Nanoparticle Networks’ Design Enhanced by Theory from Cornell U.

2x2-logo-sm.jpgFor close to two decades, Cornell scientists have developed processes for using polymers to self-assemble inorganic nanoparticles into porous structures that could revolutionize electronics, energy and more.


This process has now been driven to an unprecedented level of precision using metal , and is supported by rigorous analysis of the theoretical details behind why and how these particles assemble with polymers. Such a deep understanding of the complex interplay between the chemistry and physics that drive complex self-assembly paves the way for these new materials to enter many applications, from electrocatalysis in fuel cells to voltage conductance in circuits.



A: A schematic of the block copolymer synthesis method which includes gold and platinum nanoparticle self-assembly. B. Molecular structure of the block copolymer used. C. Molecular structure of stabilizing ligands attached to gold and …more

Ulrich Wiesner, the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, led what is probably the most comprehensive study to date of block copolymer nanoparticle self-assembly processes. The study was published online Feb. 21 in Nature Communications.

From the outside, the process looks simple enough. Begin with platinum and gold particles that grow from a precursor. A chemical called a ligand coats the particles and precisely controls their size. Add to this designed molecules called block copolymers – long chains of two or three organic materials. The polymers combine with the platinum and gold nanoparticles, all of which assemble into ordered, cubic, three-dimensional structures. Etch away the polymer, and what’s left are scores of nanoparticles forming porous 3-D cubic networks.

Nanoparticle networks' design enhanced by theory
    Transmission electron microscopy shows metal nanoparticle networks following the removal of the copolymer that acted as a structural scaffold for the particles. Credit: Wiesner group        

Each step – from the exact structure of the ligands, to the synthesis of the polymers – requires precise chemistry and detailed understanding of each material’s role. The Nature Communications analysis drew on the expertise of collaborators in electron tomography, energy dispersive microscopy and percolation theory. For example, collaborators from the Japan Science and Technology Agency used electron tomography to map the location of every single particle in the samples, which then could be compared with theoretical predictions. The result is a comprehensive set of design criteria that could lead to readying these particle networks for larger scale solution processing.

“Not only can we make these materials, but through in particular, we can analyze these structures at a depth that just has not been done before,” Wiesner said. “The comparison with theory allows us to fully understand the physical mechanisms by which these structures are formed.”
Why pay such attention to these self-assembled nanoparticle networks? They’re made in a way that would never happen in nature or by conventional laboratory means. They are uniformly porous with high surface area and, therefore, are highly catalytic and potentially useful for energy applications.

Perhaps best of all, working with polymers means cost-effective, large-scale processing could be a snap.

Nanoparticle networks' design enhanced by theory
    Electron tomography reconstruction of platinum nanoparticles (red) in network structures, compared with self-consistent field theory results (blue). Credit: Wiesner group        

Several decades of polymer science has given the world efficient scalability unsurpassed in the materials world – think plastics production. Wiesner and colleagues have proven the concept of self-assembled using block copolymer-based solution processing that goes beyond the “glass vial in a lab,” Wiesner said.

“Now that we understand how it all works, our process lends itself easily to larger-scale production of such ,” he said.

Explore further:     Versatile polymer film synthesis method invented

Printed Electronics & Nanomaterials Applications – How Close Are We?

Conductive nanomaterials for printed electronics applications

By Michael Berger. Copyright © Nanowerk

Printing Graphene Chips(Nanowerk Spotlight) The term printed electronics refers to the application of printing technologies for the fabrication of electronic circuits and devices, increasingly on flexible plastic or paper substrates. Printed electronics has its origins in conductive patterns printed as part of conventional electronics, forming flexible keyboards, antennas and so on.


Then came fully printed testers on batteries, electronic skin patches and other devices made entirely by printing, including batteries and displays (read more: “Printed electronics widens its scope”). Traditionally, electronic devices are mainly manufactured by photolithography, vacuum deposition, and electroless plating processes. In contrast to these multistaged, expensive, and wasteful methods, inkjet printing offers a rapid and cheap way of printing electrical circuits with commodity inkjet printers and off-the-shelf materials.

All inkjet technologies are based on digitally controlled generation and ejection of drops of liquid inks using one of two different modes of operation: continuous and drop-on-demand printing. Conductive inkjet ink is a multi-component system that contains a conducting material in a liquid vehicle (aqueous or organic) and various additives (such as rheology and surface tension modifiers, humectants, binders and defoamers) that enable optimal performance of the whole system, including the printing device and the substrate. The conductive material may be dispersed nanoparticles, a dissolved organometallic compound, or a conductive polymer.

A review article in Small (“Conductive Nanomaterials for Printed Electronics”) by Alexander Kamyshny and Shlomo Magdassi from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, provides a state-of-the-art overview of the synthesis of metal nanoparticles; preparation of stable dispersions of metal nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene sheets; ink formulations based on these dispersions, sintering of metallic printed patterns for obtaining high electrical conductivity; and recent progress in the utilization of metal nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, and graphene for the fabrication of various functional devices.

Requirements and challenges for printable dispersions of conductive nanomaterials The use of nanomaterials for the formulation of conductive inkjet inks poses several challenges:

  • – the nanoparticles in the ink should be stable against aggregation and precipitation in order to provide reproducible performance
  • – nanoparticle-based conductive inks should provide good electrical conductivity of printed patterns
  • – there is a need need for a post-printing process in order to sinter the nanoparticles for obtaining continuous metallic phase, with numerous percolation paths between metal particles within the printed patterns
  • – when using carbon nanotubes or graphene, the challenge is to prevent aggregation into CNT bundles or graphene layers.

In their article, Kamyshny and Magdassi address these challenges in great detail and then go on to describe preparation methods for metal, graphene, and CNT-based inkjet inks, which are suitable for printed electronics, and post-printing processing methods for obtaining high electrical conductivities.

        printed micro 3D structuresPrinting of a conductive 3D structure with the use of ink composed of an UV-curable emulsion and a dispersion of metal nanoparticles. Inset is a 3D profile of a 200 µm width lines composed of 1, 3, 6, 10, and 20 printed layers.(© The Royal Society of Chemistry)

Applications of conductive nanomaterials The authors also discuss several applications of conductive nanomaterials for the fabrication of printed electronic devices. This  includes fabrication and properties of transparent conductive electrodes, which are nowadays essential features for many optoelectronic devices, and inkjet-printed devices, such as RFID tags, light emitting devices, thin-film transistors (TFTs) and solar cells.

Transparent electrodes The market for transparent electrodes has grown tremendously due to wide proliferation of LCD displays, touch screens, thin-film solar cells, and light emitting devices. The most widely used material is indium tin oxide (ITO) with a market share of more than 97% of transparent conducting coatings. ITO coatings have some major drawbacks, though, and many efforts to find alternatives are based on nanomaterials – metal nanoparticles, metal nanowires, carbon nanotubes, and graphene – which can be printed directly on various substrates without etching processes.

RFID tags The main elements of an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tag are a silicon microchip and an antenna, which provide power to the tag and are responsible for communication with a reading device. Direct inkjet printing of antennas on plastic and paper substrates with the use of metal nanoparticles inks is a promising approach to the production of low-cost RFID tags.

Thin-film transistors Conductive nanomaterials are used to produce the conductive features on both inorganic and organic TFTs. See for instance our recent Nanowerk Spotlight on inkjet printing of graphene for flexible electronics or the report on inkjet printing of single-crystal films of organic semiconductors.

Light-emitting devices Light emitting devices (or electroluminescent devices, ELDs) are composed of a semiconductor layer placed between two electrodes, and emit light in response to electric current. LEDs to be used for lighting, require a highly conductive grid (“shunting lines”) for homogeneous distribution of current around the lighting device. These circuits can be fabricated on various substrates including plastic, by various printing processes using conductive nanomaterials.

Solar cells The first demonstration of inkjet-printed solar cells was already made in 2007 using fullerene-based ink. The results were discussed in this paper: “High Photovoltaic Performance of Inkjet Printed Polymer:Fullerene Blends”. In recent years, metal nanoparticles as well as nanowires and CNTs have been also used in solar cells fabrication as well.

Concluding their review, the authors note that, in spite of the remarkable scientific progress in preparation processes and applications of conductive nanomaterials, they are still not widely used by the industry in significant quantities:

“The current high price of commercially available inks, which are based mainly on the high cost silver, impedes their wide use for large area printed electronics. Therefore, research should be focused on the development of new nanomaterials and ink formulations based on low cost metals with high electrical conductivity such as copper, nickel, and aluminum.”

They also note that in recent years, many scientific activities have been focusing on graphene and that we can expect future developments in printed electronics that will combine CNTs with graphene. Successive utilization of graphene for printed electronics requires ink formulations with high graphene loading, which are stable against flakes aggregation.

One final thought is the application of conductive nanomaterials in 3D printing of conductive patterns which opens some important perspectives for materials science. Although, this field is at its very early stages of research and development, and the search for new nanomaterials as well as suitable 3D fabrication tools based on wet deposition, it is a stimulating challenge for materials scientists.

Read more: Conductive nanomaterials for printed electronics applications Follow us: @nanowerk on Twitter

The Secret & Dirty Cost of Obama’s Green Power Push

AP Investigation: Obama’s green energy drive comes with an unadvertised environmental cost

by Dina Cappiello & Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press
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Biofuel CornCORYDON, Iowa (AP) — The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America’s push for green energy: The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertilizer into the water supply.


Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

With the Iowa political caucuses on the horizon in 2007, presidential candidate Barack Obama made homegrown corn a centerpiece of his plan to slow global warming. And when President George W. Bush signed a law that year requiring oil companies to add billions of gallons of ethanol to their gasoline each year, Bush predicted it would make the country “stronger, cleaner and more secure.”

But the ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.

” …

In the first year after the ethanol mandate, more than 2 million acres disappeared.

Since Obama took office, 5 million more acres have vanished.”

” …

When Congress passed the ethanol mandate, it required the EPA to thoroughly study the effects on water and air pollution. In his recent speech to ethanol lobbyists, Vilsack was unequivocal about those effects:

“There is no question air quality, water quality is benefiting from this industry,” he said.

But the administration never actually conducted the required air and water studies to determine whether that’s true.

In an interview with the AP after his speech, Vilsack said he didn’t mean that ethanol production was good for the air and water. He simply meant that gasoline mixed with ethanol is cleaner than gasoline alone.

In the Midwest, meanwhile, scientists and conservationists are sounding alarms.

Nitrogen fertilizer, when it seeps into the water, is toxic. Children are especially susceptible to nitrate poisoning, which causes “blue baby” syndrome and can be deadly.

Between 2005 and 2010, corn farmers increased their use of nitrogen fertilizer by more than one billion pounds. More recent data isn’t available from the Agriculture Department, but because of the huge increase in corn planting, even conservative projections by the AP suggest another billion-pound fertilizer increase on corn farms since then.

Department of Agriculture officials note that the amount of fertilizer used for all crops has remained steady for a decade, suggesting the ethanol mandate hasn’t caused a fertilizer boom across the board.

But in the Midwest, corn is the dominant crop, and officials say the increase in fertilizer use — driven by the increase in corn planting — is having an effect.

The Des Moines Water Works, for instance, has faced high nitrate levels for many years in the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers, which supply drinking water to 500,000 people. Typically, when pollution is too high in one river, workers draw from the other.

“This year, unfortunately the nitrate levels in both rivers were so high that it created an impossibility for us,” said Bill Stowe, the water service’s general manager.

For three months this summer, workers kept huge machines running around the clock to clean the water. Officials asked customers to use less water so the utility had a chance to keep up.

Part of the problem was that last year’s dry weather meant fertilizer sat atop the soil. This spring’s rains flushed that nitrogen into the water along with the remnants of the fertilizer from the most recent crop.

At the same time the ethanol mandate has encouraged farmers to plant more corn, Stowe said, the government hasn’t done enough to limit fertilizer use or regulate the industrial drainage systems that flush nitrates and water into rivers and streams.

With the Water Works on the brink of capacity, Stowe said he’s considering suing the government to demand a solution.

In neighboring Minnesota, a government report this year found that significantly reducing the high levels of nitrates from the state’s water would require huge changes in farming practices at a cost of roughly $1 billion a year.

“We’re doing more to address water quality, but we are being overwhelmed by the increase in production pressure to plant more crops,” said Steve Morse, executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership.

The nitrates travel down rivers and into the Gulf of Mexico, where they boost the growth of enormous algae fields. When the algae die, the decomposition consumes oxygen, leaving behind a zone where aquatic life cannot survive.

This year, the dead zone covered 5,800 square miles of sea floor, about the size of Connecticut.

Larry McKinney, the executive director of the Harte Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, says the ethanol mandate worsened the dead zone.

“On the one hand, the government is mandating ethanol use,” he said, “and it is unfortunately coming at the expense of the Gulf of Mexico.”

The dead zone is one example among many of a peculiar ethanol side effect: As one government program encourages farmers to plant more corn, other programs pay millions to clean up the mess.”

To Read the Full Article GO Here:

A New Way of Making Nanoporous Materials

2x2-logo-sm.jpgA team of UConn chemists has discovered a new way of making a class of porous materials that allows for greater manufacturing controls and has significantly broader applications than the longtime industry standard.


The process, more than three years in the making, has resulted in the creation of more than 60 new families of materials so far, with the potential for many more. The key catalyst in the process is recyclable, making it a ‘green’ technology.

“This is definitely the most exciting project I’ve been involved in over the past 30 years,” says Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Steven L. Suib, the project’s principal investigator.

The research team’s novel process creates monomodal mesoporous metal oxides using transition metals such as manganese, cobalt, and iron. The mesopores are between 2 and 50 nanometers in diameter and are evenly distributed across the material’s surface.

UConn’s scientists used nitric oxide chemistry to change the diameter of the pores. This unique approach helped contain chemical reactions and provided unprecedented control and flexibility.

Having materials with uniform microscopic pores allows targeted molecules of a particular size to flow into and out of the material, which is important in such applications as adsorption, sensors, optics, magnetic, and energy products such as the catalysts found in fuel cells.

“When people think about these materials, they think about lock-and-key systems,” says Suib. “With certain enzymes, you have to have pores of a certain size and shape. With this process, you can now make a receptacle for specific proteins or enzymes so that they can enter the pores and specifically bind and react. That’s the hope, to be able to make a pore that will allow such materials to fit, to be able to make a pore that a scientist needs.”

UConn’s chemists replaced a long-standing water-based process with one employing a synthetic chemical surfactant to create the mesopores. By reducing the use of water, adding the surfactant, then subjecting the resulting nanoparticles to heat, the research team found that it could generate thermally-controlled, thermally-stable, uniform mesoporous materials with very strong crystalline walls. The mesopores, Suib says, are created by the gaps that are formed between the organized nanoparticles when they cluster together. The team found that the size of those gaps or pores could be tailored – increased or decreased – by adjusting the nanostructure’s exposure to heat, a major advancement in the synthesis process.

“Such control of pore-size distribution, enhanced pore volumes, and thermal stabilities is unprecedented …,” the team wrote in its report.

The UConn team found that the process could be successfully applied to a wide variety of elements of the periodic table. Also, the surfactant used in the synthesis is recyclable and can be reused after it is extracted with no harm to the final product.

“We developed more than 60 families of materials,” says Suib. “For every single material we made, you can make dozens of others like it. You can dope them by adding small amounts of impurities. You can alter their properties. You can make sulfides in addition to oxides. There is a lot more research that needs to be done.”


Nanoparticles can activate immune cells, treat diseases

2x2-logo-sm.jpgWashington, Feb 24 (IANS) Scientists have developed a new system that can precisely deliver anti-inflammatory drugs to immune cells gone out of control, while sparing their well-behaved counterparts.


The findings by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago were published online Feb 23 in Nature Nanotechnology.

The system uses nanoparticles made of tiny bits of protein designed to bind to unique receptors found only on neutrophils, a type of immune cell engaged in detrimental acute and chronic inflammatory responses.

In a normal immune response, neutrophils circulating in the blood respond to signals given off by injured or damaged blood vessels and begin to accumulate at the injury, where they engulf bacteria or debris from injured tissue that might cause infection.

In chronic inflammation, neutrophils can pile up at the site of injury, sticking to the blood vessel walls and to each other and contributing to tissue damage, reported Science Daily.

Corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat inflammatory diseases are “blunt instruments that affect the whole body and carry some significant side effects”, said Asrar B. Malik, Schweppe Family Distinguished Professor and head of pharmacology in the UIC College of Medicine.

Malik is also lead author of the paper.

“The nanoparticle is very much like a Trojan horse,” Malik said. “It binds to a receptor found only on these activated, sticky neutrophils, and the cell automatically engulfs whatever binds there. Because circulating neutrophils lack these receptors, the system is incredibly precise and targets only those immune cells that are actively contributing to inflammatory disease.”

Malik said, the findings “show that nanoparticles can be used to deliver drugs in a highly targeted, specific fashion to activated immune cells and could be designed to treat a broad range of inflammatory diseases”.

Creating Selective-Sized “Nano” Holes in Graphene for Water Filtration

David L. Chandler, MIT News Office
New technique developed at MIT produces highly selective filter materials, could lead to more efficient desalination.
Researchers have devised a way of making tiny holes of controllable size in sheets of graphene, a development that could lead to ultrathin filters for improved desalination or water purification.

The team of researchers at MIT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and in Saudi Arabia succeeded in creating subnanoscale pores in a sheet of the one-atom-thick material, which is one of the strongest materials known. Their findings are published in the journal Nano Letters.

The concept of using graphene, perforated by nanoscale pores, as a filter in desalination has been proposed and analyzed by other MIT researchers. The new work, led by graduate student Sean O’Hern and associate professor of mechanical engineering Rohit Karnik, is the first step toward actual production of such a graphene filter.

MIT Nano Filter
The MIT researchers used a four-step process to create filters from graphene (shown here): (a) a one-atom-thick sheet of graphene is placed on a supporting structure; (b) the graphene is bombarded with gallium ions; (c) wherever the gallium ions strike the graphene, they create defects in its structure; and (d) when etched with an oxidizing solution, each of those defects grows into a hole in the graphene sheet. The longer the material stays in the oxidizing bath, the larger the holes get. Image courtesy of the researchers.

Making these minuscule holes in graphene — a hexagonal array of carbon atoms, like atomic-scale chicken wire — occurs in a two-stage process. First, the graphene is bombarded with gallium ions, which disrupt the carbon bonds. Then, the graphene is etched with an oxidizing solution that reacts strongly with the disrupted bonds — producing a hole at each spot where the gallium ions struck. By controlling how long the graphene sheet is left in the oxidizing solution, the MIT researchers can control the average size of the pores.

A big limitation in existing nanofiltration and reverse-osmosis desalination plants, which use filters to separate salt from seawater, is their low permeability: Water flows very slowly through them. The graphene filters, being much thinner, yet very strong, can sustain a much higher flow. “We’ve developed the first membrane that consists of a high density of subnanometer-scale pores in an atomically thin, single sheet of graphene,” O’Hern says.

For efficient desalination, a membrane must demonstrate “a high rejection rate of salt, yet a high flow rate of water,” he adds. One way of doing that is decreasing the membrane’s thickness, but this quickly renders conventional polymer-based membranes too weak to sustain the water pressure, or too ineffective at rejecting salt, he explains.

With graphene membranes, it becomes simply a matter of controlling the size of the pores, making them “larger than water molecules, but smaller than everything else,” O’Hern says — whether salt, impurities, or particular kinds of biochemical molecules.

The permeability of such graphene filters, according to computer simulations, could be 50 times greater than that of conventional membranes, as demonstrated earlier by a team of MIT researchers led by graduate student David Cohen-Tanugi of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. But producing such filters with controlled pore sizes has remained a challenge. The new work, O’Hern says, demonstrates a method for actually producing such material with dense concentrations of nanometer-scale holes over large areas.

“We bombard the graphene with gallium ions at high energy,” O’Hern says. “That creates defects in the graphene structure, and these defects are more chemically reactive.” When the material is bathed in a reactive oxidant solution, the oxidant “preferentially attacks the defects,” and etches away many holes of roughly similar size. O’Hern and his co-authors were able to produce a membrane with 5 trillion pores per square centimeter, well suited to use for filtration. “To better understand how small and dense these graphene pores are, if our graphene membrane were to be magnified about a million times, the pores would be less than 1 millimeter in size, spaced about 4 millimeters apart, and span over 38 square miles, an area roughly half the size of Boston,” O’Hern says.

With this technique, the researchers were able to control the filtration properties of a single, centimeter-sized sheet of graphene: Without etching, no salt flowed through the defects formed by gallium ions. With just a little etching, the membranes started allowing positive salt ions to flow through. With further etching, the membranes allowed both positive and negative salt ions to flow through, but blocked the flow of larger organic molecules. With even more etching, the pores were large enough to allow everything to go through.

Scaling up the process to produce useful sheets of the permeable graphene, while maintaining control over the pore sizes, will require further research, O’Hern says.

Karnik says that such membranes, depending on their pore size, could find various applications. Desalination and nanofiltration may be the most demanding, since the membranes required for these plants would be very large. But for other purposes, such as selective filtration of molecules — for example, removal of unreacted reagents from DNA — even the very small filters produced so far might be useful.

“For biofiltration, size or cost are not as critical,” Karnik says. “For those applications, the current scale is suitable.”

Bruce Hinds, a professor of materials engineering at the University of Kentucky who was not involved in this work, says, “Previous groups had tried just ion bombardment or plasma radical formation.” The idea of combining these methods “is nice and has the potential to be fine-tuned.” While more work needs to be done to refine the technique, he says, this approach is “promising” and could ultimately help to lead to applications in “water purification, energy storage, energy production, [and] pharmaceutical production.”

The work also included Jing Kong, the ITT Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering; MIT graduate students Michael Boutilier and Yi Song; researcher Juan-Carlos Idrobo of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and professors Tahar Laoui and Muataz Atieh of the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM). The project received support from the Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT and KFUPM and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Big Solar And Renewable Energy In The Age Of Fracking

072613solarThe world’s largest solar power plant is up and running in California. We’ll look at where solar stands now, and the future of renewable energy.

– With Tom Ashbrook, NPR –

Solar Power Rising BY MICHAEL R. BLOOD and BRIAN SKOLOFF -- Some of the 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each about 7 feet high and 10 feet wide, reflect sunlight to boilers that sit on 459-foot towers. The sun's power is used to heat water in the boilers' tubes and make steam, which in turn drives turbines to create electricity Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Primm, Nev.  (AP)

Some of the 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each about 7 feet high and 10 feet wide, reflect sunlight to boilers that sit on 459-foot towers. The sun’s power is used to heat water in the boilers’ tubes and make steam, which in turn drives turbines to create electricity Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Primm, Nev. (AP)

A gigantic solar farm, biggest of its kind in the world, opened last week in the California desert. Three-hundred and fifty thousand huge mirrors reflecting sunlight on 40-story towers — to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit up there — making steam, turning turbines, generating clean electricity. And we not build another one like it. Solar and other renewable energies are up against an era of cheap, fracked natural gas. Environmentalists say cut back fossil fuel consumption, or climate change will croak us. The market’s saying here’s cheap gas.

– Tom Ashbrook –

Listen to the discussion here:

Quantum Materials Secures Los Alamos Thick-Shell Quantum Dot Technology to Increase Brightness and Stability in Consumer Electronics

2x2-logo-sm.jpgSAN MARCOS, Texas, Feb. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Quantum Materials Corporation (OTCQB:QTMM) and Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) today announce Quantum Materials optioning Thick-Shell ‘Giant’ Quantum Dot patented technology with the potential of 10 to 100-fold improvement in solid-state brightness over conventional nanocrystal quantum dots (QD). High brightness leads to efficient use of materials and increased performance in electronic displays and solid state (LED) lighting.

“Blinking” is a tendency of quantum dots to flash off momentarily often noted as a challenge for certain quantum dot applications. LANL scientists also discovered that thick-shelling quantum dots dramatically reduces fluorescence intermittency by better separating absorption by the shell and emission by the core, significantly suppressing blinking (see diagram).

Commercial product lifetimes can be increased in QD-LCD backplane displays, solid state lighting films and projection lighting because the thick-shell technology has demonstrated the ability to extend the service life of quantum dots exposed to higher temperatures and/or high intensity light. Further, non-blinking quantum dots that can produce higher light output with less heat generation will spur new product development and optimized design.

LANL also achieved thick-shell “Giant” QD near-infrared (NIR) emission for a major advance affecting medical imaging applications, optoelectronics, lasers, telecommunication and solar photovoltaics. For example, targeted cancer cells will be easier to identify and track, and varied absorption and emission ranges offer tailored performance in electronics and solar designs.

Quantum Materials plans to integrate the LANL thick-shell technology into its quantum dot product line. The Company’s automated process is capable of manufacturing industrial-scale quantities while maintaining tight uniformity and makes possible the reliable, economical production of thick-shell tetrapod quantum dots having the exact characteristics necessary for specific applications.

Stephen B. Squires, Quantum Materials CEO and Founder said, “We believe that the number of quantum dot performance improvements afforded by adding thick-shell technology to our Tetrapod Quantum Dots will set us significantly ahead of our competition. Our ability to manufacture uniform industrial-scale quantities of quantum dots engineered for optimal application-specific performance parameters will expedite acceptance of these new technologies by display and lighting manufacturers.”

David Doderer, QMC VP of R&D added, “Combining LANL thick-shelling abilities with QMC’s   tetrapod quantum dots’ properties of high uniformity, and narrow emission (higher color purity) will  be revolutionary in affecting quantum dot lifetime, quality of performance, enhancing of stability, and color rendering.”

The technology was made available through LANL’s new Express Licensing Program.  Dr. Jennifer Hollingsworth, of the Center for Integrated Technologies (CINT) at LANL is the Principal Investigator for Thick-Shell Quantum Dots.

What Do YOU See?


Winston Churchill Optimist and Pessimist

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, and optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. ~ Winston Churchill
“Great Things from Small Things!”

U of Alberta President Praises ‘Visionary’ Investment in research Excellence –

President Indira Samarasekera says 2014 federal budget enshrines research excellence as a key priority in building a stronger Canada.

By  News Staff  on February 11, 2014


President Indira Samarasekera

(Edmonton) The 2014 federal budget represents a “visionary” step forward for research excellence and innovation at Canada’s universities, said University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera.


With more than $1.5 billion in new research funding, budget 2014 addresses the increasing need for Canada’s research-intensive universities to compete on the world stage and attract and develop top-level research talent vital to Canada’s future prosperity.


“I am thrilled with the Government of Canada’s strong commitment to Canadian universities through budget 2014. This budget represents a visionary investment in research excellence and innovation that will ensure Canada remains competitive globally,” said Samarasekera. “This funding will allow the U of A and our peers to attract the best and brightest to advance the scientific discoveries, solutions and ideas that will benefit Canadians for generations to come.”


Samarasekera congratulates the Government of Canada for this bold investment to help position Canadian universities in a global environment, including $1.5 billion over 10 years to create the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. The university also thanks the federal government for its enhanced funding support through Tri-Council funding agencies.


The CFREF program, put forwarded with the support of both the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, is essential for Canada to achieve global leadership in specific fields, attract talent and advance the country’s research standing in the world, she said.


“In a time of budget austerity, I am particularly delighted by the Government of Canada’s funding commitment to the country’s universities and ensuring Canada remains a true world leader in higher education, research and innovation.”


Budget highlights


• $1.6 billion over five years in new support for research and innovation


• $1.5 billion over 10 years to create the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, including: $50 million in 2015–16, $100 million in 2016–17, $150 million in 2017–18, $200 million in 2018–19 and beyond.


• An additional $46 million per year on an ongoing basis to the granting councils in support of advanced research and scientific discoveries, including the indirect costs of research.


• $15 million per year to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, for the expansion of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, the creation of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging and other health research priorities.


• $15 million per year to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, to support advanced research in the natural sciences and engineering.


• $7 million per year for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, to support advanced research in the social sciences and humanities.

• $9 million per year for the Indirect Costs Program

– See more at:,%202014&utm_content=889250#sthash.nniriUF6.dpuf