UBC physicists working on Quantum Material ‘Revolution’


1-BC QM Materials 10329763Research applications of ‘superconductivity’ could include laptop-sized MRI scanners

Scientists at the University of B.C. hope that $1.7 million in provincial funding will help them make a breakthrough that could lead to levitating trains and cars.

The money from the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund is going to the Quantum Matter Institute to help a team of scientists led by physics professor Andrea Damascelli. They’re working to develop new quantum materials, which have unique properties such as zero electrical resistance, known as superconductivity.

The only problem is that to achieve those unique properties, existing quantum materials have to be cooled to extreme temperatures, which makes them costly and cumbersome to use in practical applications.

But Damascelli and his team are hoping to change that. They’ll be trying to create quantum materials that exhibit their strange properties at room temperature so they can be widely used outside of high-tech labs such as the one he runs at UBC.

Damascelli believes quantum materials will have a bigger impact on our lives than the semiconductor, which was invented in 1947 and laid the groundwork for the integrated circuit and the computer revolution that has so shaped the contemporary world.

“Today, I feel that we’re on the cusp of an even bigger revolution,” Damascelli said Monday. “This is a quantum material revolution, which I believe will have a much larger impact on our lives.”

Damascelli predicted that when quantum materials with superconductivity properties can operate at room temperature, they could be used to reduce the size of an MRI scanner from a huge, bulky machine that weighs several thousand kilograms to one as small and light as a laptop.

Other applications include making super-efficient electrical transmission lines and trains and other vehicles that levitate on magnetic tracks.

“We would be able to have many applications, many possibilities that we can’t even imagine at this stage,” he said at the announcement of the provincial funding in the atrium of the UBC Earth Science Building.

Afterwards, Damascelli gave a display of magnetic levitation at the institute. In his lab, he placed a quantum material known was YBCO (which is made of yttrium barium copper oxide) into a container and then poured in liquid nitrogen that cooled the substance to -196 C.

After a few moments, he took it out with tongs and placed it on a small oval track made from numerous flat magnets. At rest, the YBCO levitated a short distance above the track in the magnetic envelope created by the magnets below. Once he gave it a little push, the six-sided piece of YBCO sped around the track so effortlessly and without any visible means of support, it looked like a magic trick.

As it warmed, it lost its superconductivity, slowed, and came to rest on the magnets. To show the effect of insulation, Damascelli placed the YBCO in a blue Styrofoam boat. On the track, it completed several more loops than the YBCO without insulation, before it too warmed and came to a halt.

Damascelli said funding is key to allow QMI to create new quantum materials with precision down to the atomic level. His team will be making them layer by layer in ultra-high-vacuum conditions and be able to observe individual electrons moving through solids without ever exposing materials to air.

“We will strive to achieve new functional properties, in particular room-temperature superconductivity,” he said.

He said money from the BCKDF has allowed QMI to attract top researchers from around the world. QMI is in a collaborative venture with the Max Planck Society of Germany.

Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Andrew Wilkinson announced the funding for QMI as one of the 70 projects at UBC receiving $26.9 million this year from the BCKDF.

Founded in 1998, the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund funds research infrastructure projects in post-secondary institutions, research hospitals and affiliated non-profit agencies. Typically, the fund contributes 40 per cent of project costs and the federal Canada Foundation for Innovation another 40 per cent. The remaining 20 per cent comes from other sources that include the private sector.

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Samsung and LG Turn to Quantum Dots


Big TV – Large Screen Makers are Forsaking OLED’s in Favor of Quantum Dots – Reuters October 30, 2014

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0IJ2LV20141030?irpc=932

Samsung Electronics' first curved, super-thin OLED television sets are displayed at the main office of the company in Seoul(Reuters) – The world’s biggest TV makers, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and LG Electronics Inc, are turning to quantum dot technology for their next-generation TVs as it could still be years before OLED is affordable for the mass market.

The nascent technology involves incorporating a film of tiny light-emitting crystals into regular liquid crystal displays (LCD). The manufacturing process is relatively straightforward and offers improved picture quality at much cheaper cost than using organic light-emitting diodes (OLED).

The resulting lower prices could help the technology catch on far quicker. One industry analyst estimated a 55-inch quantum dot TV could be priced 30 to 35 percent more than a current LCD TV, while an OLED TV could be 5 times more expensive. LG recently launched a 65-inch ultra-high definition OLED TV for 12 million won ($11,350) in its home market of South Korea.

Samsung Electronics' first curved, super-thin OLED television sets are displayed at the main office of the company in Seoul

The only real challenge is securing enough quantum dot material from the small pool of suppliers, including Quantum Materials Corp and Nanoco Group PLC.

Nanoco last month said a South Korean plant being built by partner Dow Chemical Co will start quantum dot production in the first half of 2015. Analysts believe the output is destined for a local client.

On Wednesday, LG, the world’s No.2 TV maker after domestic rival Samsung, said it plans to make quantum dot TVs in addition to OLED TVs. Analysts regarded that a tacit acknowledgement that OLED needs more time for prices to come down before becoming the new standard.

“We are pursuing a dual-track strategy with quantum dot and OLED,” LG Chief Financial Officer Jung Do-hyun told analysts after the company reported earnings. OLED is the fundamentally superior product, he said.

Samsung Vice President Simon Sung told analysts on Thursday that quantum dot is among many technologies under consideration.

“How a technology will match with market conditions, when a technology will emerge as the main market segment is the most critical consideration,” Sung said. “We’ll respond aggressively after identifying such a market opportunity.”

At present, Japan’s Sony Corp is the only major electronics manufacturer selling quantum dot TVs. Last month, China’s TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Ltd unveiled a quantum dot TV at the IFA tech expo in Berlin.

OLED RISK

LG and affiliate LG Display Co Ltd are the biggest champions of OLED TVs, in contrast to Samsung which has not released a model this year. Analysts say the lack of Samsung support could limit OLED growth prospects and keep prices high.

“In theory, OLED should become cheaper than LCD once production yields get better because OLED doesn’t need a backlight, but at this point both the scale and production yield remain low,” said CIMB analyst Lee Do-hoon.

“LG needs a product in the interim, and they seem to be saying they’ll look at market conditions and respond with quantum dot,” Lee said.

Samsung could be more aggressive than LG in pushing quantum dot as Korea’s No.1 consumer electronics maker appears less committed to a particular technology, analysts said. LG, on the other hand, risks undermining its OLED push.

“If LG focuses on quantum dot, it’d be basically the same as signaling that it will be difficult for OLED to go mainstream in the near term,” said CIMB’s Lee.

Researcher DisplaySearch forecasts 1.95 million quantum dot TV shipments next year, for just 0.8 percent of the market, growing to 25.5 million by 2020. IHS Technology sees OLED TV shipments at 7.8 million units by 2019 from 600,000 in 2015.

Genesis Nanotech: Nanotechnology News & Updates: This Week’s Top Posts (Clean Water – Clean Renewable Energy – New Materials – Health)


Genesis Nanotech: Nanotechnology News & Updates  

1-water nano water-filter2Water Purification at the Molecular Level

Fracking for oil and gas is a dirty business. The process uses millions of gallons of water laced with chemicals and sand. Most of the contaminated water is trucked to treatment plants to be cleaned, which is costly and potentially environmentally hazardous. A Tufts engineer is researching how to create membranes for filters that may one day be able to purify the water right at a fracking site.

https://genesisnanotech.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/water-purification-at-the-molecular-level-research-at-tufts-university/

1-rocket motor_news291014 Micro-Rockets with ‘Water-Fuel’ Neutralize Biological and Chemical Warfare With fears growing over chemical and biological weapons falling into the wrong hands, scientists are developing microrockets to fight back against these dangerous agents, should the need arise. In the journal ACS Nano, they describe new spherical micromotors that rapidly neutralize chemical and biological agents and use water as fuel.

https://genesisnanotech.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/micro-rockets-with-water-fuel-to-neutralize-chemical-biological-warfare/

graphene-structureStart-Up Scales Graphene Production: Develops Bio-Sensors and Supercapacitors

An official of a materials technology and manufacturing startup says his company is addressing the challenge of scaling graphene production for commercial applications. Glenn Johnson, CEO of BlueVine Graphene Industries Inc., said many of the methodologies being utilized to produce graphene today are not easily scalable and require numerous post-processing steps to use it in functional applications. He said the company’s product development team has developed a way to scale the production of graphene to meet commercial volumes and many different applications.

https://genesisnanotech.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/startup-scales-up-graphene-production-develops-biosensors-and-supercapacitors/

1-ACS Solar Band Gap nl-2014-03322a_0005Getting More Electricity Out of Solar Cells: MIT

New MIT model can guide design of solar cells that produce less waste heat, more useful current. When sunlight shines on today’s solar cells, much of the incoming energy is given off as waste heat rather than electrical current. In a few materials, however, extra energy produces extra electrons — behavior that could significantly increase solar-cell efficiency. An MIT team has now identified the mechanism by which that phenomenon happens, yielding new design guidelines for using those special materials to make high-efficiency solar cells.

https://genesisnanotech.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/getting-more-electricity-out-of-solar-cells/

1-google developGoogle Developing Nanotechnology to Detect Cancer and Heart Disease

Google Inc. revealed Tuesday at a conference in California that it is creating a wearable device and a pill with nanoparticles to detect certain developing diseases in the body, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Andrew Conrad, Google‘s head of the Life Sciences team at the Google X research lab, revealed that the company’s goal is to provide an early warning system for cancer and other diseases with a more efficient detection rate.

https://genesisnanotech.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/google-developing-nanotechnology-to-detect-cancer-heart-disease/

1-Graphene solar-panel-array-img_assist-400x301Graphene Solar Panels

Graphene is made of a single layer of carbon atoms that are bonded together in a repeating pattern of hexagons. It is a 2 dimensional material with amazing characteristics, which grant it the title “wonder material”. It is extremely strong and almost entirely transparent and also astonishingly conductive and flexible. Graphene is made of carbon, which is abundant, and can be a relatively inexpensive material. Graphene has a seemingly endless potential for improving existing products as well as inspiring new ones.

https://genesisnanotech.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/graphene-solar-panels/

Applications of Nanomaterials Chart Picture1Nano-Materials fro the Next Generation of Electronics and Photovoltaics: Controlling Size

One of the longstanding problems of working with nanomaterials—substances at the molecular and atomic scale—is controlling their size. When their size changes, their properties also change. This suggests that uniform control over size is critical in order to use them reliably as components in electronics.

Put another way, “if you don’t control size, you will have inhomogeneity in performance,” says Mark Hersam. “You don’t want some of your cell phones to work, and others not.”

https://genesisnanotech.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/nano-materials-for-the-next-generation-of-electronics-and-photovoltaics-controlling-size/

1-BC Water safe_imageNanotechnology: Can New Discoveries Help Us Provide Clean Water and Clean Renewable Energy?

Nanotechnology and Our Future Nanotechnology has been called “The Next Industrial Revolution.” It will or already has, impacted almost every facet of our daily lives. From ‘Nano-Enabled’ Solar Energy & Storage, Nano-Enabled Water Filtraion & Remediation to ‘Nano-Enabled’ Drug Therapies for Cancer, Alzheimers and DiabetesNanotechnology will serve to advance our technology capabilities to meet the Vision for a Better Quality of Life for all of us who share this Planet Earth as ‘Home’.

https://genesisnanotech.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/nanotechnology-can-new-discoveries-help-us-provide-clean-water-and-clean-renewable-and-energy/

*** Note to Readers and Supporters ***1-business-partnerships

Do you have or do you know of a ‘Special Water Project’ that is looking for Partners and/ or Support? If so, please contact us via our Website’s ‘Contact Form’ at:

http://www.genesisnanotech.com/contacts/

Thank You! Genesis Nanotechnology – “Great Things from Small Things”

Water Purification at the Molecular Level: Research at Tufts University


1-water nano water-filter2Fracking for oil and gas is a dirty business. The process uses millions of gallons of water laced with chemicals and sand. Most of the contaminated water is trucked to treatment plants to be cleaned, which is costly and potentially environmentally hazardous.

A Tufts engineer is researching how to create membranes for filters that may one day be able to purify the water right at a fracking site. Ayse Asatekin, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, is designing materials for sophisticated filters that would be more cost-effective and use less energy than current methods. They would work not only at fracking sites, but could also be used to clean industrial waste from manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies and to provide clean drinking water.

121203_9627_asatekin087 .jpg

Ayse Asatekin is experimenting with polymers that could one day be used in filters to distinguish between different chemicals. Photo: Kelvin Ma

Using filters to purify water isn’t new. Hippocrates, in the fourth century B.C., invented a bag filter to trap sediments that caused water to smell and taste bad, while Sanskrit writings from 2000 B.C. describe sand and gravel filtration. Water is still filtered using the same basic principle: force it through a porous membrane that traps large particles while allowing clean water to pass through.

But to catch certain chemicals, you need a membrane with pores that measure just one nanometer across. For perspective, a strand of human hair is some 60,000 nanometers wide.

For this nanotechnology, Asatekin has turned to polymers—molecules strung together to form long chains. “A polymer is like a necklace of beads,” Asatekin says. “You can make a long chain or a short chain; you can make branches going off it. By playing with all these things, you can control a polymer’s configuration and its properties.”

Ayse Asatekin holds a sample of a water filtration membrane in her lab. Photo: Kelvin Ma >>>

She’s using the polymer chains to create a grid of ultra-small pores capable of snaring the tiniest pollutants. These nano-membranes are working in the lab, and will soon be ready to be designed for specific uses, manufactured and tested in the field.

But someday, in addition to being small, Asatekin’s polymer filters will also be smart: she’s experimenting with polymers that could distinguish between different chemicals. “So even if two molecules were the same size, the polymer would ‘know’ that one has certain functional groups that the other lacks, and be able to block it,” she says.

Right now she is testing polymers that can recognize the difference between molecules using characteristics that define their structures. This could allow, for example, a smart membrane to separate a pharmaceutical from the chemical compounds that catalyze the reactions to create the drug.2-water nano nano1

Filters Go Mobile

Asatekin’s inspiration for the polymers came from observing bacteria. All bacterial cell walls, cell membranes and membranes that separate the nuclei from the cytoplasm have structures that allow one type of molecule to pass through their “doorways” while blocking others, she says.

“For example, there is one structure that allows a sugar to come in, one that allows calcium ions but no other molecules,” she says. “Each cell’s wall or membrane structure has its own target, and is very selective—this is what I am hoping my polymers will be able to do maybe 10 to 15 years from now.”

A polymer membrane looks like a piece of slightly shiny paper. To create a membrane, Asatekin takes her polymers and paints them onto a large-pore, paper-like material that is itself an acrylic polymer specially manufactured to suit each project. They might not look exciting, but it is these membranes that will allow filtration to go mobile.

For the membranes to be turned into actual transportable units to be used in the field at fracking, manufacturing or other sites, a company would need to scale up their production to make them as wide, long sheets. Then, several flat membranes would be rolled into large cylinders that could be one inch in diameter by one foot long or as large as eight inches in diameter by 40 inches tall, depending on the use. These pipe-like structures would be attached to a pump and secured on a rig, sometimes singly and sometimes stacked, and pressurized water would be forced through them, coming out clean on the other side.

Whether they are used for pharmaceutical purification, cleaning industrial wastewater or producing drinking water, the membranes Asatekin’s group is designing could be cleaned and last longer than current filters. More field testing is needed to define exactly how these systems would function. At fracking or industrial sites, the filtering process eliminates the need to transport contaminated water to a treatment facility. The purified water could be reused without ever leaving the site.

And the membranes’ mobility means they could purify water in remote areas of the world, a boon for the estimated 780 million people with no access to clean water, according to the World Health Organization and UNICEF’s Joint Monitoring Programme.

The nano-membranes would also save energy by eliminating the need boil water to turn it into vapor and then distill it.

“The Department of Energy estimates that these industrial purification and separation processes account for 40 to 70 percent of energy costs generated by a chemical manufacturing process,” Asatekin says. “What we are working on is expanding the applications for polymer membranes that would improve the energy efficiency of many manufacturing processes by not having to use distillation, but instead, passing it through our selective filters.”

Asatekin’s polymer membranes have another quality important for industrial use—something called fouling resistance. This means that oil and other heavy substances can’t clog the membrane pores and foul the purification process. Clean Membranes, the Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, company that Asatekin co-founded and now consults for, is working with oil and gas companies across the country to develop polymer membrane applications tailored to their needs.

Source: Tufts University

Micro-Rockets with ‘Water’ Fuel to Neutralize Chemical & Biological Warfare


1-rocket motor_news291014With fears growing over chemical and biological weapons falling into the wrong hands, scientists are developing microrockets to fight back against these dangerous agents, should the need arise. In the journal ACS Nano, they describe new spherical micromotors that rapidly neutralize chemical and biological agents and use water as fuel.

Joseph Wang and colleagues point out that titanium dioxide is one of the most promising materials available for degrading chemical and biological warfare agents. It doesn’t require harsh chemicals or result in toxic by-products.

1-rocket motor_news291014

Image: Spherical micromotors fueled by water can neutralize dangerous chemical and biological agents.
Credit: American Chemical Society

Current approaches using titanium dioxide, however, require that it be mixed in whatever solution that needs to be decontaminated. But there’s no way to actively mix titanium dioxide in waterways if chemical and biological agents are released into the environment. So scientists have been working on ways to propel titanium dioxide around to accelerate the decontamination process without the need for active stirring. But approaches so far have required fuel and other compounds that hinder neutralization. Wang’s team wanted to fix this problem.

To give titanium dioxide a source of thrust, the researchers coated it over a magnesium sphere core. When put in a watery environment, a single hole in the shell allows water to enter and react with the magnesium core. This produces hydrogen gas, which bubbles out and propels the titanium dioxide through the surrounding liquid. This enables it to more efficiently and rapidly contact and degrade harmful agents. When tested, the micromotors successfully neutralized nerve agents and anthrax-like bacteria in considerably less time compared to titanium dioxide microparticles that aren’t propelled.
Source: http://www.acs.org/…

Startup scales up graphene production, develops biosensors and supercapacitors


An official of a materials technology and manufacturing startup says his company is addressing the challenge of scaling graphene production for commercial applications.Startup scales up graphene production, develops biosensors and supercapacitors

Glenn Johnson, CEO of BlueVine Graphene Industries Inc., said many of the methodologies being utilized to produce graphene today are not easily scalable and require numerous post-processing steps to use it in functional applications. He said the company’s product development team has developed a way to scale the production of graphene to meet commercial volumes and many different applications.

“Our graphene electrodes are created using a roll-to-roll chemical vapor deposition process, and then they are combined with other materials utilizing a different roll-to-roll process,” he said. “We can give the same foundational graphene electrodes entirely different properties, utilizing standard or custom materials that we are developing for our own commercial products. In essence what we’ve done is developed scalable graphene electrodes that are foundational pieces and can be easily customized to unique customer applications.”

Timothy Fisher, founder and Chief Technology Officer of BlueVine Graphene Industries, developed the technology. He also is the James G. Dwyer Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue. The patented technology has been exclusively licensed to BlueVine Graphene Industries through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.

“We’re moving up to roll-to-roll, large-scale manufacturing capabilities. These roll-to-roll systems allow us to increase output by a thousand-fold over the original research-scale processes,” Fisher said. “These state-of-the-art systems allow us to leverage the game-changing properties of graphene and, in particular, our graphene petal technology, called Folium™, at production scales that provide tremendous pricing advantages.”

BlueVine Graphene Industries already is developing and testing two commercial applications for its Folium technology: biosensors and supercapacitors. Johnson said the company’s first-generation glucose monitoring technology could impact the use of traditional testing systems like lancets, which are made with gold and other precious metals. The second-generation technology could allow people to use non-invasive methods to test their glucose levels through saliva, tears or urine.

“Patient non-compliance with doctor-recommended glucose testing frequency can be a problem. By making lancets more affordable and potentially non-invasive, we are addressing a critical global need,” he said. “More frequent tests could lead to better control of the disease, which could lead to an associated reduction in health risks.”

Supercapacitors are BlueVine Graphene Industries’ second application under development for its Folium graphene. Johnson said the company’s graphene supercapacitors are reaching the energy density of lithium-ion batteries without a similar energy fade over time.

“Our graphene-based supercapacitors charge in just a fraction of the time needed to charge lithium-ion batteries. There are many consumer, industrial and military applications,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be great if mobile phones could be fully recharged in only a matter of minutes, and if they kept working like new, year after year?”

Johnson said the company will refine its production and quality assurance processes to produce commercial volumes of the Folium graphene.

“We also are focused on working with potential customers to continue to develop baseline products for both our biosensor and supercapacitor applications,” he said.
Source: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/…

Getting more electricity out of solar cells


1-mit NewsImage-SingletNew MIT model can guide design of solar cells that produce less waste heat, more useful current.

When sunlight shines on today’s solar cells, much of the incoming energy is given off as waste heat rather than electrical current. In a few materials, however, extra energy produces extra electrons — behavior that could significantly increase solar-cell efficiency.

An MIT team has now identified the mechanism by which that phenomenon happens, yielding new design guidelines for using those special materials to make high-efficiency solar cells. The results are reported in the journal Nature Chemistry by MIT alumni Shane R. Yost and Jiye Lee, and a dozen other co-authors, all led by MIT’s Troy Van Voorhis, professor of chemistry, and Marc Baldo, professor of electrical engineering.

In most photovoltaic (PV) materials, a photon (a packet of sunlight) delivers energy that excites a molecule, causing it to release one electron. But when high-energy photons provide more than enough energy, the molecule still releases just one electron — plus waste heat.

1-mit NewsImage-Singlet

A few organic molecules don’t follow that rule. Instead, they generate more than one electron per high-energy photon. That phenomenon — known as singlet exciton fission — was first identified in the 1960s. However, achieving it in a functioning solar cell has proved difficult, and the exact mechanism involved has become the subject of intense controversy in the field.

For the past four years, Van Voorhis and Baldo have been pooling their theoretical and experimental expertise to investigate this problem. In 2013, they reported making the first solar cell that gives off extra electrons from high-energy visible light, which makes up almost half the sun’s electromagnetic radiation at the Earth’s surface. According to their estimates, applying their technology as an inexpensive coating on silicon solar cells could increase efficiency by as much as 25 percent.

While that’s encouraging, understanding the mechanism at work would enable them and others to do even better. Exciton fission has now been observed in a variety of materials, all discovered — like the original ones — by chance. “We can’t rationally design materials and devices that take advantage of exciton fission until we understand the fundamental mechanism at work — until we know what the electrons are actually doing,” Van Voorhis says.

To support his theoretical study of electron behavior within PVs, Van Voorhis used experimental data gathered in samples specially synthesized by Baldo and Timothy Swager, MIT’s John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry. The samples were made of four types of exciton fission molecules decorated with various sorts of “spinach” — bulky side groups of atoms that change the molecular spacing without altering the physics or chemistry. To detect fission rates — which are measured in femtoseconds (10-15 seconds) — the MIT team turned to experts including Moungi Bawendi, the Lester Wolfe Professor of Chemistry, and special equipment at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University, under the direction of Richard Friend.

Van Voorhis’ new first-principles formula successfully predicts the fission rate in materials with vastly different structures. In addition, it confirms once and for all that the mechanism is the “classic” one proposed in 1960s: When excess energy is available in these materials, an electron in an excited molecule swaps places with an electron in an unexcited molecule nearby. The excited electron brings some energy along and leaves some behind, so that both molecules give off electrons. The result: one photon in, two electrons out. “The simple theory proposed decades ago turns out to explain the behavior,” Van Voorhis says. “The controversial, or ‘exotic,’ mechanisms proposed more recently aren’t required to explain what’s being observed here.”

The results also provide practical guidelines for designing solar cells with these materials. They show that molecular packing is important in defining the rate of fission — but only to a point. When the molecules are very close together, the electrons move so quickly that the molecules giving and receiving them don’t have time to adjust. Indeed, a far more important factor is choosing a material that has the right inherent energy levels.

The researchers are pleased with the agreement between their experimental and theoretical data — especially given the systems being modeled. Each molecule has about 50 atoms, and each atom has six to 10 electrons. “These are complicated systems to calculate,” Van Voorhis says. “That’s the reason that 50 years ago they couldn’t compute these things — but now we can.”

David Reichman, a professor of chemistry at Columbia University who was not involved in this research, considers the new findings “a very important contribution to the singlet fission literature. Via a synergistic combination of modeling, crystal engineering, and experiment, the authors have provided the first systematic study of parameters influencing fission rates,” he says. Their findings “should strongly influence design criteria of fission materials away from goals involving molecular packing and toward a focus on the electronic energy levels of selected materials.”

This work was performed in the Center for Excitonics, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Experimental measurements were supported by the British Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and work at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials at Brookhaven National Laboratory was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Google Developing Nanotechnology To Detect Cancer, Heart Disease


1-google developGoogle Inc. revealed Tuesday at a conference in California that it is creating a wearable device and a pill with nanoparticles to detect certain developing diseases in the body, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Andrew Conrad, Google‘s head of the Life Sciences team at the Google X research lab, revealed that the company’s goal is to provide an early warning system for cancer and other diseases with a more efficient detection rate.

“Every test you ever go to the doctor for will be done through this system,” Conrad said. “That is our dream.”

Google X is designing tiny magnetic particles that seek out and attach to cells, proteins or other molecules inside the body. A wearable sensor with a magnet will attract the particles, along with the attached cells, and monitor the signs of medical trouble in the user’s bloodstream.

1-google develop

Google is developing a disease-detecting wristband sensor that can monitor your body for early signs of illnesses, such as cancer.
(Photo : Getty Images)

Experts said that the research is still on its early stages, according to the Daily Mail.

Researchers at Google X have yet to identify how the nanoparticles would bind itself to infected cells. Google said that its research team doesn’t know how much nanoparticles are needed for the system to work.

“Nanoparticles… give you the ability to explore the body at a molecular and cellular level,” Conrad explained. “Then [you can] recall those nanoparticles to a single location and that location is the superficial vasculature of the wrist, [where] you can ask them what they saw,” Conrad continued.

“In principle this is great. Any newcomers with new ideas are welcome in the field,” professor Paul Workman, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, told BBC. “How much of this proposal is dream versus reality is impossible to tell because it is a fascinating concept that now needs to be converted to practice.”

A hundred Google employees, with expertise in molecular imaging, structural biology of neurodegenerative disease, astrophysics, chemistry and electrical engineering among others, have taken part in the nanoparticle project, TechCrunch has learned.

“We’re trying to stave off death by preventing disease. Our foe is unnecessary death,” said Conrad.

New, Cheap and Efficient Method to Improve an Ultra-Sensitive Chemical Detection Technique


1- Nano Senors 50373Abstract:
Materials Today´s cover highlights the research work developed by CiQUS researchers, which developed a new method to overcome the problems of Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS), an ultra-sensitive analytical technique able to detect chemicals in very low concentration, even up to single molecules, and also to retrieve structural information. SERS high sensitivity comes from the interaction of molecules with highly localized and intense fields called plasmons, caused by interaction of light with a metal surface, usually nanostuctured. Research results allow to cut production costs of substrates, and also tackle the lack of reproducibility usually associated to this technique.

A new cheap and efficient method to improve SERS, an ultra-sensitive chemical detection technique

Santiago de Compostela, Spain | Posted on October 28th, 2014

The main contribution of this work is the fabrication of new substrates made of polymer and aluminium with a regular pattern. These new substrates have demonstrated a comparable, or even better signal enhancement, than that obtained with the few available and expensive commercial ones. Normal substrates are made of metal nanoparticles deposited on a flat support. The randomness of size, shape and distribution of these particles cause the low reproducibility of these conventional substrates. A way to overcome this problem is to use a micro or nano-structured substrate with a regular pattern. Conventional approaches, based on silicon structured by lithography techniques, is quite expensive and leave abundant residues.

1- Nano Senors 50373
In the current work, the authors took advantage of an unconventional replication technique which use a mold and UV light to hardened a polymer with any possible shape. The process last just a few seconds and after release the elastomeric replica with the micro and nanostructures, it is covered with a thin film of metal by a process of physical metal vapour deposition. A new polymer called “liquid Teflon” allows the fabrication of really tiny details in the sub-10nm range, and expand design flexibility. Several metals -like the usual gold and silver- were tested with good results, but they also tested aluminium with even better results. This is relevant because aluminium has been usually rejected as SERS substrate due to its easy oxidation, what it is true; but the oxidation process is so fast, and the crust so impermeable, that the process stops readily, leaving an oxide layer of only a few nanometers (2-3nm) that explain that the substrate still works properly. What is more, the oxide layer protect the surface, and stabilize the substrate for more time.

This work was developed at CiQUS by the PhD student Manuel Gómez at Massimo Lazzari´s group. They obtained the micrographs an Raman spectra at CACTUS.

This new kind of SERS substrates, made of polymer and aluminium, are able to improve the results and the reproducibility of SERS results and simplify the measurement process, making the technique easy to use in any laboratory.

Technical note

Raman spectroscopy gives low intensity spectra, but the SERS effect is about amplifying Raman signals of molecules by several orders of magnitude due to local field enhancements called “hot-spots”. To profit from these local field enhancements, the molecules must be very close to the metal surface (around 10nm maximum). Random distribution of metal particles and shapes gives low reproducibility. However, in this work the researchers have proposed a completely regular pattern, a 2.5D photonic structure. Such kind of structures are usually produced by means of expensive and polluting processes but here the proposed fabrication process exchange the conventional top-down protocol by a bottom-up one, where a photopolymer (a perfluoropolyether derivate) is used to fabricate the micro and nano-patterns by ultraviolet nano-imprint lithography (UV-NIL), an eco-friendly technique without residues and very low power consumption. This technique is fast and it takes just a few seconds to obtain the structured substrate by crosslinking of the polymer chains. The structured polymer is covered with a thin metallic layer, the plasmonic layer, usually gold or silver.

The choice of aluminium as active metal is another novelty of this work, since this metal has often been rejected as SERS substrate because its easy oxidation and inadequate plasmon wavelength. Experimental evidence and theoretical calculations show that what had been considered a problem it is really an advantage, since the Al2O3 passivation layer is so thin that it still allow the propagation of plasmon and so hard and impermeable that the oxidation process stops readily after oxide layer formation. This passivation phenomenon would explain the temporal and environmental stability of these substrates.