Princeton University recently held an ‘Art of Science’ exhibition, which has now been made available online and here’s the one I liked best of the ones I’ve seen so far,
People’s Second Place: Bridging the gap. Credit: Jason Wexler (graduate student) and Howard A. Stone (faculty) Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering When drops of liquid are trapped in a thin gap between two solids, a strong negative pressure develops inside the drops. If the solids are flexible, this pressure deforms the solids to close the gap. In our experiment the solids are transparent, which allows us to image the drops from above. Alternating dark and light lines represent lines of constant gap height, much like the lines on a topological map. These lines are caused by light interference, which is the phenomenon responsible for the beautiful rainbow pattern in an oil slick. The blue areas denote the extent of the drops. Since the drops pull the gap closed, the areas of minimum gap height (i.e. maximum deformation) are inside the drops, at the center of the concentric rings.
The gallery features the top three awards in a juried competition as well as the top three “People’s Choice” images.
The physical Art of Science 2013 gallery opened May 10 with a reception attended by about 200 people in the Friend Center on the Princeton University campus. The works were chosen from 170 images submitted from 24 different departments across campus.
“Like art, science and engineering are deeply creative activities,” said Pablo Debenedetti, the recently appointed Dean for Research at Princeton who served as master of ceremonies at the opening reception. “Also like art, science and engineering at their very best are highly unpredictable in their outcomes. The Art of Science exhibit celebrates the beauty of unpredictability and the unpredictability of beauty.” [emphasis mine]
Adam Finkelstein, professor of computer science and one of the exhibit organizers, said that Art of Science spurs debate among artists about the nature of art while opening scientists to new ways of “seeing” their own research. “At the same time,” Finkelstein said, “this striking imagery serves as a democratic window through which non-experts can appreciate the thrill of scientific discovery.”
The top three entrants as chosen by a distinguished jury received cash prizes in amounts calculated by the golden ratio (whose proportions have since antiquity been considered to be aesthetically pleasing): first prize, $250; second prize, $154.51; and third prize, $95.49. [emphasis mine]
The physical exhibit is located in the Friend Center on the Princeton University campus in Princeton, N.J.. The exhibit is free and open to the public, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In the wake of the sobering news that atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at its highest level in at least three million years, an important advance in the race to develop carbon-neutral renewable energy sources has been achieved. Scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have reported the first fully integrated nanosystem for artificial photosynthesis. While “artificial leaf” is the popular term for such a system, the key to this success was an “artificial forest.”
Here’s a more detailed description of the system, from the news release,
“Similar to the chloroplasts in green plants that carry out photosynthesis, our artificial photosynthetic system is composed of two semiconductor light absorbers, an interfacial layer for charge transport, and spatially separated co-catalysts,” says Peidong Yang, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, who led this research. “To facilitate solar water- splitting in our system, we synthesized tree-like nanowire heterostructures, consisting of silicon trunks and titanium oxide branches. Visually, arrays of these nanostructures very much resemble an artificial forest.”
… Artificial photosynthesis, in which solar energy is directly converted into chemical fuels, is regarded as one of the most promising of solar technologies. A major challenge for artificial photosynthesis is to produce hydrogen cheaply enough to compete with fossil fuels. Meeting this challenge requires an integrated system that can efficiently absorb sunlight and produce charge-carriers to drive separate water reduction and oxidation half-reactions.
“In natural photosynthesis the energy of absorbed sunlight produces energized charge-carriers that execute chemical reactions in separate regions of the chloroplast,” Yang says. “We’ve integrated our nanowire nanoscale heterostructure into a functional system that mimics the integration in chloroplasts and provides a conceptual blueprint for better solar-to-fuel conversion efficiencies in the future.”
When sunlight is absorbed by pigment molecules in a chloroplast, an energized electron is generated that moves from molecule to molecule through a transport chain until ultimately it drives the conversion of carbon dioxide into carbohydrate sugars. This electron transport chain is called a “Z-scheme” because the pattern of movement resembles the letter Z on its side. Yang and his colleagues also use a Z-scheme in their system only they deploy two Earth abundant and stable semiconductors – silicon and titanium oxide – loaded with co-catalysts and with an ohmic contact inserted between them. Silicon was used for the hydrogen-generating photocathode and titanium oxide for the oxygen-generating photoanode. The tree-like architecture was used to maximize the system’s performance. Like trees in a real forest, the dense arrays of artificial nanowire trees suppress sunlight reflection and provide more surface area for fuel producing reactions.
“Upon illumination photo-excited electron−hole pairs are generated in silicon and titanium oxide, which absorb different regions of the solar spectrum,” Yang says. “The photo-generated electrons in the silicon nanowires migrate to the surface and reduce protons to generate hydrogen while the photo-generated holes in the titanium oxide nanowires oxidize water to evolve oxygen molecules. The majority charge carriers from both semiconductors recombine at the ohmic contact, completing the relay of the Z-scheme, similar to that of natural photosynthesis.”
Under simulated sunlight, this integrated nanowire-based artificial photosynthesis system achieved a 0.12-percent solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency. Although comparable to some natural photosynthetic conversion efficiencies, this rate will have to be substantially improved for commercial use. [emphasis mine] However, the modular design of this system allows for newly discovered individual components to be readily incorporated to improve its performance. For example, Yang notes that the photocurrent output from the system’s silicon cathodes and titanium oxide anodes do not match, and that the lower photocurrent output from the anodes is limiting the system’s overall performance.
“We have some good ideas to develop stable photoanodes with better performance than titanium oxide,” Yang says. “We’re confident that we will be able to replace titanium oxide anodes in the near future and push the energy conversion efficiency up into single digit percentages.”
Now I can discuss my confusion, which stems from my May 24, 2013 posting about work done at the Argonne National Laboratory,
… Researchers still have a long way to go before they will be able to create devices that match the light harvesting efficiency of a plant.
One reason for this shortcoming, Tiede [Argonne biochemist David Tiede] explained, is that artificial photosynthesis experiments have not been able to replicate the molecular matrix that contains the chromophores. “The level that we are at with artificial photosynthesis is that we can make the pigments and stick them together, but we cannot duplicate any of the external environment,” he said. “The next step is to build in this framework, and then these kinds of quantum effects may become more apparent.”
Because the moment when the quantum effect occurs is so short-lived – less than a trillionth of a second – scientists will have a hard time ascertaining biological and physical rationales for their existence in the first place. [emphasis mine]
It’s not clear to me whether or not the folks at the Berkeley Lab bypassed the ‘problem’ described by Tiede or solved it to achieve solar-to-fuel conversion rates comparable to natural photosynthesis conversions. As I noted, too much information/not enough knowledge.
“Spring is like a perhaps hand,” wrote the poet E. E. Cummings: “carefully / moving a perhaps / fraction of flower here placing / an inch of air there… / without breaking anything.”
This was written to celebrate the publication of a paper by Wim L. Noorduin and others, from the press release (Note: Links have been removed),
By simply manipulating chemical gradients in a beaker of fluid, Wim L. Noorduin, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and lead author of a paper appearing on the cover of the May 17 issue of Science, has found that he can control the growth behavior of these crystals to create precisely tailored structures.
“For at least 200 years, people have been intrigued by how complex shapes could have evolved in nature. This work helps to demonstrate what’s possible just through environmental, chemical changes,” says Noorduin.
The precipitation of the crystals depends on a reaction of compounds that are diffusing through a liquid solution. The crystals grow toward or away from certain chemical gradients as the pH of the reaction shifts back and forth. The conditions of the reaction dictate whether the structure resembles broad, radiating leaves, a thin stem, or a rosette of petals.
Replicating this type of effect in the laboratory was a matter of identifying a suitable chemical reaction and testing, again and again, how variables like the pH, temperature, and exposure to air might affect the nanoscale structures.
The project fits right in with the work of Joanna Aizenberg, an expert in biologically inspired materials science, biomineralization, and self-assembly, and principal investigator for this research.
Aizenberg is the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science at Harvard SEAS, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the Harvard Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and a Core Faculty Member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.
Here are some details about how the scientists created their ‘flowers, from the press release,
To create the flower structures, Noorduin and his colleagues dissolve barium chloride (a salt) and sodium silicate (also known as waterglass) into a beaker of water. Carbon dioxide from air naturally dissolves in the water, setting off a reaction which precipitates barium carbonate crystals. As a byproduct, it also lowers the pH of the solution immediately surrounding the crystals, which then triggers a reaction with the dissolved waterglass. This second reaction adds a layer of silica to the growing structures, uses up the acid from the solution, and allows the formation of barium carbonate crystals to continue.
“You can really collaborate with the self-assembly process,” says Noorduin. “The precipitation happens spontaneously, but if you want to change something then you can just manipulate the conditions of the reaction and sculpt the forms while they’re growing.”
Increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide, for instance, helps to create ‘broad-leafed’ structures. Reversing the pH gradient at the right moment can create curved, ruffled structures.
Noorduin and his colleagues have grown the crystals on glass slides and metal blades; they’ve even grown a field of flowers in front of President Lincoln’s seat on a one-cent coin.
“When you look through the electron microscope, it really feels a bit like you’re diving in the ocean, seeing huge fields of coral and sponges,” describes Noorduin. “Sometimes I forget to take images because it’s so nice to explore.”
Scientists try to understand how to initiate and control the growth of nanomaterials and are exploring different ways to design and build up nanostructures with fine control over shapes. In nature, many organic forms grow bilaterally, that is, symmetrically in two distinct directions. An international team of researchers from the University of Vienna (Austria), the University of Surrey (UK) and the IFW Dresden (Germany) have now achieved such a bilateral formation of inorganic nanomaterials in a controlled environment by implementing a new method.
The scientists pressurized a gas consisting of carbon and iron atoms at an elevated temperature until they observed two arms of carbon atoms spontaneously started growing out of an iron core. When the iron core was small enough, the two carbon arms started spiraling at their ends so that the whole nanostructure bore a striking resemblance with a twirled moustache. [emphasis mine] “The encouraging insights we gained from our experiments provide a very good starting point for the controlled production of extraordinary new materials with designed nanostructures”, expects Dr. Hidetsugu Shiozawa, leading author of the scientific publication and researcher at the Faculty of Physics at the University of Vienna.
I’ll get back to the twirled moustache in a moment. In the meantime, here’s a citation for and a link to the researchers’ paper,
The paper is open access, which means finding this illustration (the one I think shows the twirling most clearly) was easy,
Figure 2: Spiralling and kinked bicones produced by a hodographic method using parameters (Δϕ, Δθ, and ΔTi) as a function of the cone length. [downloaded from http://www.nature.com/srep/2013/130514/srep01840/full/srep01840.html]
I believe the imagery associated with twirling moustaches, i.e., the villain in a silent movie cackling and twirling his moustaches as he watches over the heroine he’s tied the train tracks await the steaming train headed their way, is well known. Apparently, the trope was not as popular as most of us imagine. I found a fabulous website, The Bioscope; Formerly reporting on the world of early and silent cinema, which tells all in a Nov. 25, 2010 essay,
It’s a mocking idea of a silent film, the kind of silent film that was never made. All those know [who?] don’t know silent films know one thing about them – that they featured evil villains who twirled their moustaches then tied a hapless female to the railway track. And all those who do know silent films know that such scenes were hackneyed even before films were invented, and the few films that did show them did so as parody.
It’s an issue that comes up time and time again, so let’s try and pin down the historical truth. The idea of an entertainment where someone is tied to a railway track and is rescued in the nick of time certainly predates cinema. The entertainment that put the idea into the popular imagination was an 1867 stage melodrama written by American playwright and theatre manager Augustin Daly entitled Under the Gaslight which featured a man tried to railway tracks who was rescued by a woman before he could be run over by the oncoming train (Victorian theatre revelled in such stage spectaculars).
There’s lots more to the essay along with some great stills and this very charming video animation that manages to poke fun at the trope and the modern UK rail system,
Writing in Nature, a large international team led Dr Roman Gorbachev from The University of Manchester shows that, when graphene placed on top of insulating boron nitride, or ‘white graphene’, the electronic properties of graphene change dramatically revealing a pattern resembling a butterfly.
The pattern is referred to as the elusive Hofstadter butterfly that has been known in theory for many decades but never before observed in experiments.
More of the science needs to be explained before moving on with the ‘butterflies’ (from the news release),
One of the most remarkable properties of graphene is its high conductivity – thousands of times higher than copper. This is due to a very special pattern created by electrons that carry electricity in graphene. The carriers are called Dirac fermions and mimic massless relativistic particles called neutrinos, studies of which usually require huge facilities such as at CERN. The possibility to address similar physics in a desk-top experiment is one of the most renowned features of graphene.
Now the Manchester scientists have found a way to create multiple clones of Dirac fermions. Graphene is placed on top of boron nitride so that graphene’s electrons can ‘feel’ individual boron and nitrogen atoms. Moving along this atomic ‘washboard’, electrons rearrange themselves once again producing multiple copies of the original Dirac fermions.
Here’s where the butterflies appear (from the news release),
The researchers can create even more clones by applying a magnetic field. The clones produce an intricate pattern; the Hofstadter butterfly. It was first predicted by mathematician Douglas Hofstadter in 1976 and, despite many dedicated experimental efforts, no more than a blurred glimpse was reported before.
In addition to the described fundamental interest, the Manchester study proves that it is possible to modify properties of atomically-thin materials by placing them on top of each other. This can be useful, for example, for graphene applications such as ultra-fast photodetectors and transistors, providing a way to tweak its incredible properties.
Coincidentally, another team has also observed the Hofstadter butterfly on a graphene substrate. From the May 16, 2013 news item on Azonano,
Two research teams at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) broke through a nearly 40-year barrier recently when they observed a never-before-seen energy pattern.
“The observation of the ‘Hofstadter butterfly’ marks a real landmark in condensed matter physics and high magnetic field research,” said Greg Boebinger, director of the MagLab. “It opens a new experimental direction in materials research.”
This groundbreaking research demanded the ability to measure samples of materials at very low temperatures and very high magnetic fields, up to 35 tesla. Both of those conditions are available at the MagLab, making it an international destination for scientific exploration.
The unique periodic structure used to observe the butterfly pattern was composed of boron nitride (BN) and graphene.
One research team was led by Columbia University’s Philip Kim and included researchers from City University of New York, the University of Central Florida, Tohoku University and the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan. The team’s work will be published today in the Advanced Online Publication of the journal Nature. Similar results were discovered at the MagLab by a group led by Pablo Jarillo-Herrero and Raymond Ashoori at MIT, as well as scientists from Tohoku University and the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan. Their work is expected to be published soon.
For those who just can’t get enough graphene butterflies here are citations for and links to both recently published papers (the Jarillo-Herrero/Ashoori team will be publishing their work soon).
Cloning of Dirac fermions in graphene superlattices by L. A. Ponomarenko, R. V. Gorbachev, G. L. Yu,D. C. Elias, R. Jalil, A. A. Patel, A. Mishchenko, A. S. Mayorov, C. R. Woods, J. R. Wallbank, M. Mucha-Kruczynski, B. A. Piot, M. Potemski, I. V. Grigorieva, K. S. Novoselov, F. Guinea, V. I. Fal’ko & A. K. Geim. Nature doi:10.1038/nature12187 Published online
Welcome to the website for declaring substances with nanoparticle status: “r-nano”. On these pages you can declare the substances with nanoparticle status that you produce, import, distribute, or formulate, as required by Articles L. 523-1 to L. 523-5 of the French Environmental Code.
At the deadline of 30 April 2013, 457 companies have made 1991 declarations. These initial results shows a satisfactory mobilization of stakeholders.
The Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, considering the diversity of actors covered by the declaration requirement, and at the request of several industries, decided, for the first reporting year, to grant two more months to complete the declarations. Thereby, exceptionally, new declarations can be initiated and submitted until 30 June 2013.
There’s a little more explanation of the site’s raison d’être on the Help/FAQs page,
Q : 1/ Why is there a system for declaring substances with nanoparticle status ?
Because of the advantages offered by their specific properties, substances with nanoparticle status are used in a number of sectors: foodstuffs, aeronautics, cosmetics, alternative energies, pneumatics, health, sport and others. The properties in question are such as to create potential hazards for humans and the environment. As emphasised in the European Commission Communication of 3 October 2012, a substance can present different hazards depending on whether it has bulk status or nanoparticle status.
For a better understanding of the issues, it seems necessary to acquire an improved knowledge of the market, including the substances marketed in France, their uses, the sectors in which they are used, the quantities involved, etc.
With the help of this information, it will be possible to estimate exposures more accurately and produce risk assessments for these substances. It is for this purpose that France has decided to introduce mandatory declaration of substances with nanoparticle status, whether in that form, in mixtures or within certain materials.
Q : 2/ How must declarations be made? Is there a special form ?
A web site has been set up on which the various companies concerned can each create an account and submit their declarations. The address of the declaration web site is www.r-nano.fr
Regarding declarations for which applicants wish to make use of the waiver concerning the availability of information to the public provided for activities related to national defence, the declaration will first be made online and then finalised on paper.
Q : 3/ At what date does the system come into force ?
The system comes into force on 1 January 2013: the first declarations will concern substances in nanoparticle status produced, imported and/or distributed during 2012.
Q : 5/ If a substance with nanoparticle status is indicated on the packaging (case of biocides and cosmetics in 2013), is it still necessary to submit a declaration ?
Yes: the labelling and the declaration system do not have the same purpose.
Q : 6/ Is France the only country in Europe with this kind of declaration system ?
Yes, though Italy, Belgium and Denmark are considering the introduction of similar measures.
Q : 7/ Which players are concerned by the declaration ? (UPDATED)
All national participants in the distribution chain in France covered by the requirement to declare substances with nanoparticle status must complete a declaration if they produce, import into France from another Member State of the European Union or from any other country or distribute any substance, mixture or “article” (article, see Question 18) covered by the definitions laid down in Article R. 523-12 and in quantities exceeding 100 grams/year and per substance.
Q : 38/ How will the information supplied be used ?
The information supplied for declarations enables the authorities to estimate the flows of substances with nanoparticle status in France, which will be a “first” for Europe. The knowledge acquired concerning substances and their uses, the production and usage sectors, or the quantities sold, will provide insight into the dissemination of these substances and their actual use.
To help them undertake health risk assessments, authorities will be allowed to request supplementary information from declarers, when available, especially concerning toxicological and ecotoxicological data, as well as data concerning exposure.
I have two comments. First, there are over 40 questions in the FAQs but none concern the issue of how this requirement will be enforced. Second, I gather that after abysmal results elsewhere the French concluded that voluntary reporting does not work.
It’s good to see at least [one*] government making an attempt to gather the information openly. The Canadian scheme was managed in a more clandestine fashion. I finally tracked down some information about it in an OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) document and featured some of the data from the Canadian nanomaterial reporting scheme (as reported to the OECD) in my April 12, 2010 posting.
No event, document, or specific announcement appears to have occasioned the May 10, 2013 news item on Nanowerk about Europe’s nanotechnology roadmap (Note: A link was removed),
Nanotechnology is opening the way to a new industrial revolution. From ‘individualised’ medical treatments tailored for each patient to new, environmentally-friendly energy storage and generation systems, nanotechnology is bringing significant advances. Exciting new futures await those businesses able to get ahead in the race to turn this wealth of promise into commercial success. But in a field which requires a high degree of coordinated effort involving many different stakeholder groups, including researchers, policymakers and commercial players across a wide variety of industrial sectors, it has perhaps been inevitable that fragmentation, disconnectedness and duplication have stood in the way.
NANOfutures was set up in 2010 to tackle exactly this problem of fragmentation. Supported by European Union (EU) funding, NANOfutures is a European Technology and Innovation Platform (ETIP) bringing together industry, research institutions and universities, NGOs [nongovernmental organizations], financial institutions, civil society and policymakers at regional, national and European levels. Acting as a kind of ‘nano-hub’ for Europe, NANOfutures is dedicated to fostering a shared vision and strategy on the future of nanotechnology.
Reflecting its objective of achieving a truly cross-sectoral approach, breaking out of individual industry silos and addressing the major nanotech issues which are common to all sectors, NANOfutures set up a steering committee which included representatives from 11 European Technology Platforms (ETPs) – sector-specific networks of industry and academia – including those for textiles, nanomedicine, construction and transportation. Chaired by Professor Paolo Matteazzi of Italian specialist nanomaterials company MBN Nanomaterialia, the committee also included ten nanotechnology experts, each one chairing a NANOfutures working group on cross-sectoral topics such as safety, standardisation, regulation, technology transfer and innovative financing.
This approach allowed NANOfutures to identify key aspects of nanotechnology and its exploitation in which all players – from researcher to politician, financier, commercial developer, regulator or end-user – were involved and therefore had common interests.
One of the major successes achieved by the two-year project was securing an agreement by all 11 ETPs on a set of research and innovation themes for the next decade. “The ETPs agreed to focus their private efforts, and call for increasing public efforts, on such themes in order to bring European nano-enabled products to successful commercialisation, with benefits for the grand challenges of our time such as climate change, affordable and effective medicine, green mobility and manufacturing,” says the project’s coordinator, Margherita Cioffi of Italian engineering consultancy D’Appolonia.
The most tangible result of this, and the key outcome from NANOfutures, was the development and publication of a ‘Research and Industrial Roadmap’ setting out, in Ms Cioffi’s words, “a pathway up to 2020 which will enable European industry and researchers to deliver and successfully commercialise sustainable and safe nano-enabled products.” Divided into seven separate thematic areas, or ‘value-chains’, the roadmap covers European priorities from materials research to product design, manufacturing, assembly, use and disposal. It describes both short- and longer-term actions with the aim of providing a practical guide for EC and Member State governments, research centres and industry, as well as standardisation and regulation bodies.
Other benefits directly resulting from the project, Ms Cioffi adds, were the sharing of safety best practices, the creation of partnerships to promote product development, training and other services, and the bringing together of relevant SME businesses with potential users and investors during specially organised Technology Transfer workshops.
Since it is not a product in itself, but a method with an enormous range of potential applications, nanotechnology naturally reaches into a diverse range of human activities. Paradoxically, almost, this very richness and universality of its benefits leads to a fragmentation of effort which acts as a barrier to its efficient exploitation. By bringing together the various stakeholders to create a unified, strategic approach, replacing fragmentation and duplication with a focus on areas of agreed priority and common interest, NANOfutures has played an invaluable role in promoting the rapid development of nanotechnology – with its twin benefits of societal usefulness and enhanced European competitiveness.
Project acronym: NANOFUTURES
Participants: Italy (Coordinator), Belgium, Spain
Project FP7 266789
Total costs: €1 171 011
EU contribution: €999 980
Duration: October 2010 – September 2012
The NANOfutures website provides more resources including a list of documents/deliverables featuring a 148 pp. July 2012 roadmap. Unfortunately, I cannot provide a direct link to the roadmap or the documents page, for that matter.
At this point, the site is probably most valuable for its links to other project as a host of resources are organized under buttons (the left side of the home page) titled with Communication Projects, Finance Projects, Safety Projects, etc.
I’ve written about Cientifica and its reports before including their previous ‘smart’ textiles report (Nanotechnologies for Textile Markets published in April 2012; scroll down about 1/2 way) in (coincidentally) a May 15, 2012 posting about textiles and nanotechnology.
Expanded and revised for 2013, over 264 pages “Smart Textiles and Nanotechnologies: Applications Technologies and Markets” looks at the technologies involved, the companies applying them, and the impact on sectors including apparel, home, military, technical and medical textiles.
Detailed market figures are given from 2012-2022, along with an analysis of the key opportunities, illustrated with 123 figures and 14 tables.
With over a billion Bluetooth enabled devices on the market, ranging from smartphones to set top boxes, and new technologies such as energy scavenging or piezoelectric energy generation being made possible by the use of nanotechnologies , there are opportunities for the textile industry in new markets ranging from consumer electronics to medical diagnostics.
This report provides an in-depth presentation of recent developments in nanotechnology applied to smart textiles and provides market opportunities to 2022. The market is segmented by
Clothing & Apparel
Technical and Smart Textiles
Companies mentioned in this report include:
Advanced Nano Products, Inc.AiQ Smart Clothing Inc.
Balton Sp. Z.o.o
Beijing ChamGo Nano-Tech CoBelt Tech
BigSky Technologies LLC
Cyanine Technologies srlDaniel Hechter,
Duke University, USA
DuPont Speciality ChemicalsDuro Textiles
Forster Rohner AG
Kao Corp. Japan
Kennedy & Violich ArchitectureKing’s Metal Fiber Technologies
Levi StrauusLG Chem
Lockheed Martin Corp
Marks & SpencerMC10
Nano Phase Technologies Corporation (NTC)
Piedmont Chemical Industries, Inc
Polo Ralph LaurenPolar Elektro
SparkFunSphelar Power Corp.
Takeda Chemical Industries
Teijin Fibres Ltd
Texnology Nano Textile (China), Ltd.Tex-Ray
United Textile Mills
Unexpectedly, I noticed a couple of Canadian entries in the company list: Arc’teryx and Canada Goose.
Cientifica was founded as CMP Cientifica in Madrid in 1997 in order to meet the advanced analytical needs of the European Space Agency.
By 2000 the company was already meeting the increasing demand for information on emerging technologies to both the business and academic communities. Cientifica also launched Europe’s largest nanotechnology conference; TNT 2000, the world’s first conference dealing with investing in nanotechnologies; I2Nano, and the worlds first weekly information source dedicated to Nanotechnology; TNT Weekly.
In 2002 Cientifica published the first edition of ‘The Nanotechnology Opportunity Report’, described by NASA as “the defining report in the field of nanotechnology.”
Cientifica is distinct from all other companies providing consulting and information services. It combines knowledge and expertise in both the science and business of emerging technologies, with nearly 20 years’ experience in the field of science and research, and nearly 10 years’ providing information on the business and science of emerging technologies. Cientifica employees are all highly experienced technical project managers and familiar not only with the commercialization of technology but also with the technology transfer of science from the laboratory to the marketplace.
The cost of this latest ‘smart’ textiles report is: GBP 1499.00 / USD 2349.00.
Yet again the lowly inkjet printer features in a very high tech project. This time, the printer has been used to print a catalyst on paper that is then turned into conductive graphite. From the May 15, 2013 news item on ScienceDaily,
… Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam-Golm have created targeted conductive structures on paper using a method that is quite simple: with a conventional inkjet printer, they printed a catalyst on a sheet of paper and then heated it. The printed areas on the paper were thereby converted into conductive graphite. Being an inexpensive, light and flexible raw material, paper is therefore highly suitable for electronic components in everyday objects.
Cost-efficient and flexible microchips are opening up applications in the electronics sector for which silicon chips are too expensive or difficult to make, and for which RFID chips, now available on a widespread basis, simply do not suffice: clothes, for instance, that monitor bodily functions, flexible screens, or labels that give more information about a product then can be printed on the packaging.
Although many scientists around the world are successfully developing flexible chips, they have been forced to almost always rely on plastics as the carrier and, in some cases, use polymers and other organic molecules as conductive components. These materials may meet many requirements; however, they are all, without exception, sensitive to heat. “Their processing cannot be integrated into the usual production of electronics, because temperatures in production can reach over 400 degrees Celsius,” says Cristina Giordano, who leads a working group at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and as now come up with an alternative solution.
Carbon electronics, which Giordano and her colleagues create from paper, can withstand temperatures of around 800 degrees Celsius during production in an oxygen-free environment, and would not have a negative impact on established processes. And that is not the only trump card of paper-based electronics. The light and inexpensive material can be processed very easily, even into three-dimensional conductive structures.
Here’s how the scientists achieved their conductive ‘paper’,
The Potsdam-based researchers convert the cellulose of the paper into graphite with iron nitrate serving as the catalyst. “Using a commercial inkjet printer, we print a solution of the catalyst in a fine pattern on a sheet of paper,” says Stefan Glatzel, who is responsible for bringing electronics to paper in his doctoral thesis. If the researchers then heat the sheets that were printed with a catalyst to 800 degrees Celsius in a nitrogen atmosphere, the cellulose will continue to release water until all that remains is pure carbon. Whereas an electrically conducting mixture of regularly structured carbon sheets of graphite and iron carbide forms in the printed areas, the non-printed areas are left behind as carbon without a regular structure, and they are less conductive.
That actual, precisely formed conducting paths are created in this way was demonstrated by the researchers in a simple experiment: First, they printed the catalyst on a sheet of paper in the pattern of Minerva, the subtle symbol of the Max Planck Society. The printed pattern was then converted into graphite. They then used the graphite Minerva as a cathode, which was electrolytically coated with copper. The metal was only deposited on the lines sketched by the printer.
My personal favourite is the scientists’ origami crane experiment,
In another experiment, the team in Potsdam demonstrated how three-dimensional, conductive structures can be created using their method. For this experiment, the team folded a sheet of paper into an origami crane. This was then immersed in the catalyst and baked into graphite. “The three-dimensional form was completely retained, but consisted entirely of conductive carbon after the process,” says Stefan Glatzel. He demonstrated this again by electrolytically coating the origami bird with copper. The entire crane subsequently had a copper sheen.
Interested parties can find more information at ScienceDaily (May 15, 2013 news item) or here at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces website. For the truly keen, here’s a link to and a citation for the published study,
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, recently announced a series of 32 grants for Natural Resources Canada’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative. From the May 3, 2013 announcement,
To this end, on May 3, 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced support of more than $82 million through Natural Resources Canada’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII) for 55 innovative projects across Canada. Of these, 15 will be pre-commercialization demonstration projects to test the feasibility of various technologies, and 40 will be research and development projects to address knowledge gaps and bring technologies from the conceptual stage to the ready-to-be-tested stage of development.
For all projects, funding provided by NRCan will be allocated from the date of signature of contribution agreements until March 31, 2016, the project end date.
Since 2006, the Government of Canada has taken action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a more sustainable environment through more than $10 billion in investments in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies and the production of cleaner energy and cleaner fuels.
High Energy Density Energy Storage for Automotive Applications Lead Proponent: University of Waterloo Location: Waterloo, Ontario Funding: $1,870,000
Today’s electric vehicles are limited by driving range and cost, both of which greatly depend on the electric vehicle’s battery pack. The objective of this project is to develop advanced energy materials based on nanotechnology concepts for high energy density storage.
Led by Professor Linda Nazar of the Faculty of Science and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Waterloo, the study will examine completely new approaches to materials and chemical components of batteries that could result in more powerful, and longer-lasting batteries for hybrid electric or electric cars.
“The funding from Natural Resources Canada allows us to expand our electrochemical energy storage laboratory here at Waterloo to explore beyond lithium-ion batteries using nanotechnology and completely different approaches to battery chemistry,” said Professor Nazar, a Canada Research Chair in Solid State Energy Materials. “This research is high-risk, but it has the potential to create batteries with much greater storage capacity and at lower costs.”
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is providing $1.8 million over four years to Professor Nazar for her work titled High Energy Density Storage for Automotive Applications. Partnerships on the project include Hydro-Québec, the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning, and BASF (SE).
For anyone who’s interested in Natural Resources Canada’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII), here’s the website.