Genesis Nanotech Headlines Are Out!

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Chairman Terry: “Nanotech is a true science race between the nations, and we should be encouraging the transition from research breakthroughs to commercial development.”

WASHINGTON, DCThe Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), today held a hearing on:

“Nanotechnology: Understanding How Small Solutions Drive Big Innovation.”




“Great Things from Small Things!” … We Couldn’t Agree More!


Subcommittee Examines Breakthrough Nanotechnology Opportunities for America

July 29, 2014

WASHINGTON, DCThe Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), today held a hearing on “Nanotechnology: Understanding How Small Solutions Drive Big Innovation.” Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is approximately 1 to 100 nanometers (one nanometer is a billionth of a meter). This technology brings great opportunities to advance a broad range of industries, bolster our U.S. economy, and create new manufacturing jobs. Members heard from several nanotech industry leaders about the current state of nanotechnology and the direction that it is headed.UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO - New $5 million lab

“Just as electricity, telecommunications, and the combustion engine fundamentally altered American economics in the ‘second industrial revolution,’ nanotechnology is poised to drive the next surge of economic growth across all sectors,” said Chairman Terry.



Applications of Nanomaterials Chart Picture1

Dr. Christian Binek, Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, explained the potential of nanotechnology to transform a range of industries, stating, “Virtually all of the national and global challenges can at least in part be addressed by advances in nanotechnology. Although the boundary between science and fiction is blurry, it appears reasonable to predict that the transformative power of nanotechnology can rival the industrial revolution. Nanotechnology is expected to make major contributions in fields such as; information technology, medical applications, energy, water supply with strong correlation to the energy problem, smart materials, and manufacturing. It is perhaps one of the major transformative powers of nanotechnology that many of these traditionally separated fields will merge.”

Dr. James M. Tour at the Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University encouraged steps to help the U.S better compete with markets abroad. “The situation has become untenable. Not only are our best and brightest international students returning to their home countries upon graduation, taking our advanced technology expertise with them, but our top professors also are moving abroad in order to keep their programs funded,” said Tour. “This is an issue for Congress to explore further, working with industry, tax experts, and universities to design an effective incentive structure that will increase industry support for research and development – especially as it relates to nanotechnology. This is a win-win for all parties.”

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Professor Milan Mrksich of Northwestern University discussed the economic opportunities of nanotechnology, and obstacles to realizing these benefits. He explained, “Nanotechnology is a broad-based field that, unlike traditional disciplines, engages the entire scientific and engineering enterprise and that promises new technologies across these fields. … Current challenges to realizing the broader economic promise of the nanotechnology industry include the development of strategies to ensure the continued investment in fundamental research, to increase the fraction of these discoveries that are translated to technology companies, to have effective regulations on nanomaterials, to efficiently process and protect intellectual property to ensure that within the global landscape, the United States remains the leader in realizing the economic benefits of the nanotechnology industry.”

James Phillips, Chairman & CEO at NanoMech, Inc., added, “It’s time for America to lead. … We must capitalize immediately on our great University system, our National Labs, and tremendous agencies like the National Science Foundation, to be sure this unique and best in class innovation ecosystem, is organized in a way that promotes nanotechnology, tech transfer and commercialization in dramatic and laser focused ways so that we capture the best ideas into patents quickly, that are easily transferred into our capitalistic economy so that our nation’s best ideas and inventions are never left stranded, but instead accelerated to market at the speed of innovation so that we build good jobs and improve the quality of life and security for our citizens faster and better than any other country on our planet.”

Chairman Terry concluded, “Nanotech is a true science race between the nations, and we should be encouraging the transition from research breakthroughs to commercial development. I believe the U.S. should excel in this area.”

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Low Cost Laser Technique Improves Electrical & Photo Conductivity in Nanomaterials

NUS Laser 49845NUS scientists use low cost technique to improve properties and functions of nanomaterials: By ‘drawing’ micropatterns on nanomaterials using a focused laser beam, scientists could modify properties of nanomaterials for effective applications in photonic and optoelectric applications

Singapore | Posted on July 22nd, 2014

Through the use of a simple, efficient and low cost technique involving a focused laser beam, two NUS research teams, led by Professor Sow Chorng Haur from the Department of Physics at the NUS Faculty of Science, demonstrated that the properties of two different types of materials can be controlled and modified, and consequently, their functionalities can be enhanced.

Said Prof Sow, “In our childhood, most of us are likely to have the experience of bringing a magnifying glass outdoors on a sunny day and tried to focus sunlight onto a piece of paper to burn the paper. Such a simple approach turns out to be a very versatile tool in research. Instead of focusing sunlight, we can focus laser beam onto a wide variety of nanomaterials and study effects of the focused laser beam has on these materials.”

NUS Laser 49845

Mesoporous silicon nanowires were scanned by a focused laser beam in two different patterns, imaged by bright-field optical microscope, as depicted by (a) and (c), as well as fluorescence microscopy, as depicted by (b) and (d). Evidently, the images hidden in boxes shown in (a) and (c) are clearly revealed under fluorescence microscopy.

Micropatterns ‘drawn’ on MoS2 films could enhance electrical conductivity and photo conductivity

Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a class of transition metal dichalcogenide compound, has attracted great attention as an emerging two-dimensional (2D) material due to wide recognition of its potential in and optoelectronics. One of the many fascinating properties of 2D MoS2 film is that its properties depend on the thickness of the film. In addition, its properties can be modified once the film is modified chemically. Hence one of the challenges in this field is the ability to create microdevices out of the MoS2 film comprising components with different thickness or chemical nature.

To address this technological challenge, Prof Sow, Dr Lu Junpeng, a postdoctoral candidate from the Department of Physics at the NUS Faculty of Science, as well as their team members, utilised an optical microscope-focused laser beam setup to ‘draw’ micropatterns directly onto large area MoS2 films as well as to thin the films.

With this simple and low cost approach, the scientists were able to use the focused laser beam to selectively ‘draw’ patterns onto any region of the film to modify properties of the desired area, unlike other current methods where the entire film is modified.

Interestingly, they also found that the electrical conductivity and photoconductivity of the modified material had increased by more than 10 times and about five times respectively. The research team fabricated a photodetector using laser modified MoS2 film and demonstrated the superior performance of MoS2 for such application.

This innovation was first published online in the journal ACS Nano on 24 May 2014.

Hidden images ‘drawn’ by focused laser beam on silicon nanowires could improve optical functionalities

In a related study published in the journal Scientific Reports on 13 May 2014, Prof Sow led another team of researchers from the NUS Faculty of Science, in collaboration with scientists from Hong Kong Baptist University, to investigate how ‘drawing’ micropatterns on mesoporous silicon nanowires could change the properties of nanowires and advance their applications.

The team scanned a focused laser beam rapidly onto an array of mesoporous silicon nanowires, which are closely packed like the tightly woven threads of a carpet. They found that the focused laser beam could modify the optical properties of the nanowires, causing them to emit greenish-blue fluorescence light. This is the first observation of such a laser-modified behaviour from the mesoporous silicon nanowires to be reported.

The researchers systematically studied the laser-induced modification to gain insights into establishing control over the optical properties of the mesoporous silicon nanowires. Their understanding enabled them to ‘draw’ a wide variety of micropatterns with different optical functionalities using the focused laser beam.

To put their findings to the test, the researchers engineered the functional components of the nanowires with interesting applications. The research team demonstrated that the micropatterns created at a low laser power are invisible under bright-field optical microscope, but become apparent under fluorescence microscope, indicating the feasibility of hidden images.

Further research

The fast growing field of electronics and optoelectronics demands precise material deposition with application-specific optical, electrical, chemical, and mechanical properties.

To develop materials with properties that can cater to the industry’s demands, Prof Sow, together with his team of researchers, will extend the versatile focused laser beam technique to more nanomaterials. In addition, they will look into further improving the properties of MoS2 and mesoporous silicon with different techniques.

Copyright © National University of Singapore

A New Method for Rapidly Transferring Nanostructures

Nano Transfer id36430A New Method for Rapidly Transferring Nanostructures

By . Copyright © Nanowerk

Many nanofabrication techniques depend on creating a structure on one substrate and then transferring it via various processes onto another, desired, substrate. Nanoimprinting lithography (NIL) is such a pattern transfer process, as is poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)-mediated peeling (see for instance “Free-standing nanosieve membranes that are only 1 nanometer thick“), or transfer printing with a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) stamp (for an example of this technique see: “Nanofabrication enables mass production of non-reflective polymer surfaces“).

In the common PMMA-mediated transfer method, the etching of the supporting substrate to peel off PMMA/nanomaterial thin-film is usually carried out in hydrofluoric acid or hot potassium hydroxide solutions, which commonly requires more than 30 minutes processing time and is not environmentally friendly. “Many of these methods are not generally applicable as they suffer from the process-specific drawbacks, such as the requirement for the delicate control over the adhesion force at different interfaces, intolerance of transferred nanostructures to chemical etchant, and the harsh thermal environment needed for complete removal of polymer residues, as well as the wet-process-induced wrinkling of sheet structures,” Hua Zhang, a professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), tells Nanowerk. “Defects resulting from these transfer processes often have dramatically hindered these devices’ performance in electronic and optoelectronic devices.”

Zhang and his team have now proposed a universal and rapid method for transferring nanostructures with various dimensions – including zero-dimensional nanoparticles, one-dimensional nanowires, and two-dimensional (2D) nanosheets (graphene and transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) nanosheets) as well as their hybrid structures from SiO2/Si substrates – onto diverse substrates with high fidelity. The team reported their findings in the June 23, 2014 online edition of ACS Nano (“A Universal, Rapid Method for Clean Transfer of Nanostructures onto Various Substrates”).



Schematic illustration of high-fidelity transfer of nanostructures

Schematic illustration of high-fidelity transfer of nanostructures. (a) Low-dimensional nanomaterials (e.g., nanoparticle, nanowires, and nanosheets) are deposited on a 90 nm SiO2/Si substrate. (b) A polymer film as carrier is spin-coated onto the nanomaterials deposited on SiO2/Si substrate. (c) Polymer strips (1 mm wide) are removed at the edges of the polymer-coated SiO2/Si substrate to expose the hydrophilic SiO2 surface. (d) PDMS film (1-2 mm thick) is brought into conformal contact with the carrier polymer. (e) Drop of water is deposited at one edge of the SiO2/Si substrate to separate the PDMS/polymer/nanomaterial film from the SiO2/Si substrate. (f) PDMS/polymer/nanomaterial film is peeled off from SiO2/Si substrate. (g) PDMS/polymer/nanomaterial film is brought into contact with a 300 nm SiO2/Si substrate. (h) PDMS film is removed from the carrier polymer film. (i) Carrier polymer is washed away after it is dissolved in DCM at 50°C. The nanomaterials are left on the target substrate. (j) Photograph of MoS2 flakes deposited on a 90 nm SiO2/Si substrate. (k) Photograph of MoS2 flakes in (j) transferred onto a 300 nm SiO2/Si substrate. (l,m) OM images of the MoS2 nanosheets before (l) and after (m) transfer. (Reprinted by permission of American Chemical Society) (click on image to enlarge)


Resembling more a ‘cut and paste’ operation, the whole transfer can be finished within several minutes. It also is compatible with temperature-sensitive materials and substrates because no thermal annealing is involved. In common transfer methods based on PMMA, thermal annealing is inevitable to remove the PMMA residue from transferred 2D nanosheets. By contrast, in Zhang’s method, the carrier polymer can be completely removed in dichloromethane (DCM) at 50 °C, and achieve a surface cleanliness similar to that of thermal annealing.

“Our method is suitable for a wide range of materials and substrates,” Zhang points out the universal character of this new technique. “We demonstrated that various nanostructures can be successfully transferred onto diverse substrates, including hydrophilic (SiO2/Si), hydrophobic (octadecyltrichlorosilane modified SiO2), flexible (poly(ethylene terephthalate) film) substrates, and single crystals (BiFeO3, LiNbO3 and PMN-PT), with high fidelity.

Not only hydrophobic nanosheets (graphene, MoS2 and WSe2), but also hydrophilic nanosheets (mica and graphene oxide) can be successfully transferred, indicating the wide applicability of our method.”

In summary, this transfer process exhibits three novelties: First, the peeling off process is assisted by water penetration at the interface of hydrophilic substrate and hydrophobic carrier polymer. It is clean and can be finished within several seconds. Second, the method is able to completely remove the carrier polymer without any annealing process, which greatly shortens the fabrication time required for the multi-step transfer. Finally, the carrier polymer is not limited to poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA), poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), and L-lactide-ε-caprolactone copolymer (PLC), which the team used in their present work.

Any water insoluble polymer might be used for the rapid and clean transfer of nanomaterials.

“The key advantages of our transfer method over previous techniques – i.e., rapidness, cleanness, and high precision – are especially important in the fabrication of vertically stacked heterostructures of graphene and other 2D nanosheets,” says Zhang. “Previously, to make such vertical heterostructures, different 2D nanosheets were transferred layer by layer in sequence by using the common ‘dry’ transfer method based on PMMA. However, the PMMA residue cannot be completely removed even with high-temperature annealing.

Impressively, our method is able to considerably remove the polymer residue in DCM without any annealing process, which greatly shortens the fabrication time required for the multistep transfer.” Going forward, Zhang’s team will try to improve their method for the transfer of large-area, CVD-grown TMD and topological insulator nanosheets from their growth substrates.

Currently, the etching of copper foil is necessary prior to the transfer of CVD-grown graphene. “We will also try to transfer CVD-grown graphene on copper foil without etching the copper foil by using our method,” he says.