ABSTRACT

Numerous metals are processed by anodic oxidation. As a result, one can obtain amorphous barrier-type oxides, crystalline barrier-type oxides or amorphous nanoporous oxides. Currently, highly-ordered nanoporous anodic aluminum oxides (AAO) are obtained with various electrolytes to form nanostructures with a range of geometrical features. This material can serve as a template for nanofabrication of variety of nanowires, nanotubes and nanodots. In this way, porous alumina can be fabricated electrochemically through anodic oxidation of aluminum, yielding highly ordered arrays of nano-holes several hundreds down to several tens of nanometers in size.

Sol-gel chemistry offers a flexible approach to obtain a diverse range of materials. It allows differing chemistries to be achieved as well as the ability to produce a wide range of nano-/micro-structures.

In bio-medical applications, sol-gel materials have been found to hold significant potential. One interesting application relates to hybrid materials that utilize sol-gel chemistry to achieve unusual composite properties. Another intriguing feature of sol-gels is the unusual morphologies that are achievable at the micro, and nano-scale. The ability to control pore chemistry at a number of different scales and geometries has proven to be a fruitful area of study, providing excellent bioactivity, and producing cellular responses and enabling the entrapment of biologically active molecules and their controllable release for therapeutic action.

Key words: Nanostructures, porous alumina AAO membranes, nanoporous anodic alumina (NAA), nanofabrication, sol-gel chemistry, nanocarriers, biomolecules.

1. Introduction

Porous alumina films formed by anodic oxidation of aluminum have been extensively studied for use as molds to form nanostructured materials. The technology of porous alumina and its usage as an anodic oxide coating in tools has a long history.

There is a great demand for the use of highly ordered nano-hole arrays, which can be produced on a scale of several tens of nanometers through self-organization, in a diversity of applications. These include high density storage media, functional nanomaterials exhibiting a quantum size effect, highly sensitive chemical sensors, nano-electronic devices and functional bio-chemical membranes.

Porous alumina membranes of anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) are widely used for the fabrication of various nanostructures and nano-devices. Over the last decade, many materials including nanowires, nanotubes and nanodot arrays, have been fabricated by the deposition of various metals, semiconductors, oxides and polymers inside the pores of AAO membranes (Fig. 1).

Figure 1 - SEM micrographs of an alumina nano-hole array formed by two-step anodic oxidation at 40 V using 0.15M oxalic acid: (a) plan-view, (b) cross-sectional view (Shingubara, et al., 1997).

Nanoporous substrates such as porous silicon, nano-porous anodic alumina, titania nanotube arrays and track-etched porous polymer membranes have been commonly employed as substrates for advanced sensing devices. Nanoporous anodic alumina (NAA) processes produce unique structural, chemical, optical, thermal and mechanical properties and biocompatibility in addition to controllable geometry and exploitable surface chemistries.

Ordered AAO stands out due to its remarkable properties such as chemical, thermal stability, hardness and high surface area. Over the past decade, we have witnessed the emergence of various applications based on AAO membranes such as molecular separation, chemical-biological sensing devices, cell adhesion, catalysis, energy storage and drug delivery vehicles (Fig. 2).

Figure 2 - Schematic diagram showing the typical AAO structureand the major applications for this nanostructured material.

Recent advances in fabrication procedures toward structural modifications and the generation of AAO structures with complex pore geometries, including branched, multilayered, modulated and hierarchically complex pores architectures are presented in Section 2.

Silica and doped silica materials obtained via solution gelation, or sol-gel, inorganic polymerization processes are also highly functional materials with an impressive range of applications, and utilize two of the pillars of chemistry: synthesis and analysis. Simple silica microspheres have since seen numerous applications, and today, the benefits provided by solution gelation are well recognized. In addition, advanced processing routes have also been developed that account for the problematic aspects of the gelation process.

Section 3 aims to describe the sol-gel synthesis routes that are most commonly used to produce ceramic and glass networks for biomedical applications. Sol-gel chemistry offers a flexible approach to obtaining a diverse range of materials. It allows different chemistries to be achieved and offers the ability to produce a wide range of nano-/micro-structures. In addition to providing an overview of the polymerization processes, the use of classical inorganic synthesis routes and colloidal aggregation will be discussed along with adaptations to the synthesis procedures that have allowed for further applications. Common links between methodologies are emphasized and the techniques themselves are discussed through recent applications.

Following this is a more detailed description of the biomedical areas where sol-gel materials have been explored and found to hold significant potential. One of the interesting fields that has been developed recently relates to hybrid materials that utilize sol-gel chemistry to achieve unusual composite properties. Another intriguing feature of sol-gels is the unusual morphologies that are achievable at the micro- and nano-scales.

2. Nanofabrication using a porous alumina template

Self-organized porous alumina nano-hole arrays have been used to fabricate a variety of nanomaterials. These methods are categorized as follows: etching of the semiconductor substrate using a porous alumina film as a mask, pattern transfer using porous alumina as a template for deposition of functional materials in the form of porous alumina nano-hole arrays by electroplating and sol-gel, and deposition of functional materials by chemical vapor deposition (CVD).

a. Porous alumina as an etching mask

The transfer of nano-holes to a semiconductor substrate is promising for applications such as photonic band materials, field emitter arrays and quantum dot arrays. Referring back to Fig. 1, a thin porous alumina film was used as a dry etching mask, by placing it in contact with the substrate. The porous alumina film was delaminated from the aluminum plate by a negative voltage pulse or dissolution of aluminum by dipping in HgCl2 solution. After removal of the nano-hole bottom barrier layer by argon plasma etching or ion beam etching, the porous alumina film was placed on the substrate.

Highly directional ion beam etching is necessary for substrate etching, since the alumina nano-hole aspect ratio (the ratio of depth to diameter ) is very high. The alumina mask showed high tolerance to Reactive Ion Beam Etching (RIBE) using a Br2/N2 mixed gas system (Shingubara, J. Nanoparticle Research, 5, 17-30 (2003)). In this method, maintaining the gap between the porous alumina and the substrate at a mnimum is essential for achieving ultrahigh uniformity.

Recently, an alternative method, using a porous alumina film deposited directly on the semiconductor substrate, was proposed by Shingubara (2003). A thin porous alumina film with an aspect ratio below 5 was formed on a Si/SiO2 substrate by the use of sputtered aluminum. Reactive ion etching using chlorine with a high self-bias of RF plasma proved effective for pattern transfer to Si. There was a significant reduction in hole size due to redeposition of nonvolatile materials on the side wall of the nano-holes. For instance, the initial porous alumina hole size of 40 nm was reduced to 10 nm Si holes when a higher aspect ratio of porous alumina nanoholes in the mask was used. The problem with this method was the non-uniformity of the porous alumina mask thickness, which would require a specially designed anodic oxidation electrode to improve the result.

b. CVD deposition on porous alumina

Chemical vapor deposition of materials in porous alumina nano-holes is a challenging topic for CVD research. Since porous alumina can contain extremely high aspect ratio holes, it is of great interest to discover how high aspect ratio holes can be filled by CVD. Working in a supercritical fluid medium is one way to obtain excellent disposition profiles.

Radium films were synthesized at controlled depths within porous alumina disks by the hydrogen reduction of organoradium compounds dissolved in supercritical CO2 at 50C. Guided by a simple mass transport model, radium films ranging from 1 to 60 microns in thickness were deposited at prescribed depths between 60 and 500 microns.

The formation of carbon nanotubes (CNT) in porous alumina by CVD has been intensively studied. It is well known that CNT-CVD needs catalysis for thermal decomposition. A well ordered array, using electrodeposited Co and Nb located beneath the aluminum layer is shown in the SEM micrograph of Fig. 3.

Figure 3 - SEM image of an array of carbon nano-tubes fabricated in a porous alumina template (Li,et al., 1999).

In the example shown in Fig. 3, using cobalt catalysis, pyrolysis of C2H2 was carried out at 600C. Carbon nanotubes with diameters ranging from 10 to several hundred nanometers and lengths of up to 100 microns can be produced. This structure is highly promising for an ultrahigh-density field emitter array. CNT formed through Co catalysis by this method has a multi-walled structure. Low temperature deposition of CNT at around 500C by microwave plasma-assisted CVD has also been reported.

c. Electroplating on porous alumina

Numerous studies have been conducted on the filling of conductive materials in porous alumina nano-holes by electroplating. Prior to electroplating, the bottom barrier layer should be thinned to less than about 15 nm. Wet chemical etching of the anodic alumina film using dilute chromic acid solution (pore widening treatment), or step-wise lowering of the anodic voltage to 15 V have been employed. Alternating current (AC) or pulsed current electroplating has been used since the impedance of the barrier layer at the nano-hole bottom is too large to allow for direct current (DC) electroplating. Research activity on electroplating magnetic materials in porous alumina has intensified remarkably in recent years. As for other metals, nanowire array formation of gold and silver have been reported.

3. Solgel synthesis on porous alumina

Sol-gel provides an alternative synthesis route for nanomaterial fillings in porous alumina nano-holes.

Monodispersed hollow nanocylinders containing crystalline titania particles have been filled by an aqueous solution of titanium tetrafluoride.

Hollow nanotubes comprised of In2O3 and Ga2O3, have been synthesized by sol-gel chemistry and sol-gel synthesis of an array of C-70 single cristal nanowires in a porous alumina template.

a. Organic precursors in sol-gel methods

Silicon alkoxides represent the main network forming agents used in sol-gel preparation methods. While the sol-gel process provides key benefits, such as the low synthesis temperatures and the vast array of alkoxide precursors available, the cost associated with alkoxide precursors presents some limitations.

Nevertheless,the efficiency provided by low temperature synthesis and the accuracy with which specific compositions can be achieved have the potential to outweigh any such negative aspects of the process. Low temperature synthesis is achieved through solution-mediated formation of strong covalent bonds between elements that would otherwise require excessively high temperatures to create. For alkoxides this requires initial hydrolysis of the alkoxy group followed by as condensation between network forming substrates (Fig. 4).

Figure 4 - Initial hydrolysis and condensation stages of tetraethyl orthosilicate - Si(OC2H5)4 (TEOS) in the production of silica oligomers: (a) Introduction of water to TEOS, (b) H2O forms a hypervalent substrate with silicon, (c) transfer of the proton from the water to the adjacent alkoxy group, (d) cleavage of the ester bond and dealcoholation.

Sol-gel methods also enable the powderless processing of glasses, ceramics and thin films or fibers directly from solution. Precursors are mixed at the molecular level and variously shaped materials may be formed at much lower temperatures than is possible by traditional preparation methods.

One of the major advantages of sol-gel processing is the possibility of synthesizing hybrid organic-inorganic materials. Combinations of inorganic and organic networks facilitate the design of new engineering materials with diverse properties for a wide range of applications. Biomedical applications invariably require the design of new biomaterials, and this can be achieved by emerging sol-gel chemistry and biochemistry. The gel-derived materials are excellent model systems for studying and controlling biochemical interactions within constrained matrices with enhanced bioactivity because of their surface chemistry, micro-/nano-pores and large specific surface area. In biomedical applications, the coating of medical devices is an important issue. Materials used in medical devices should have appropriate structural and mechanical properties and ideally promote a healing response without causing adverse immune reactions. Medical services designers currently use various surface treatments such as coatings that enhance or modify properties such as lubricity, the degree of hydrophobicity, functionalisation and biocompatibility. Sol-gel technology offers an alternative technique for producing bioactive surfaces for these applications.

Sol-gel thin film processing offers a number of advantages including low-temperature processing, ease of fabrication, and precise microstructural and chemical control. The sol-gel derived film or layer not only provides a good degree of biocompatibility, but also a high specific surface area and an external surface whose rich chemistry allows ease of functionalization by suitable biomolecules.

The development of multifunctional nanoparticles that can be used as drug delivery vectors remains a significant challenge of material science. These applications require intimate control of the particle size and discrete, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles that can be prepared by the sol-gel method to lower the annealing temperatures required.

Silica-based magnetic nanocomposites, formed by magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) dispersed in a silica matrix, are of relevant technological and scientific interest. Here encapsulation in silica prevents interactions between the MNPs, and consequently assures a uniform dispersion. The latter is essential for efficient performance in most applications, including the diagnostic and therapeutic areas, where particles must display high magnetization, be stable against oxidation and most importantly, remain nonaggregated.

Engineering new bone tissue with cells and a synthetic extracellular matrix (ECM) represents a promising approach for the regeneration of mineralized tissues. Bone regeneration requires a scaffold material upon which cells can attach proliferate and differentiate into functionally and structurally appropriate tissues for the body location into which they are placed .

Bone is a highly mineralized tissue consisting of an apatitic mineral phase most similar to a form of carbonated hydroxyapatite (HCA), although a significant contribution is made by extraneous ions such as sodium chloride, zinc and, to a lesser extent, fluorides. In general, HCA can be considered a model mineral for natural bone and is widely accepted as a bioactive material with excellent biocompatibility, high osteoconductivity, and reasonable mechanical strength. For these reasons, it has been widely used in tissue engineering applications, especially for bone and cartilage regeneration.

However, in vivo data suggest that degradation or ion release from labile sources such as bioactive glasses promotes new bone formation, as opposed to the relatively lower ion release that occurs as a result of HCA minerals reaching equilibrium with their surrounding medium. It appears that sol-gel methods hold the potential to apply an ever-increasing range of glass-based bioactive coating to materials, which have previously remained incompatible with alternative coating techniques. Furthermore, the versatility of the sol-gel approach is opening new doors to previously unattainable compositions, again increasing the potential applications of sol-gel materials as fillers to replace tissue within necrotic or defect sites.

Sol-gel microencapsulation technology and its broad application potential are now well-known. Relevant here is the use of silica for encapsulation and controlled release of both hydrofilic and hydrophobic molecules, ensuring considerable chemical and physical protection of the valued entrapped dopants. Given the above, it can be seen that sol-gel derived bioactive materials hold great potential value.

b. Sol-gel methods and reactions processes

The sol is a colloidal suspension of solid particles, whereas a gel is an interconnected network of solid-phase particles that form a continuous entity throughout a secondary, usually liquid phase. Throughout sol-gel technology, these phases are conserved though the chemical reactions that take place during the gel evolutions, and can be manipulated in a variety of ways, e.g., altering the initial precursors, time allowed for gelation, catalysts, degree of solvation, gelation conditions or physical processing of the gel itself. Sol-gel processes allow the formation of solid materials through gelation of solutions and can be used to produce a large number of useful morphologies. The processes are illustrated in Fig. 5.

Figure 5 - Sol-gel synthesis routes: Processes are defined as sol-gel by the transition of a colloidal solution to an interconnected gel network (gelation). The further processing stages illustrated are non-redundant and may be combined depending on the specific needs of the application.

What remains constant for the production of sol-gel derived bioactive materials are the stages that allow for hydrolysis and condensation reactions to occur. Successful manipulations of these reactions are shown in Fig. 6.

Figure 6 - Subsequent condensation stages of TEOS in the production of silica oligomers. Condensation between silanol groups on two hydrolyzed TEOS molecules (a and b) and between a silanol group and an adjacent alkoxy group (c and d) result in the production of free H2O and ethanol respectively.

Figure 6 shows that only one reaction occurs during condensation: the loss of an HO-group from the substrate. This mechanism is therefore a reaction that can occur as either dehydration or dealcoholation. For the former to occur, two HO-groups must take part in the formation of an Si-O-Si bond, whereas the latter results from the direct transfer of a proton to the leaving group on a neighboring substrate.

As evident from these reactions, a decrease in pH can promote hydrolysis through protonation of the leaving groups. Alternatively, higher pH will induce the deprotonation of OH- groups and therefore favor condensation. However, OH- is a highly efficient nucleophilic species and electron transfer from -OH groups can be facilitated by H+ in the immediate environment. This relationship means that higher and lower pH values are also able to promote condensation and hydrolysis, respectively. In silica-based systems, the reactions proceed by acidic catalysis at pH < 2.5 and basic catalysis when pH < 2.5 ,which can be explained by the isoelectric point of silica at pH 2.5.

In the sol-gel route synthesis, a stepwise reaction scheme has been undertaken to control the ratio of hydrolysis to condensation rates. In general, the rate of hydrolysis is fast compared to that of condensation in strong acidic conditions. Therefore, a well-ordered hexagonal arrangement of mesopores (a pore structure that is commonly formed in sol-gel silica materials) is formed at low pH in acidic conditions. Meanwhile, in neutral or basic conditions ranging from pH 7 to pH 9, the rate of condensation is faster than that of hydrolysis, and eventually the materials prepared by a single-step reaction at high pH display a gel-like structure often without mesopores. However, the higher electronegativity of transition metal species as compared to silicon and phosphorus can cause issues where condensation reactions proceed with an unfavorable bias away from the desired network composition or the end particulate structure.

Like silicon, phosphorus and vanadium precursors can be used as network-formers within the sol-gel process. This difference in network connectivity results in a more relaxed network structure when compared to silica-based networks, as silicate is able to share all four oxygen atoms with neighboring cationic groups. This in turn increases the range and quantity of species that are able to be included, but such flexibility comes at the expense of stability, as the high electronegativity of the =O bond leaves the network open to hydrolysis. As with conventional melt-derived materials, solubility can be controlled by the combination of network modifiers, as can the release of active agents or tailoring of other physical properties of the material in question.

The solvent itself also plays an important role in determining the rate of gelation reactions. This solvation effect can occur in two ways: through viscosity or hydration effects. However, the solvent is shown to alter the NiO2 crystalline structure, which serves to highlight the need for experimental confirmation as, with such a variety of avenues available to exploit, comes as set of variables that must also be controlled, including the effects of viscosity, or more precisely the dielectric constant.

By altering the solvent species from that of the alkoxide itself, the substrate can become coordinated with a mixture of alkoxy groups. Undoubtedly, this would affect polymerization in a way that is dependent on a specific combination of coordinated groups present on network-forming substrates throughout the solution.

The initial Si-O-Si bridges that are formed can be further strengthened by passive deposition of silica on the initial bridge as a result of the equilibrium orthosilicic acid Si(OH)4, and the silica making up the mass of the colloids. Furthermore, colloidal sol-gel methods are not limited to silica or silica-based systems.

The applicability of the colloidal methods is based on two key aspects of the process stabilization of the colloidal particles within the sol and coalescence or flocculation to form the gel. With particles that possess the same electrostatic charge, colloidal suspensions are maintained by the potential, which in turn reflects the magnitude of the electrical double layer present on charged particles in solution. As noted above, the removal of the solvent is one method by which the aggegation of colloidal particles can be achieved. Alternatively, altering the pH, salinity or temperature can induce depeptization, whereby the electrical double layer is reduced to a point where the potential is no longer strong enough to prevent attractive Van der Waals forces and flocculation takes place.

Despite the potential of colloidal methods to provide much thicker, more structurally resistant films and deposits than methods that rely on de novo synthesis,** this route has seen the least number of applications within biomedical research. The gelation rate correlates well with the structural stability of the encapsulated proteins and serves to demonstrate an ability to circumvent conditions that would otherwise damage sensitive molecules. For certain applications however, the colloidal sol-gel method does not provide the degree of protection required.

Colloidal methods offer a further benefit over alkoxide based systems in that the majority of the network is already present in the sol. Adaptations such as the introduction of osmoprotectants can therefore be applied without significantly interfering with the integrity of inorganic capsule itself.

c. Metal chelation in the sol-gel

In aqueous solution, metal ions are coordinated by a hydration shell, the nature of which depends both on the valence of the specific metal in question and the pH of the solution. This ultimately results in the formation of polymeric oxides in solution.

The hydroxy-ligand thus formed is able to act as a bridge between the two hydrated metal complexes. This results in the release of a proton into the aqueous medium and is followed by a subsequent deprotonation event resulting in a M-O-M covalent bond. From this brief description alone, the influence of pH on the process can also be deduced. An increase in pH favoring olation and the lower pH inhibiting the process.

Undoubtedly, materials composed of metal oxides exhibit a wide range of desirable properties and as a result, a series of methods have been developed based on chelation of metal precursors in order to control the natural polymerization processes. Essentially, metal chelation sol-gel methods employ strong chelating agents (such as citric acid or EDTA) as a means of controlling the formation of the highly reactive hydrated complexes.

Although discussed here in terms of chelated inorganic precursors, chelation itself is not limited to inorganic processes. Such methods can also be applied to modify the polycondensation of metal alkoxides whereby the rate of reaction is reduced following the replacement of alkoxide, leaving groups with a chelating ligand in more stable conformation.

In further discerning metal chelation methods from the alkoxide sol-gel route, the underlying principle is that polycondensation of the metal itself occurs through hydration processes described above, as opposed to the hydrolysis and condensation steps akin to the polymerization of organometallic precursors.

Based on a system that made use of triethanolamine as an Fe(II) chelating agent, triethanolamine is able to form chelation complexes with a wide range of transition metal elements, therefore offering a plausible route for further biologically relevant substitutions within the network.

The use of epoxides as gelation agents provides another useful synthesis pathway. Typically, epoxide routes are most effective when the formal oxidation state of the dopant cation is M+3, although species that possess a lower valence may also be incorporated. In this instance, the epoxide does not act as a precursor per se. Rather, the epoxide group is able to efficiently accept protons, leading to the formation of hydrated oxo-ligands M(H2O)n(O)m-n)+2 coordination until deprotonation in the presence of an epoxide.

Although not strictly a chelation-base methods parallels can be observed between this approach and the more typical chelation methods that aim to prevent natural polymerization processes until required.

d. Polymer assisted sol-gel

In a natural extension from metal chelates methods are the polymeric sol-gel methods. Essentially these methods involved the chelation of reactive inorganic gel-forming agents within an organic polymer network although, depending on the material to be produced, chelation is secondary to stabilization. In broader terms, gel forming agents are maintained within in a state of dispersion throughout the solution, thereby preventing the precipitation of aggregates within the sol. This method does however require subsequent heat treatment to remove the organic polymer following the formation of the inorganic gel.

Chemical properties,such as the biomimetic*** molar ratios of apatites, can also be achieved with polymer assisted stabilization due to the homogeneous elemental distribution of the gel network.

Inorganic networks can also be formed in situ through the polymerization of organic precursors. This method involves the formation of a three-dimensional polyester network resulting from the reaction between ethylene glycol and citric acid. The citric acid acts as a chelation agent due to an available bi-dentate binding mechanism followed by an esterification with ethylene glycol (Fig. 7). The organic network would be removed as with ex situ polymers as described above.

Figure 7 - Esterification (condensation) of ethylene glycol and citrate in the presence of a cationic ligand (calcium).

Effective production of both biocompatible ceramic-mineral composites and apatites with predefined stoichiometry has been achieved, with polymer-assisted sol-gel methods. Such research may also have broader implications than in solving issues associated with biocompatibility as, with the advent of controlled deposition of inorganic mineral layers, a biotic hard tissue regeneration may also be within reach.

e. Silica-based sol-gel materials

Silica-based sol-gel materials have been the subject of intense interest for the last three decades. Biomolecular encapsulation within sol-gel-derived silica matrices was first successfully achieved by entrapping enzymes into TEOS matrices.

During the last few decades, silica-based materials have supplied successful solutions for soft and hard tissue regeneration. These materials are highly biocompatible and the positive biological effects of their reaction products make them an interesting group of materials for tissue regeneration. Silica-based bio-reactive glasses were first synthesized via a sol-gel technique at lower processing temperatures compared to the melt derived glasses. Extensively researched sol-gel glasses were based on the SiO2-ONa-P2O3 system for biomedical apllications. Silica-based sol-gel glasses exhibit many of the properties associated with an ideal material for tissue regeneration, such as high surface area and a porous structure, in terms of overall porosity and pore size, that promote cell-material interactions and cell invasion. Research on these glasses showed that their porous structure exhibits a higher surface area that exhibits higher tissue bonding rates.

A sol-gel process, involving the foaming of a sol with the aid of a surfactant, followed by condensation and gelation reactions, has been used to prepare porous scaffolds of a few bioglasses, such as the glass designated with the composition (mol%): 40 SiO2-2O-ONa-2P2O3. The as-prepared scaffold had an overall microstructure similar to that of dry human trabecular bone, but the pore structure was hierarchical consisting of interconnected macropores <90 microns, resulting from the forming process and mesopores that are inherent to the sol-gel process.

Figure 8 - Plan-view SEM micrographs of porous alumina film surfaces that were formed by AFM nano-indentation, followed by anodic oxidation at 40 V using 0.15M oxalic acid for 5 min. Indentation force was 4.16105 N. The indentation interval was varied from 55 to 110 nm. (Shingubara, et al., 2002).

Figure 8 illustrates the porous structure of the scaffolds made of bio-active glasses produced by means of the sol-gel processes. This hierarchical pore structure of the scaffolds is beneficial for stimulating interaction with cells as it mimics the hierarchical structure of many natural tissues and more closely simulates the physiological environment of mineralized tissues. Thanks to the nanopores in the glass, sol-gel derived scaffolds have a very high surface area (100-150 m2/g). As a result, these scaffolds degrade and convert faster to via a hard anodizing process than those of melt-derived glass with the same composition. However, these sol-gel-derived scaffolds have a relatively low compressive strength, and consequently, they are primarily suitable for applications focused on low load bearing orthopedic sites.

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Nanostructure of the Anodic and Nanomaterials Sol-Gel Based Materials Application: Advances in Surface Engineering - Products Finishing Magazine

Evelyn Hu delivers 2020 Dresselhaus Lecture on leveraging defects at the nanoscale – MIT News

Harvard University Professor Evelyn Hu opened the 2020 Mildred S. Dresselhaus Lecture with a question: In an imperfect world, is perfection a necessary precursor for transformative advances in science and engineering?

Over the course of the next hour, for a virtual audience of nearly 300, the Tarr-Coyne Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University argued that, at the nanoscale, there must be more creative ways to approach materials. By looking at what nature gives us in terms of electron energy levels, phonons, and a variety of processes, Hu said, scientists can re-engineer the properties of materials.

To illustrate her point, Hu described the effect of defects vacancies or missing atoms in otherwise perfect crystalline semiconductors. In transforming these defects, Hu demonstrated how unique properties at the nanoscale involving quantum confinement can profoundly change electron density of states. Hus talk exemplified the exceptional scholarship and leadership that have defined her career, says Vladimir Bulovi, the founding faculty director of MIT.nano.

Professor Hu has developed groundbreaking techniques for designing at the nanoscale, used those techniques to produce extraordinary innovations, and extended her impact through inspirational mentorship and teaching, says Bulovi, who is also the Fariborz Maseeh Professor of Emerging Technologies. We were honored to have her present this years Dresselhaus Lecture."

Hu attended the same high school as Dresselhaus Hunter College High School in New York City a coincidence that was like a good luck talisman to me, she said. It gives me such great pleasure to try and express my gratefulness to Millie for all the guidance and mentorship shes given to me from the time I was a graduate student and the inspiration that she's given to us all.

2020 Mildred S. Dresselhaus Lecture: Evelyn Hu, Harvard University

Making a perfect material less perfect

Inspired by Dresselhauss work in the early 1990s to rethink thermoelectric materials, Hus research group is working on new ways to engineer materials that can exhibit a combination of photon correlation and spin coherence. Her talk showcased how silicon vacancies in silicon carbide, when integrated within nanoscale optical cavities, can result in a controlled output of light. The integrated defect-cavity system can also serve as a nanoscope into the material, allowing scientists to learn about the interactions with surrounding defects, providing broader insights into long-term quantum coherence.

Hu displayed an image of a perfect, single crystal semiconductor, then quickly disrupted that perfection by removing the silicon atoms to create a silicon vacancy. Changing the material in this way allows her to look for opportunities, she said. Think of vacancies not as something missing, Hu explained, but as atom-like entities with particular electronic and spin states embedded in a complex, wide bandgap environment. The silicon vacancy has ground and electronic states. It also has an electron spin.

In order to obtain enough signal from this single atomic scale defect, Hu manipulates the nanoscale to create an integrated environment for the silicon vacancies that she calls a cavity. Think of this as a breakout room, she says. A place our atomic-scale silicon vacancy can be in an intimate and isolated conversation with its environment.

The cavity recycles the photon energy as it goes back and forth between the emitter and this environment. When the silicon vacancy is placed within this cavity, the signal-to-noise is enormously better, Hu said.

At the end of her lecture, Hu answered audience questions ranging from scalability of her work and mathematical models that enumerate these discoveries, to limiting factors and the use of molecules as active spin states as compared to crystalline semiconductors. Hu concluded her talk by reflecting on Dresselhauss legacy, not only as a great scientist but as someone who was beloved.

This word, she says, means a degree of trust, of willingness to follow, to believe, to listen to. For a scientist and engineer to be beloved in that way, and to have trust in that way, makes the difference between effectiveness and the ability to affect change.

Honoring Mildred S. Dresselhaus

Hu was the second speaker to deliver the Dresselhaus Lecture. Established in 2019 to honor the late MIT physics and electrical engineering professor Mildred Dresselhaus, the Queen of Carbon Science, the annual event features a speaker selected by a committee of MIT faculty from a list of nominations submitted by the MIT community, scholars from other institutions and research laboratories, and members of the general public. The process and lecture are coordinated by MIT.nano, an open access facility for nanoscience and nanoengineering of which Dresselhaus was a strong faculty supporter.

Muriel Mdard, the Cecil H. Green Professor in MITs Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, opened the lecture with an invitation to nominate candidates for a new honor named for Dresselhaus by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Established in 2019, the IEEE Mildred Dresselhaus Medal will honor an individual for outstanding technical contributions in science and engineering of great impact to IEEE fields of interest. Were really looking for people who have had an impact that goes beyond the technical, says Mdard. Do consider nominating a worthy colleague, somebody whom you feel reflects well the kind of qualities that made Millie so remarkable.

Nominations for the 2021 Dresselhaus Lecture are broadly accepted and can be submitted on MIT.nanos website at any time. Any significant figure in science and engineering from anywhere in the world may be nominated.

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Evelyn Hu delivers 2020 Dresselhaus Lecture on leveraging defects at the nanoscale - MIT News

COVID-19 airborne transmission research suggests potential therapies | University of Hawaii System News – UH System Current News

A new University of Hawaii at Mnoa College of Engineering review article presents a breakthrough in multidisciplinary understanding of the airborne transmission of COVID-19 and researchers say they hope the findings will contribute to future public health guidance.

There have been more than 70 million confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide. However, despite the urgency of the pandemic, the physical modes of COVID-19 transmission are still poorly understood. In particular, transmission by aerosols has recently come under focus. Aerosols are microscopic airborne particles that, due to their small size, can remain suspended in air for a long time, instead of falling directly to the ground.

An integrated review published in ACS Nano by mechanical engineering Professor Yi Zuo and Assistant Professor William Uspal, together with Associate Professor Tao Wei from Howard University, covers the entire exhalation-to-infection pathway. Drawing on aerodynamics, thermodynamics, molecular biophysics and other fields, their review considers how infectious aerosols disperse in the air, deposit in the lung and interact with cell receptors.

During our review of the previous research, we found that a lot of cutting-edge research has not yet been integrated into public health guidelines in understanding COVID-19 transmission, Zuo said. Furthermore, we realized just how much engineering perspectives still have to contribute to the effort against the pandemic.

The team believes that its review may stimulate the development of mitigation approaches, such as ventilation protocols, and new therapeutic interventions, such as surfactant therapy to alleviate COVID-19-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome. Surfactants are substances that, when added to water, reduce surface tension. In several ongoing clinical trials worldwide, natural surfactants extracted from animals lungs have been given to ventilated COVID-19 patients as a supportive therapy to ease breathing, and provide more time for other therapeutic interventions.

According to Uspal, the most urgent message is, Wear masks. Masks are particularly effective for large droplets. Ideally, masks worn by infected, but asymptomatic people would filter out most exhaled droplets before they have a chance to shrink by evaporation and become aerosols.

Zuos research is funded by the National Science Foundation, and Uspals research is funded by the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund.

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COVID-19 airborne transmission research suggests potential therapies | University of Hawaii System News - UH System Current News

Engineers awarded for ongoing research excellence – News – The University of Sydney

Professor Anna Paradowska

Professor Anna Paradowska has been named recipient of the Australian Neutron Beam Users Group (ANBUG) Neutron Award for her outstanding research in neutron science and leadership promoting the Australian neutron scattering community.

Professor Paradowska has pioneered industrial engagement at Australias Nuclear Science and Technology Organisations (ANSTO) Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering (ACNS), utilising neutron scattering techniques to solve industry problems with particular focus on advanced manufacturing.

Over the years, Professor Paradowska has developed successful collaborations with Australian and global industry as well as universities in the area of advanced and additive manufacturing.

The primary goal of her research is to relate residual-stresses, mechanical and metallurgical properties to manufacturing procedures and integrity requirements of engineering components.

I am delighted with this peer recognition as it is a fantastic feelingto know that my research contributions are being seen and appreciatedby the community, said Professor Paradowska, a co-appointed Professor Practice between the School of Civil Engineering and ANSTO.

Neutron scattering has an enormouspotential to help solve range of industry problems, and the full potential of those various method is yet to be discovered by the industry.

The award is the latest achievement for the international expert in neutron diffraction stress analysis, having previously been named recipient of the ASM Henry Marion Howe Medal for co-authoring materials paperIn Situ Study of the Stress Relaxation During Aging of Nickel-Base Superalloy Forgings.

The ASM Henry Marion Howe Medal is a prestigious prize intended to honour the author(s) whose paper has been selected as the best of those published in a specific volume ofMetallurgical and Materials Transactions.

As part of the project, Paradowska measured residual stresses in the superalloys duringin situheat treatmentson theKowari strain scannerand the same procedure was repeated at other neutron facilities.

The results demonstrated that thenewly-developed induction heating setup could be repeated successfullyon several instruments across three continents and reassure the scientific and industrial community that residual stress relaxation can be measured accurately and systematically.

Furthermore, Professor Jun Huang and Professor Marcela Bilek, who are also members of the University of Sydney Nano Institute have also been honoured for their engineering work.

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Engineers awarded for ongoing research excellence - News - The University of Sydney

New Horizons for research through new adventurous research projects – The University of Manchester

Dr Golovanov, who leads this research, said: The ability to deliver significant amount of light, at any wavelength, within extremely constrained geometry of the NMR instruments allows us to look in real time at any phototransformations as they happen in front of our eyes in the NMR tube. It can be anything photoreactions, photoenzymes, photo-controlled conformational switches or nano-machines anything.

New Horizons forms part of UKRIs wider Reforming our Business agenda to simplify and streamline processes and practice across the organisation.

Elsewhere at The University of Manchester, Professor Catherine Powell intends to develop new algorithms for forward uncertainty quantification, which allows us to understand how uncertain inputs in mathematical models affects predictions of outcomes of interest. This could have a transformative effect on a wide range of engineering applications involving physics-based models.

EPSRCs 2019 Delivery Plan highlighted the desire to continue promoting excellence in research by investing in new approaches to delivery that are optimised to the specific researcher base and research outputs desired.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:It is critical we give the UKs best researchers the resources to drive forward their revolutionary ideas so they can focus on identifying solutions to some of the worlds greatest challenges, such as climate change.

This government funding will allow some of our brightest mathematicians and physicists to channel all their creative ingenuity into achieving potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs from mathematics informing how we save our rainforests to robotics that will help track cancer faster.

EPSRC Executive Chair, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, said:New Horizons reflects EPSRCs commitment to funding creative, transformative and ambitious new ideas across our portfolio. In this pilot, we have funded more than 100 projects in the mathematical and physical sciences.

The scheme also piloted a new, simplified applications process designed to minimise the administrative burden of submitting grant applications, thereby enabling researchers to focus on developing their research ideas.

The call for proposals attracted a very positive response in terms of both the number and quality of applications and we look forward to exploring how to include the approaches taken through New Horizons in further areas of our portfolio.

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New Horizons for research through new adventurous research projects - The University of Manchester

New collaboration provides opportunity for future water scientists and engineers – Cranfield University

The first cohort of IWA-Cranfield Scholarship winners have commenced their journey to become the next generation of water scientists and engineers.

Awarded scholarships by the International Water Association and Cranfield, the students will develop their technical understanding and business skills to become leaders in the worldwide fight to improve the resilience and sustainability of water supply and sanitation systems and protect the natural environment.

Selected from more than 500 high quality applicants, 14 full-fee scholarships were awarded by the University across three MSc courses: Water & Wastewater Engineering, Advanced Water Management and Water & Sanitation for Development.

Safe water and sanitation for all

Sharriff Irfan Ulla is one of the recipients of the scholarships and is studying on the Advanced Water Management MSc. He said: It is my desire to take the principle of water should be an essential right, not an entity of privilege forward by making safe water and sanitation available at household level and creating independent water management as standard practice. In a developing country like India, managing water is one of the most significant challenges. I believe that a holistic approach to water management practices will ensure quality water availability for future generations.

Increasing the skills base

Professor Paul Jeffrey, Director of the Water theme at Cranfield University, said: These scholarships across our full range of postgraduate programmes will help develop the next generation of leaders that we desperately need in the water industry, both in the UK and around the world.

If we are to realise the UN Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, then we need to increase the skills base of water scientists and engineers, who can help develop the solutions to these global challenges.

Im extremely grateful for the support of the International Water Association in enabling us to provide these scholarships - together, we are both committed to training and nurturing future technical specialists and leaders for the global water sector.

Nasreen Nasar is also one of the recipients of the scholarships. She said: The Cranfield-IWA excellence scholarship provides an ideal platform to foster and equip future scientists and engineers to take on the current and future challenges in the water and wastewater sector. This resonated very well with my career aspiration, which led me to apply for it. By studying the MSc on Water and Wastewater Engineering at Cranfield University while getting involved with the IWA, Im looking to be a part of a dynamic group of scientists and engineers who are at the forefront of redefining the concept and functionality of water and wastewater treatment plants in the context of a circular economy. It is truly an honour to be selected for this highly esteemed scholarship.

Scientists and engineers at Cranfield are involved in a number of projects that are seeking technological solutions to global challenges of inadequate sanitation, reliable water quality for communities and the impacts of flood and drought on farming. The work on the Nano Membrane Toilet, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is just one example.

You can find out more about the next funded scholarships here.

About the IWA

The International Water Association (IWA) is a network and an international global knowledge hub open to all water professionals and anyone committed to the future of water. With its legacy of over seventy years, it connects water professionals around the world to find solutions to global water challenges as part of a broader sustainability agenda.

As a non-profit organisation and with a membership in more than 140 countries, the IWA connects scientists with professionals and communities so that pioneering research offers sustainable solutions for a water-wise world. In addition, the association promotes and supports technological innovation and best practices through international frameworks and standards. For more information, please visit iwa-network.org.

Cranfield Universityis a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

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New collaboration provides opportunity for future water scientists and engineers - Cranfield University

First of its kind at U of T: MIE launches specialized course in 3D printing – U of T Engineering News

The Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) is launching a new course to train students in additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing. Launching in Winter 2021, it is the first course of its kind at U of T.

MIE1724: Additive Manufacturing in Engineering Applications focuses specifically on the rapidly evolving and lucrative field, which generates upwards of $13 billion in yearly revenue and is applicable to numerous sectors.

The course is the creation of alumnus Ali Radhi (MIE PhD 1T9), who wanted to provide a graduate-level specialized class that looks at the process of designing and building cost-effective and timely products using novel materials and hardware.

Radhi spoke to MIEs Kendra Hunter about the new course and preparing todays students for the design and fabrication of complex structures.

What inspired you to create this course?

At MIE, I have been involved in the design of lightweight structures and saw there was room to further bridge the fields of materials and manufacturing through a new course. A recent trend in 3D printing is to produce complex structures using materials with properties not usually found in nature, such as invisibility cloaks, and I wanted to address this while giving singular focus to the field of additive manufacturing, 3D printing and their respective applications. Professor Tobin Filleters MIE 1744: Nanomechanics of Materials provided inspiration in expanding this area of knowledge and from there, MIE1724 took shape.

What can students expect from this course?

The course introduces various types of additive manufacturing approaches, including multi-material 3D printing, micro/nano additive manufacturing and 3D bioprinting. MIE1724 is also designed to show the limitation of selected additive manufacturing methods. Characterization of additive manufacturing parts is included as a major course outcome. Ithelps students to integrate design for additive manufacturing aspects in industry product fabrication.

Students get to learn about new 3D printing technologies, and how they are applied to solve problems in security, automation, and more.

The course will first introduce the concept of 3D printing, and then will move into computer-aided design (CAD) for additive manufacturing. Currently, students can request parts to be 3D printed through the Myhal Centres Fabrication Facility but once it is safe to do, they will be able to receive training to use the facility for their own education and research.

How does this course benefit degree and career options?

3D printing is now the primary method of prototyping. More recently, it became the sole method for end-use part production for highly complex structures and/or material content. Dedicated post-secondary education in 3D printing helps fill the talent gap in additive manufacturing as global revenue from these technologies has jumped from $4 billion to $13 billion from 2014 to 2018.

Additive manufacturing shortens design and production processes by enabling companies to streamline prototyping activities, alter supply chains, and evolve end-product manufacturing. The market is growing at a rapid pace and people with a specialization in additive manufacturing will be in demand.

Did you design MIE1724 strictly as an engineering course for engineering students?

No, in fact this course is open to all U of T students. 3D printing is of great interest to many fields such as medicine, architecture and dentistry. The course is structured to highlight the technologys potential, process and applications in those fields and much more. The course also addresses unique fields, such as textiles and cosmetics, and how this technology can be applied. Additionally, the areas of information science, education and graphic design also benefit with over 250 applications of additive manufacturing that can be incorporated into their daily use of technology.

How did your PhD studies at MIE help you develop the skills to create MIE1724?

The PhD program provided a lot of exposure to state-of-the-art fabrication technologies. 3D printing was one of those avenues, and I took part in design projects and competitions that employed such technologies within the facilities at U of T. Furthermore, the teaching assistant and instructor opportunities from the University helped me to identify the knowledge gap in 3D printing from U of Ts broad list of advanced courses. During my PhD studies, collaboration with fellow research groups aided my own research through sharing of knowledge with my network as well as training in high- tech research facilities.

MIE1724 was inspired by Professor Filleter and Professor Eric Dillers (MIE) research both were helpful and supportive in providing insights for a proper scope and delivery for the course. Associate Chair of Graduate Studies for MIE, Professor Murray Thomson (MIE), provided support to address student expectations and Maximiliano Giuliani, Senior Facility Supervisor at the Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, provided input on expected knowledge and training for students before using his facilities for 3D printing.

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First of its kind at U of T: MIE launches specialized course in 3D printing - U of T Engineering News

How Integrated Operations is Using a Breakthrough Misting Technology to Stop the Spread of Deadly Viruses and Bacteria – Iosco County News Herald

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich., Oct. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Consumers and businesses require due diligence to ensure they are opting for effective disinfection methods for dangerous viruses and bacteria. Many approaches are less effective than claimed and provide a false sense of security to people in environments that can be germ-ridden including schools, elder care facilities, offices, etc.

To achieve effective protection against surface and airborne germs, engineer, former auto executive and founder of Integrated Operations, Nick Jaksa, has introduced a new line of disinfection equipment that uses ultra-fine misting technology to provide complete coverage towards the elimination of deadly viruses and bacteria.

Current methods of disinfection, including sprays and UVC light, are only effective on areas that are directly touched by the spray or exposed to the light. These methods provide temporary spot elimination of germs, and surfaces may remain contaminated due to inadequate coverage of hard to reach places or insufficient exposure time it takes to cover all surfaces. Integrated Operations' Viral Defense systems utilize a fine mist of nano-particles, allowing the mist to disperse and cover an entire area touching all surfaces. The same misting technology can safely deactivate viruses on people using walk-through booths.

A simple analogy: when one compares fog to rain, both will carry moisture; however, only the fog will reach and surround all places due to the minute water particles while the larger raindrops cannot due to their size and weight. The smaller the particles in the fog or mist, the more effectively they will disperse and reach all surfaces before gravity pulls them down. The fine nano-sized particles in the Viral Defense misting system disperses in seconds to eliminate germs in environments or on people.

Viral Defense technology offers several disinfectant solutions that are chosen based on where and how it is being used. Other common disinfectant solutions that are salt-based are highly corrosive and should be used with care, especially around electronics, particularly in medical/dental treatment rooms, and in offices with computers and other sensitive equipment. One of the Viral Defense disinfectant solutions utilizes a colloidal silver base which is naturally anti-viral, anti-bacterial and non-corrosive. There is an added benefit to using colloidal silver: not only will it deactivate viruses and kills bacteria, the nano-silver solution will provide 24 hours of protection!

"The most comprehensive disinfection ensures that we are not carrying germs on our person nor transporting them on our things, and that they are not present in the environments we enter. Combined with mask wearing and hand washing, it's a highly effective means of protection against bacteria and deadly viruses," says Jaksa.

The breakthrough Viral Defense misting technology is being utilized in walk- through misting booths for full body disinfection, and in mobile systems that thoroughly disinfect surfaces, including rooms, hallways, vehicles, etc. The entire process takes seconds, and the amount of solution needed costs pennies. This is an excellent option for medical/dental treatment rooms, schools, assisted living facilities, retail stores, theatres, restaurants, sporting and entertainment events and other venues that should disinfect on a regular basis.

Through Jaksa's work overseas, he discovered a similar disinfection system in Vietnam, a country that is about one-third the size of the U.S. and has fewer than 1200 cases of Covid-19 with 35 deaths. Jaksa and his team of engineering and medical experts are focused on keeping people and places safe from germs."This is not the first epidemic we have faced nor will it be the last. Our goal is to make technology available that can combat harmful germs today and in the future," concludes Jaksa.

Media Contact:Alise Kreditor516-482-4866257765@email4pr.com

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How Integrated Operations is Using a Breakthrough Misting Technology to Stop the Spread of Deadly Viruses and Bacteria - Iosco County News Herald