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news archives: 2008

2008 News

NC State engineer named Tar Heel of the Year (December 28, 2008). Dr. Joseph DeSimone, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at NC State, has been named the 2008 Tar Heel of the Year by The News & Observer of Raleigh. The newspaper called DeSimone a "potent force of change in North Carolina and beyond." The News & Observer

"Nanojewel" research makes Advanced Materials cover (December 19, 2008). Research led by NC State chemical engineers was featured on a recent cover of Advanced Materials, a leading materials science journal. The research on self-assembled spherical clusters of nanoparticles conducted by graduate student Vinayak Rastogi and Dr. Orlin Velev, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, was selected for the cover illustration on the journal’s “Special Issue on Frontiers in Nanoparticle Research.” NC State Engineering Communications

Researchers create "jumbo carbon nanotube." (December 19, 2008). Jianyu Huang at the joint Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, with Yuntian Zhu of NC State and other colleagues, named their new creation "colossal carbon tubes" in a paper published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters. "The structures are remarkable because they are very light, possess good electrical conductivity, and mechanical properties similar to carbon fibers," Huang says. The A to Z of Nanotechnology

Spontak named top editor at Open Colloid Science Journal (December 12, 2008). Dr. Richard Spontak, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and materials science and engineering at NC State, has been named editor-in-chief of a new international journal. The Open Colloid Science Journal aims to provide the most complete and reliable source of information on state-of-the-art developments in the field. NC State Engineering Communications

Researcher says nanotech explains Santa's one-night dash. (December 8, 2008). NC State's Dr. Larry Silverberg says that cutting-edge science, including advanced knowledge of electromagnetic waves, the space/time continuum, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and computer science, explains how Santa is able to deliver toys to good girls and boys around the world in one night. NC State News Service

NC State nanoparticle drug delivery system has been licensed. (December 2, 2008). NanoVector has licensed the plant virus nanoparticle drug delivery system developed by Drs. Stefan Franzen and Steven Lommel from NC State. “This is breakaway technology that will finally provide the highly sought after selective targeting of tumors and intracellular delivery of anti-cancer agents for improved efficacy and fewer unpleasant side effects,” said Albert Bender, Ph.D., NanoVector CEO. Nanowerk News

NC State secures grant to make solar energy less expensive. (November 18, 2008). The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded NC State's Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering a $1.2 million grant to study tiny materials that can help generate renewable energy. A team of researchers led by Dr. Gregory Parsons will learn how nanostructures can be engineered to mimic natural ways of converting energy into a form consumers can use. NC State News Service

Survey highlights public support for nanotech in health fields. (November 13, 2008). A landmark national survey on the use of nanotech for "human enhancement" shows widespread public support for applications related to improving human health. However, the survey shows broad disapproval for nanotech human enhancement research in areas without health benefits. NC State and Arizona State University researchers led the study. NC State News Service

New nanomaterial could be breakthrough for implantable medical devices (November 11, 2008). A team of researchers led by NC State has made a breakthrough that could lead to new dialysis devices and a host of other revolutionary medical implants. The researchers have found that the unique properties of a new material can be used to create devices that can be implanted into the human body. NC State News Service

Combining nanotechnology and textile technology to make superior buckypaper (October 15, 2008). Dr. Xiangwu Zhang of NC State explains that hydroentangling, also known as hydraulic needling, is a relatively new, simple, high-speed, low-cost, and environmentally benign process for mechanically bonding fibers to form a strong and uniform nonwoven fabric or membrane. Nanowerk

NC State unveils revolutionary atmospheric plasma system to finish apparel and other textiles (September 30, 2008). NC State is launching a development center for a new system that uses an environmentally friendly process to apply water repellent, stain repellent, and moisture management properties to textiles. The system has the potential to create garments that stay clean longer and are more comfortable to wear yet cost less than garments finished with current conventional processes. NC State News Service

New Duke University Center focusing on environmental effects of nanotechnology will involve NC State researchers (September 17, 2008). The National Science Foundation and Environmental Protection Agency have made awards to establish two Centers for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology. The centers are led by UCLA and Duke University. National Science Foundation

NC State engineers discover nanoparticles can break on through (September 16, 2008). In a finding that could speed the use of sensors or barcodes at the nanoscale, NC State engineers have shown that certain types of tiny organic particles, when heated to the proper temperature, bob to the surface of a layer of a thin polymer film and then can reversibly recede below the surface when heated a second time. NC State News Service

How small is too small? NC State researchers find that polarization changes at the nanoscale (September 8, 2008). Researchers at NC State have done nanoscale analysis on ferroelectric thin films – materials that are used in electronic devices from computer memories to iPhones and polarize when exposed to an electric charge – and found that when it comes to polarization, both size and location matter. NC State News Service

NC State aims to develop 'Internet for Energy' at new NSF Engineering Research Center (September 4, 2008). The National Science Foundation announced today that NC State will lead a national research center that aims to revolutionize the nation's power grid and speed renewable electric-energy technologies into every home and business. NC State News Service

Shape, not just size, impacts effectiveness of emerging nanomedicine therapies (August 4, 2008). A team of researchers led by Dr. Joseph DeSimone of UNC Chapel Hill and NC State have demonstrated that nanoparticles designed with a specific shape, size, and surface chemistry are taken up into cells and behave differently within cells depending on these attributes. This finding could lead to more effective methods for treating diseases. Nanowerk News

Nanojewels made easy (July 31, 2008). Dr. Orlin Velev and graduate student researcher Vinayak Rastogi at NC State, with researchers from ASU and UCM, have shown how colloid chemistry methods originally used to form particle aggregates from nanoparticles can be used to quickly make particles with dazzling colors simply by letting a suspension of nanoparticles dry on a superhydrophobic surface. Science Daily

NC maps out its nanotechnology future (July 21, 2008). In 2005, North Carolina put together a task force to advance nanotech-based economic activity. The state's roadmap builds on the success of Research Triangle Park and is helping shape the Piedmont Triad into a major high-tech hub. In this interview, John Hardin of the NC Board of Science & Technology discusses what the state has to offer when it comes to working at the nanoscale.

Study shows education on nanotech increases public concerns (July 16, 2008). Educating the public about nanotech and other complex, emerging technologies causes people to become more "worried and cautious" about the technologies' prospective benefits, according to a recent study by Dr. Michael Cobb and Dr. Patrick Hamlett at NC State. NC State News Service

Director hired for proposed N.C. Nanomedicine Institute (July 8, 2008). A proposed N.C. Nanomedicine Institute has taken another step with the hiring of a local consultant, Gina Stewart, as its first director. Supporters say the Piedmont Triad Research Park in downtown Winston-Salem could serve as the Institute's home, relying on the resources of Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State universities and Forsyth Technical Community College. Winston-Salem Journal

Tiny tech, unknown risks (July 2, 2008). Safety worries bubble up as nanotechnology pushes more companies to revamp products. Safety research is lagging, and public understanding has stalled, making the field ripe for a consumer backlash if problems emerge. The News & Observer

Study shows quantum dots can penetrate skin through minor abrasions (July 2, 2008). Researchers at NC State have found that quantum dot nanoparticles can penetrate the skin if there is an abrasion, providing insight into potential workplace concerns for healthcare workers or individuals involved in the manufacturing of quantum dots or doing research on potential biomedical applications of the tiny nanoparticles.

The NSF Science & Technology Centers program solicitation has been released (July 2, 2008). The limit on the number of lead-partner preliminary proposals per institution is 3. Interested NC State faculty are encouraged to start building teams. Those who know they intend to submit proposals may provide notification to Carol Ashcraft in the Proposal Development Unit. If faculty are interested in leading or being involved in a proposal that has a nanotechnology-related topic, please also contact the Nanotechnology Initiative.

Dr. Joseph DeSimone is 2008 winner of $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize (June 25, 2008). Diversity is a key tenet of invention and innovation for Joseph DeSimone, who has succeeded in applying his inventive expertise to a range of fields including green manufacturing, medical devices, and nanomedicine, with a unique ability to transfer his novel solutions from the lab to the marketplace. For these achievements, he is the 2008 winner of the Lemelson-MIT Prize.

Social networks researchers offer tips for strengthening nanotech industry-research networks (June 11, 2008). As nanotech research centers strive to become financially self-sustaining, they should work to build communities of practice among participating scientists. That’s one of several recommendations that NC State's Dr. Lynda Aiman-Smith, with Rosanna Garcia and Dan T. Dunn of Northeastern University, extract from their ongoing NSF-funded research on boundary spanners and social networks surrounding nanocenters.

Distinguished nanoscientist to lead UNC-G, NC A&T joint school (June 4, 2008). James Ryan, a professor and administrator at one of the world’s leading colleges of nanotechnology and a researcher with 47 U.S. patents, will be the founding dean of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN), a partnership between NC A&T State University and UNC-Greensboro.

NC State research breakthrough results in super-hard nanocrystalline iron that can take the heat (May 28, 2008). NC State researchers have created a substance far stronger and harder than conventional iron, and which retains these properties under extremely high temperatures – opening the door to a wide variety of potential applications, such as engine components that are exposed to high stress and high temperatures.

Failed HIV drug gets second chance with addition of gold nanoparticles (May 23, 2008). NC State researchers, Dr. Christian Melander and doctoral student T. Eric Ballard, have discovered that adding tiny bits of gold to a failed HIV drug rekindle the drug's ability to stop the virus from invading the body's immune system.

Upcoming study to shed light on toxic effects of carbon nanotubes (May 20, 2008). A recent study by Dr. James Bonner suggests that carbon nanotubes, which are increasingly appearing in commercial and industrial products, are not dangerous when inhaled--probably because they do not persist in the body as do asbestos fibers.

NC State delegation to Italy explores Italian technology applicable to US technical textiles and nonwovens (May/June 2008). The Italian Trade Commission and the Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers invited researchers from NC State's Colleges of Textiles and Engineering to Italy in February 2008 to participate in an information exchange.

Federal government taps NC State experts to explain nanotech risks (May 12, 2008). The National Nanotechnology Coordinating Office has asked Drs. David Berube and Brenton Faber to craft a white paper on how government and industry officials should communicate potential risks associated with nanotechnology to the media and public.

Physics advance leads to better understanding of optics at the atomic scale (April 28, 2008). An advance by NC State physicists--Drs. David Aspnes and Eric Adles--improves our understanding of how light interacts with matter and could make possible the development of new integrated-circuit technologies that result in faster computers that use less energy. They published a paper in the April 15 issue of Physical Review B on how wavelengths of light are shortened upon interaction with materials.

Dr. Genzer's research featured on cover of Langmuir (April 18, 2008). Dr. Jan Genzer, a professor in chemical & bimolecular engineering at NC State, published a feature article in the March 18, 2008 issue of Langmuir, an interdisciplinary journal on surfaces and colloids published by the American Chemical Society.

NanoDays 2008 video slideshow (Windows Media file, 12,796 KB). On April 4, 2008, NanoDays involved more than 1,500 teachers and students from school systems throughout NC.  Researchers and educators from multiple universities, the NC Museum of Life and Sciences, and the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center provided instruction on nanoscale research. Through tours of nanotechnology labs in Chemistry, Physics, Textiles, and Materials Science and Engineering, participants met researchers and even sampled “nano ice cream” made with liquid nitrogen.

NC State researcher gets $1.4 million grant to study public understanding of nanotechnology health risks (March 21, 2008) To help people better understand emerging research on the safety of the tiny substances called nanoparticles, the National Science Foundation has awarded Dr. David Berube a $1.4 million grant to determine how the public absorbs scientific information on the emerging technology.

'Two-faced' particles act like tiny submarines in NC State study (February 20, 2008) For the first time, researchers at NC State have demonstrated that microscopic "two-faced" spheres whose halves are physically or chemically different – so-called Janus particles – will move like stealthy submarines when an alternating electrical field is applied to liquid surrounding the particles.

Volunteer for NanoDays 2008 (February 14, 2008) NanoDays, scheduled for April 4, 2008, is held during the State Science Olympiad. With over 3,000 top science students from across NC on campus, this is a wonderful opportunity for NC State to educate the public about nanoscale science and engineering and to showcase cutting-edge research.  Please consider opening your lab for a tour, giving a demonstration, or having graduate students do a poster. To participate, complete the Volunteer Form (above link) and email it to  

Opportunities for research support (January 28, 2008) The NC State Nanotechnology Initiative invites requests from faculty for small nanotechnology-related projects during FY 07/08 that address the mission of the Nanotechnology Initiative in research, education, or outreach.


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