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news archives: 2012

2012 News

Yuntian Zhu named 2012 AAAS Fellow (November 29, 2012). Dr. Yuntian T. Zhu, Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Zhu was recognized by AAAS for “pioneering and innovative work on nanotechnology development and fundamental science of nanomaterials.” AAAS elects Fellows from among its membership to recognize scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Zhu will be among 702 new AAAS Fellows honored in February at the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass. NC State News Service

New techniques stretch carbon nanotubes (October 15, 2012). Researchers from NC State have developed new techniques for stretching carbon nanotubes (CNT) and using them to create carbon composites that can be used as stronger, lighter materials in everything from airplanes to bicycles. Stretching the CNT material before incorporating it into a composite for use in finished products significantly improves its tensile strength – and enhances the stiffness of the composite material and its electrical and thermal conductivity. For decades, researchers have been unable to achieve these goals. But now a research team, led by Dr. Yuntian Zhu, professor of materials science and engineering, has developed a solution. NC State News Service

Researchers create ‘nanoflowers’ for energy storage, solar cells (October 11, 2012). NC State researchers have created flower-like structures out of germanium sulfide (GeS) – a semiconductor material – that have extremely thin petals with an enormous surface area. The GeS flower holds promise for next-generation energy storage devices and solar cells. “Creating these GeS nanoflowers is exciting because it gives us a huge surface area in a small amount of space,” says Dr. Linyou Cao, assistant professor of materials science and engineering and co-author of a paper on the research. NC State News Service

Researchers reveal how solvent mixtures affect organic solar cell structure (October 4, 2012). Controlling “mixing” between acceptor and donor layers, or solar cell domains, in polymer-based solar cells could increase their efficiency, according to a team of researchers that included physicists from NC State. Their findings shed light on the inner workings of these solar cells, and could lead to further improvements in efficiency. NC State physicist Dr. Harald Ade and his group worked with teams of scientists from the United Kingdom, Australia, and China to examine the physical structure and improve the production of polymer-based solar cells. NC State News Service

NC State to lead NSF Nanosystems Engineering Research Center on Self-Powered Health Monitoring (September 5, 2012). NC State will lead a national nanotechnology research effort to create self-powered devices to help people monitor their health and understand how the surrounding environment affects it, NSF announced today. The NSF Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST), to be headquartered on NC State’s Centennial Campus, is a joint effort between NC State and partner institutions Florida International University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Virginia. The center, funded by an initial five-year $18.5 million grant from NSF, also includes five affiliated universities and about 30 industry partners in its global research consortium. NC State News Service

Researchers develop new, less expensive nanolithography technique (August 31, 2012). Researchers from NC State have developed a new nanolithography technique that is less expensive than other approaches and can be used to create technologies with biomedical applications. “Among other things, this type of lithography can be used to manufacture chips for use in biological sensors that can identify target molecules, such as proteins or genetic material associated with specific medical conditions,” says Dr. Albena Ivanisevic, co-author of a paper describing the research. Ivanisevic is an associate professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and associate professor of the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill. NC State News Service

Researchers create elastic conductors with silver nanowires (July 12, 2012). Researchers from NC State, led by Dr. Yong Zhu, have developed highly conductive and elastic conductors made from silver nanoscale wires (nanowires). These elastic conductors can be used to develop stretchable electronic devices. Stretchable circuitry would be able to do many things that its rigid counterpart cannot. For example, stretchable displays and antennas could make cell phones and other electronic devices stretch and compress without affecting their performance. NC State News Service

Nano-sandwich technique slims down solar cells, improves efficiency (June 25, 2012). Researchers from NC State have found a way to create much slimmer thin-film solar cells without sacrificing the cells’ ability to absorb solar energy. Making the cells thinner should significantly decrease manufacturing costs for the technology. “We were able to create solar cells using a ‘nanoscale sandwich’ design with an ultra-thin ‘active’ layer,” says Dr. Linyou Cao, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. NC State News Service

Researchers find gold nanoparticles capable of ‘unzipping’ DNA (June 20, 2012). New research from NC State finds that gold nanoparticles with a slight positive charge work collectively to unravel DNA’s double helix. This finding has ramifications for gene therapy research and the emerging field of DNA-based electronics. "We began this work with the goal of improving methods of packaging genetic material for use in gene therapy,” says Dr. Anatoli Melechko, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. NC State News Service

Study improves understanding of surface molecules in controlling size of gold nanoparticles (June 18, 2012). NC State researchers have shown that the “bulkiness” of molecules commonly used in the creation of gold nanoparticles actually dictates the size of the nanoparticles – with larger so-called ligands resulting in smaller nanoparticles. The research team, which includes Dr. Joseph Tracy, also found that each type of ligand produces nanoparticles in a particular array of discrete sizes. NC State News Service

DeSimone elected into National Academy of Sciences (May 1, 2012). Dr. Joseph DeSimone has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors that a U.S. scientist or engineer can receive. DeSimone is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Chemical Engineering at NC State and Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill. DeSimone has over 280 publications and holds more than 130 patents. His work is focused in the area of nanomedicine. In 2004 DeSimone and his students invented a new technology to create nanoparticles called PRINT (Particle Replication In Non-wetting Templates). PRINT particles can be used for a wide range of applications, including improved approaches to cancer treatment and diagnosis. NC State News Service

New x-ray technique reveals structure of printable electronics (April 15, 2012). An innovative X-ray technique has given NC State researchers new insight into how organic polymers can be used in printable electronics such as transistors and solar cells. NC State physicists Dr. Harald Ade and Dr. Brian Collins, with Dr. Michael Chabinyc at the University of California Santa Barbara, wanted to know why some processing steps resulted in better and more efficient devices than others. “Manufacturers know that some materials work better than others in these devices, but it’s essentially still a process of trial and error,” Ade says. “We wanted to give them a way to characterize these materials so that they could see what they had and why it was working.” Several media outlets--including PhysOrg.com, Nanowerk, and Science Daily--have reported on this research. NC State News Service

Functional oxide thin films create new field of oxide electronics (March 7, 2012). Researchers from NC State have developed the first functional oxide thin films that can be used efficiently in electronics, opening the door to an array of new high-power devices and smart sensors. This is the first time that researchers have been able to produce positively charged (p-type) conduction and negatively charged (n-type) conduction in a single oxide material, launching a new era in oxide electronics. “We avoided this problem by using the same material for p- and n-type conduction,” says Dr. Jay Narayan, the John C. Fan Distinguished Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. NC State News Service

Researchers use ultrasonic vibration assisted nanomachining with an Atomic Force Microscope (February 22, 2012). Researchers from NC State, led by Dr. Jingyan Dong, are using ultrasonic vibration assisted nanomachining lithography to fabricate nano-patterns on PMMA films with increased writing speed and tunable feature dimensions. Scanning probe lithography offers a low-cost route to fabricating master patterns or masks, but in traditional AFM setups the line-width of the nanomachined features is determined mainly by the size of the AFM tip, which can place a restriction on the dimensions that are available. Nanotechweb.org

Researchers devise new means for creating elastic conductors (January 24, 2012). Researchers from NC State have developed a new method for creating elastic conductors made of carbon nanotubes, which will contribute to large-scale production of the material for use in a new generation of elastic electronic devices. “We’re optimistic that this new approach could lead to large-scale production of stretchable conductors, which would then expedite research and development of elastic electronic devices,” says Dr. Yong Zhu, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State, and lead author of a paper describing the new technique. NC State News Service

The AAAS elects Harald Ade and Jerzy Bernholc to Fellowships (January 11, 2012). Five NC State faculty members have been elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. These faculty include Dr. Harald Ade, physics professor, who was elected for transformational contributions to X-ray microscopy and soft x-ray scattering, and Dr. Jerzy (Jerry) Bernholc, Drexel Professor of Physics and director of the Center for High Performance Simulation, who was elected for seminal contributions to the physics of materials, especially C60, nanotubes and semiconductors. NC State News Service

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