SingNano - Singapore Nanotechnology Network


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Editor: Jing JIANG

Advisor: Dr Lerwen LIU


National University of Singapore (NUS) 
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP)
Institute of Microelectronics (IME)
Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)
Pasture Pharma Singapore
Agilent Technologies
National Research Foundation (NRF)
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Interested members can submit papers /news on the following to us by 23-April-2010:
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Upcoming Events to Be Circulated 
Issue: 5 Feburary 2010
SingNano Logo-1

Greetings and Happy Lunar New Year!


Lerwen photoI would like to thank you for your continuous support of SingNano, a network platform for promoting collaborations in the Singapore nanotechnology community. It has been very encouraging to see increasing interest in our activities including SingNano seminars, participation in international trade shows, and newsletters over the past 2 years.


Over the past three years being in Singapore working with the nanotech community here, although Singapore has fantastic state of the art R&D facilities and reasonably good R&D funding schemes, I feel there is a strong need to enhance better information flow and collaboration among different research groups and with industries. I hope SingNano has been helpful to you and together we will make it better.


I look forward to hearing from you on how we shall improve SingNano activities and working closer with you in 2010.




Dr Lerwen LIU 

Managing Director

NanoGlobe Pte Ltd

Insightful Seminar of How to Do Business in Japan by Finland's Tekes FinNano Programme
(Ms. Yesie L. BRAMA, NanoGlobe)
FinlandIt is well known that Japanese culture is very strong in affecting the way of life in Japan, including the way of doing business. With its unique culture, Japanese market may present some challenges to foreign companies, if they do not pay attention in understanding how the Japanese behaves and conducts business. An insightful seminar was organized by Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency) FinNano Programme for the Finnish companies to learn more about Japan, Japanese culture, and how to do business in Japan. Two Japanese non-profit organizations were introduced, which can help the foreign companies in setting up their presence in Japan, particularly in Tokyo and Osaka regions. (Read the whole article)
Singapore Promotes Sustainable Society Through Technology Innovation
(Ms. Jing JIANG, NanoGlobe)

NTU-RiceThe Singapore Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Rice University (Rice U) joint symposium on Transformational Information Engineering and Science (TIES) was held on 28-29 January 2010 to inaugurate the launch of bi-national Institute of Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics (ISAI). This symposium covered areas ranging from the emerging field of infodynamics, application of computational science in multi-disciplinary fields, sustainability driven by low energy consumption and highly integrated functional systems enabled by nanotechnology, ICT and biomedical technology, as well as history and policy for science and technology innovation. This article highlights presentations given by distinguished speakers especially on technology innovation policy, nanotechnology and virtual hospitals. (Read the whole article)

NanoGlobe and TiE Partner to Promote Nanotechnology Business and Investment in Singapore and the Region
TiEAnother effort to promote nanotechnology business in Singapore was carried out by The Indus Enterpreneurs (TiE) Singapore in partnership with NanoGlobe through a breakfast seminar which brought together investors, entrepreneurs, government and academic representatives to discuss the latest nanotechnology commercialization trends and challenges, investment strategy and emerging opportunities. In this article, we share with you the seminar discussion and some insights on Singapore nanotechnology commercialization advantages and challenges. (Read the whole article)
Singapore Going For Green Products Using Photocatalytic Technologies - Highlights of the SIMTech/SPRING Joint Seminar
(Ms. Jing JIANG, NanoGlobe) 
SIMTechA half-day SIMTech/SPRING joint seminar is held on 08 January 2010 to discuss about the latest development of nano-TiO2 based photo-catalytic technology. 6 invited speakers as well as panel members came to this seminar to share their insights on the new discoveries, commercialization activities, and international standardization developments. Dr Loh Wah Sing, Convenor of this joint seminar gave an introduction to the photo-catalytic technology and educated the participants with the existing international & national standards for photo-catalysis as well as Singapore's involvement in the ISO activities for

TiO2 based photo-catalytic products. (Read the whole article)


Nanotechnology and A*STAR Printable Electronics Research Workshop
(Ms. Yesie L. BRAMA, NanoGlobe)
printable electronicsPrintable electronics, which is a relatively new field for producing thin, flexible and cheap electronic devices, is on the rise with many research activities devoted to develop further new materials, new processes, and device fabrication and integration. Singapore research funding agency A*STAR launched in 2006 the Polymer and Molecular Electronics and Devices (PMED) aiming to build competencies in plastic electronics and stimulate printed electronics industry development in Singapore. Printable electronics workshop organized by the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) of A*STAR discussed some of the latest research progress in organic electronics that is part of PMED's projects, including promising dielectric materials for organic thin film transistors and new low bandgap polymers for organic photovoltaics. In addition, some preparations required for commercialization of printable electronics especially in large scale were presented and elaborated.(Read the whole article)  
Exclusive Interview
CheapTubes Inc. Enables Low Cost High Quality Nano Carbon Materials
(Ms. Yesie L. BRAMA, NanoGlobe)
Cheaptube1CheapTubes Inc. is paving the way for wider use and commercialization of nano carbon materials by providing them affordably to those in need. Being a leading distributor in carbon nanotube (CNT) worldwide, CheapTubes ventures further to applications development activities, such as development of conductive nanotubes composite, graphitization and functionalization of CNTs, conductive ink, and single layer graphene film for transparent conductive film for ITO replacement. In this article, we share our insights on the activities of CheapTubes based on our interview with its Founder and Director, Mike Foley. (Read the Whole Article)
Indonesian Researchers Developing Bio-Nanocomposite from Cellulose Fibers
(Ms. Yesie L. BRAMA, NanoGlobe) 
cheaptube-1Indonesia, blessed with abundant natural resources, is on its way creating new materials that are natural and more environmentally friendly for eco-friendly applications including bio-automobile, organic electronics, and structural building materials. Utilizing cellulose nanofibers, researchers in Indonesia are developing bio-nanocomposite materials that are flexible, transparent, mechanically strong and thermally stable. This research is in collaboration with a Japanese university and automobile industry and targets at automobile body weight and construction materials application. Attempting to preserve nature, laminated veneer lumber (LVL) has been developed from old rubber tree whose strength is equivalent to second class lumber such as teakwood. Prof Dr Bambang Subiyanto, Director of Center for Innovation of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), gave us more insights about his on-going projects and center's activities. (Read the Whole Article)
China Suzhou Biobay - Young and Progressive Nano-bio Incubator
(Ms. Jing JIANG, NanoGlobe) 
biobaySuzhou Biobay is the most progressive bio-nano incubator in China. It provides complimentary business development services, start-up funding, rental and manpower subsidy and infrastructure support to its incubatees. It has incubated over 150 high-tech enterprises since it is luanched in June 2007, including 25 nano-tech start-ups. Biobay also assists bio & nano enterprises to raise funds through the Suzhou Industry Park (SIP) awards, government funds and venture capitals. In addition, Biobay facilitates collaboration between the high-tech enterprises and Suzhou Institute of Nanotechnology and Nano-Bionics (SINANO) located in Biobay and regional manufacturing industries. (Read the Whole Article)
Si Nanowires for Label-Free Electrical Detection of Cardiac Biomarkers
(Dr Guojun ZHANG's team, contributed by IME) 
The configuration of the Si nanowires (SiNWs) as field effect transistors (FET) is central to generating a measurable electrical response when specific biochemical reactions occur on the nanowire surfaces. The inherent geometry of the Si nanowires confer high surface area to volume ratio, thereby imparting sensitivity to the detection. By integrating these Si nanowires into an array, multiplexing capability can be realized which allows for more than one analyte to be detected simultaneously with appropriate modification of the individual nanowire surface. Functionalization of the nanowire surface coupled with biomolecular moieties induces highly specific analyte recognition. In addition to the desirable attributes mentioned, the rapid response of electrical measurements makes Si nanowires highly suitable for molecular diagnostics and point-of-care applications in a clinical setting.
    Figure 1 shows a schematic diagram of a SiNW FET biosensor. The antibody receptors attached on the nanowire surface provide highly specific recognition of the targeted cardiac protein biomarker. When specific antibody-antigen interactions occur on the nanowire surface, a measurable electrical response is generated.
    Recently, researchers at A*STAR's Institute of Microelectronics (IME) have developed a Si-based integrated device to test for specific cardiac biomarkers in blood. This Si-based integrated device is a label-free [1] technology that makes use of semiconducting Si nanowires as biosensors. The technology and processes used for the fabrication of the Si nanowire sensor device have also yielded two patents to date.
    The Si nanowires used in the integrated device are fabricated with IME's proprietary top-down lithographic approach. This unique "top-down" procedure allows for the mass production of Si nanowire devices as it is compatible with established CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) lithographic manufacturing technologies.
   Chemical modification of the Si nanowire surface allows binding of antigens to antibodies. Treatment procedure of the Si nanowire surfaces is illustrated in Figure 2.
    The Si nanowire surface is first treated with 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES) to generate amine groups. Antibody is then immobilized on the surface via a bifunctional linker, glutaraldehyde. To prevent nonspecific binding of proteins in the detection step, the unreacted aldehydic groups on the SiNW surface are passivated by ethanolamine. Finally, the specific cardiac biomarker is recognized by the immobilized antibody, whereas the non-specific biomarkers are not bound.
    The first demonstration of the IME's Si-based integrated device revealed impressive sensitivity and speed as it is able to attain a low detection limit of 1 pg/ml for cardiac biomarkers, troponin-T and creatinine kinases, from 2 ml blood in just under 45 minutes. This is significantly faster than conventional testing platform known as ELISA (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay) which takes 6 hours for the analysis.
    In the event of a suspected heart attack, the elevated levels of troponin-T and creatinine kinases alert the doctors that a heart attack has taken place. Hence, a faster diagnostic test for the cardiac biomarkers shave precious minutes in helping doctors arrive at the right diagnosis for timely medical intervention, which would make a world of difference between life and death. 
    IME's proprietary nanotechnology behind the new Si-based integrated device has the potential for other protein-based diagnosis in blood and saliva samples to provide fast, sensitive, accurate and portable solutions to disease screening.
IME-1          IME-2   
                                         Fig. 1                                                                                   Fig. 2   
Fig.1. Schematic diagram of a SiNW field effect transistor (FET) biosensor.
Fig.2. Schematic diagram of chemical process for surface functionalization of one Si nanowire device. The hydroxyl-terminated silicon dioxide surface of the nanowire binds to the ethoxy groups of APTES. Glutaraldehyde converts the amine-terminated surface to an aldehyde-terminated one, which is able to bind with the N-terminus of the antibody. Antibody-antigen interactions cause the biomarker to bind specifically to the antibody on the surface, causing changes in Si nanowire conductance.
In classical biochemical methods, the tagging of a fluorescent chemical to the targeted analyte is used as a means for detection and quantification of the targeted analyte. Label-free technology eliminates the tagging step, which saves time and reagent consumption costs.
Sharper and faster nanodarts kill more bacteria
(Source: Nanowerk; Prof Yuan CHEN's team, contributed by NTU)
A newly published antibacterial activity mechanism study demonstrates how a single walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) kills bacteria by the physical puncture of bacterial membranes. The nanotubes would constantly attack the bacteria in solution, degrading the bacterial cell integrity and causing the cell death. This work elucidates several factors controlling the antibacterial activity of pristine SWCNTs and provides an insight in their toxicity mechanism.
    The fact that the same nanomaterial can be used in a controlled environment for beneficial nanotherapeutic applications but in an uncontrolled environment can give cause for health and environmental concerns. For instance, even if a particular nanoparticle appears not to be toxic by itself, the interaction between this nanoparticle and other common compounds in the human body may cause serious problems to cell functions. On one hand, this effect could be used to great advantage in nanomedicine for killing cancer cells. On the other hand, unfortunately, it is unknown at present whether the same effect could be observed with healthy cells as well.
    With regard to carbon nanotubes, in early toxicological studies, researchers obtained confounding results - in some studies nanotubes were toxic; in others, they were not. The apparent contradictions were actually a result of the materials that the researchers were using, not appreciating that 'carbon nanotubes' are really 'carbon nanotubes + metal + amorphous impurities'. Ignoring these impurities prohibits scientists from fully understanding the material's electronic character, environmental transport, transformation, and ecotoxicology.
    "The potential applications of carbon nanotubes have raised concerns about their potential impacts on human health and environmental safety," Yuan Chen tells Nanowerk. "Various, sometimes even contradictory, toxicity and antibacterial activity mechanisms have been proposed for carbon nanotubes. We are the people who are handling this material everyday and we want to know exactly what the toxicity mechanism is and how can us maximizing their application potential while minimizing their risks."
    Chen, an assistant professor at the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Nanyang Technological University, continues: "When I read previous papers on this topic, I notice that the characterizations of carbon nanotubes in toxicity studies are very limited. However, almost all commercial available carbon nanotube samples are mixtures of many species including metal residues, nanosize catalyst supports, amorphous carbon, carbon nanoparticles, graphite, carbon fibres, single walled carbon nanotubes and multi-walled carbon nanotubes. Without knowing exactly what is in the nanotube samples, the reliability of those previous conclusions remains questionable. This has motivated me to conduct our recent work."
Specifically, Chen's work presents four novel findings:
(1) The team demonstrates that individually dispersed SWCNTs are more toxic than SWCNT aggregates toward four types of bacteria. Previous studies have been using SWCNT aggregates for antibacterial studies. UV-vis-NIR absorption spectroscopy allows researchers to monitor the aggregation of SWCNTs for antibacterial studies.
(2) Controlled experimental results show that inhibiting cell growth and oxidative stress are not the major causes responsible for the death of cells. This clarifies controversies in previous studies.
(3) Using SWCNTs with controllable amounts of metal residues, Chen's team shows that cobalt metal residues up to 1 µg/ml have no detrimental effects on SWCNT antibacterial activity. This also has not been shown before.
(4) Using atomic force microscope measurement conducted in liquid, the team is first to demonstrate that the mechanical properties of bacteria are correlated with their vulnerability toward the physical puncture induced by SWCNTs.   
    The potential applications of this work include two aspects - nanomedical and nanotoxicological. "With regard to therapeutic applications, in fighting bacteria or diseases such as cancer cells, if we want to enhance the antibacterial activity (or toxicity), we should enhance the SWCNT physical punctures by dispersing them individually, increasing concentration, elevating their mobility," says Chen. "If we want to minimize their health and environmental risks, we should keep them immobilized, or even trap them in a soft polymer shell."
    He further points out that precise controls using scalable methods are needed for many potential applications of carbon nanotubes. These areas for controls include the structure of single walled carbon nanotube such as chirality, length, and orientation; selective functionalization on nanotubes with specific locations and functional group density; controlled interaction between nanotube and biological systems.
   "The challenges" says Chen, "are twofold: Precise control at the nanoscale is difficult; and most methods proposed so far are not scalable - they usually only handle tiny amounts of samples in research labs which limits their chances of commercialization."
Chen Yuan-1                      Chen Yuan-2
Fig. SEM images of (left) B. subtilis after incubation with saline solution without SWCNTs and (right) B. subtilis after incubation with SWCNTs. (Images: Dr. Yuan Chen, Nanyang Technological University)
Proton beam writing a competitive three dimensional nano fabrication tool for the 21st century
(Dr Jeroen A. van Kan's team, contributed by NUS)
The rapid growth in nanotechnology coupled with the difficulties in fabricating structures below the 100 nm level has fueled an interest in the development of high-resolution lithographic technologies. Current microelectronics production technologies are essentially two-dimensional, and are well suited for the two-dimensional topologies prevalent in microelectronics. As semiconductor devices are scaled down in size, and coupled with the integration of moving parts on a chip, there is expected to be a rising demand for smaller microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) devices. High aspect ratio (height/width) three-dimensional microstructures with nanometer details are also of growing interest for optoelectronic devices, and biochips using micro- and nano- fluidic channels are considered to have potential in the biomedical field.
    Next-generation lithographies (NGLs) are actively being developed to take over from the highly successful optical lithography. As feature sizes shrink to well below 100 nm, diffraction limits imposed on the further development of optical lithography make it increasingly difficult to remain in step with Moore's law [1], although translating optical lithography to shorter wavelengths (e.g. extreme ultraviolet - EUV - lithography) alleviates such diffraction effects. Development of NGLs has focused on industrial production, and such masked lithographies (where primary radiation transmitting through large-area masks casts a pattern in a resist material) are considered the most efficient means of producing multiple and cheap components. More recently, however, direct-write technologies (where the primary radiation is focused to a small beam and scanned serially across a resist) have been considered as possible alternatives to masked technologies [2]. Although the relatively low fabrication speed of direct-write technologies has been previously considered too slow for mass production, these serial techniques may have some distinct advantages when used to write stamps or molds and combined with nanoimprinting and pattern transfer [3,4].
Direct write nano lithographic techniques e-beam/p-beam writing
The direct-write technologies currently employed for nanofabrication are, in general, based on charged particles that can be focused to nanodimensions, e.g. electrons (e-beam writing) and slow heavy ions (focused ion beam technology - FIB). Both these technologies have been highly successful, and e-beam writers and FIB instruments are available commercially.
    Recent developments in high-energy (MeV) proton focusing in which sub-100 nm levels have been demonstrated [5] have led to the emergence of a new direct-write nanofabrication technique: p-beam writing. Figures 1A, 1B and 1C show examples of high aspect ratio nano structures fabricated in CIBA using p-beam writing in SU-8, PMMA and HSQ resist respectively [6,7]. P-beam writing is essentially an analogue of e-beam writing, but which utilizes the high mass properties of protons compared with electrons. This new nano lithographic technique has been cited in Science "to be a powerful addition to the lithographic toolbag" [8].  In Japan p-beam writing has been put on the road map for super fine fabrication from 2010 onwards.
    The protons in p-beam writing as well as the electrons in e-beam writing will mainly lose their energy through multiple collisions with electrons in the resist material. Since protons are much heavier compared to electrons the protons will follow a practically straight path penetrating the resist material whereas the electrons in electrons in e-beam writing will undergo about 50% energy transfer giving rise to substantial beam spread in the resist material. At the same time in the case of p-beam writing the energy of the induced secondary electrons, also called delta rays, have relatively low energies (< 100 eV), whereas a substantial fraction of the delta rays in e-beam writing will gain high energies up to 10 keV or more. The energy required to alter resist material in such a way that it can be used for lithography is typically less than 10 eV. This tells us that the range of the delta ray in p-beam writing is only 1 or 2 nm whereas the delta rays in e-beam writing could be several microns causing unwanted resist exposure and therefore larger feature sizes [9]. 
    A proton beam with a fixed energy will have, through the nature of the interactions with the electrons in the resist martial a very well defined range in the resist material. This allows the fabrication of complex 3D nano structures as shown in figure 1D where we show a reproduction of the Parthenon in Athens scaled down by a factor of 1,000,0000. 
Next generation proton beam writing
The main reason why p-beam writers are not yet as popular as e-beam writers is the fact that focusing protons down is more difficult compared to focusing electrons. The best e-beam focusing systems can reach sub nm level. It must be noted that in e-beam writing the minimum feature size is not determined by the beam size but by forward scattering (or effective beam broadening) in the photoresist. The achievable minimum resolution is therefore limited by delta ray travel in the photo resist [9].
    Dr Jeroen van Kan in CIBA holds currently the best performance in the world for focusing proton beams down to 40 nm. Through this performance Dr Jeroen van Kan has obtained a grant from the US air force to develop a next generation lens system for proton beam writing. This new focusing system is currently under construction in CIBA and is expected to break the 10 nm barrier. The fact that more than 90% of the delta rays induced by the proton beam travel only 1-2 nm coupled to the fact that the proton beam maintains a practically straight path in the resist will allow the fabrication of sub 10 nm feature sizes in resist material. This will make p-beam writing a serious contender in nano fabrication.
Fig. Examples of proton beam written resist structures
1        Moore, G. E., Electronics (1965) 38, 114
3        Xia, Y., and Whitesides, G. M., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. (1999) 37, 550
4        Pease, R. F., Nature (2002) 417, 802
5        Watt, F., et al., Nucl. Instr. Meth. Phys. Rev. B (2003) 210, 14
6        van Kan, J. A., et al., Appl. Phys. Lett. (2003) 83, 1629
7        van Kan, J. A., et al., Nano Lett. (2006) 6, 579
8        Chin, G., science (2003) V301, 1291
9        Broers A. N. et al.Microelectronic Engineering (1996) 32, 131-142.
Three Dimensional Micro- Nano- Structures for Energy Harvesting
(Dr Zuruzi Abu SAMAH's team, contributed by NYP)
A proposal from the School of Engineering (Manufacturing) at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) has recently been selected by the National Research Foundation (NRF) for funding under the proof of concept scheme (NRF-POC). This project proposes a novel architecture using hybrid micro/nano structures for electrodes used in dye sensitised solar cells. The research team led by Dr Hannah Gardner will develop and manufacture a prototype 3 dimensional electrode system for energy harvesting. 
    The commercial potential of current dye sensitized solar cells is hindered by the low efficiency of such devices.  One reason for this low efficiency is the dye electrode interface.  To work well the electrode system needs a large surface area for dye adsorption and photon conversion as well as a coherent network for accelerated electron transportation.  
   The innovative electrode architecture will provide both features and hence, it is postulated, increase the cell efficiency. A 3-dimensional nanostructured surface will provide a large surface area for dye adsorption whilst a 2-dimensional micro structured network will provide a rapid transport mechanism. 
    Funding from NRF will be for 1 year and up to $250,000. The other team member in the research team is Dr Zuruzi Abu Samah. The above proposal is the only one from a polytechnic selected by NRF in the 3rd NRF-POC call.  Another proposal from NYP has been selected for NRF-POC funding in the first call.
Fig. Schematic diagram of micro/nano structures in electrode

Mask Revolution Using Nanotechnology 
(Mr Lloyd Soong, Pasture Pharma Singapore) 
Pasture Pharma Singapore is the second company in the world to have received FDA approval for their general public use mask against the H1N1 and public health emergency. Intended for use by the general public, where users are not required to do 'Fit Test' as they have been pre-fit tested on hundreds of de-novo users. Such masks can help reduce the user's exposure to airborne germs during wide scale health emergency such as SARS, H5N1 bird flu. Pasture masks were recommended by the US FDA for use during the 2009 outbreak of H1N1.
    The company has also developed and introduced its revolutionary microbes-inhibiting mask called NT-V2. The mask employs nanotechnology to not only filter airborne microorganisms such as H5N1, MRSA, TB and Anthrax-surrogate etc.., NT-V2 actively neutralise and destroy these deadly microorganism, and have been independently tested to work up to 24 hours!
    Pasture Pharma is an example of a homegrown company that has translated cutting-edge technology into clear commercial value and in so doing, also contributed to the betterment of helping to protect the community from harmful airborne diseases. They bring technology from lab to life, and the NT-V2 will revolutionise the way a mask is used in the medical arena.  
Instrumented Indentation Testing with the Agilent Nano Indenter G200
(Lawrence LIU, Agilent Technologies)
The scale of materials and machined components continues to decrease with advances in technology making traditional test systems increasingly more difficult to use for determining mechanical properties. For this reason instrumented indentation testing (IIT) or depth sensing indentation (DSI) testing is becoming the technique of choice for determining mechanical properties of materials on the micro and nano scales. Based off of research by Sneddon, W.C. Oliver and G.M. Pharr published a landmark paper on IIT in 1992, which laid the foundation for much of the ongoing research and development in the fields of materials science and engineering. The instrument used for this seminal paper was the first design of what has now become Agilent's Nano Indenter G200. Instrumented indentation testing is similar to a hardness test in that a rigid probe is pushed into the surface of a material. Traditional hardness tests return one value of hardness at a single penetration depth or force and for most techniques the calculation of this single valued measurement requires the area
of the residual hardness impression to be measured either optically or by microscopy. IIT is an improvement to traditional methods because there is no need to measure the area of the
residual impression. With instrumented indentation testing the area of contact is calculated from the load-displacement history which is recorded continuously throughout the experiment. The two most common measurements made with IIT are Young's modulus, E, and hardness, H. Young's modulus can be thought of as the stiffness of a material or the material's resistance to elastic deformation. In tensile testing Young's modulus is calculated as the slope of the stress-strain curve when the deformation is elastic. Young's modulus is an intrinsic property of a material; the only way to change E is to change the atomic structure of the material. Hardness is directly proportional to yield stress and is generally smaller by a factor of about 3. Hardness is not an intrinsic property due to the fact that hardness can be altered by cold-working, heat treating and other means. Elastic modulus and hardness are important to design engineers because they deliver information on how a material will behave under various stresses and strains. IIT has also been used to calculate complex modulus of polymers, and fracture toughness in ceramics and glasses.
Typical Test Methods
Figure Shows a common force-time history for an IIT test and the numbers for each segment correspond to the descriptions below:
(1) The indenter approaches the test surface until contact is realized. Contact is determined by an increase in stiffness relative to the indenter column's support springs. Approach rate and stiffness increase criteria are usually user specified.
(2) The indenter is driven into the surface until the maximum force or penetration depth is reached. The
rate at which the indenter is pushed into the material and the displacement or force limit is user defined. 
(3)The force applied to the material is held constant for a period of time determined by the user. This dwell time is implemented for materials that experience small amounts of creep. At the end of the dwell time creep should be negligible.
(4) The indenter is withdrawn from the material at a rate equivalent to the loading rate until the force reaches 10% of the peak force.
(5) The force applied to the material is held constant for a user specified period. This test segment is used to determine the drift rate or thermal drift experienced by the material. If the drift rate is small in relation to the overall penetration depth, this segment is not required.
(6) The indenter is withdrawn from the sample.
One of the main benefits of IIT is the calculation of material properties without the need to measure the contact area directly once the indenter is withdrawn from the material. In IIT, as the indenter is pushed into the material both the load and displacement increase and upon unloading the load and displacement decrease as the indenter is withdrawn. Other methods, such as a Rockwell test, also rely on measuring indentation depth but IIT has the distinct advantage that the indentation depth is continuously measured across the full range of loading and unloading. For this reason, a wide range of measurements are available in IIT that cannot be acquired in traditional indentation tests. A wealth of information can be extracted from a single experiment. Although Young's modulus and hardness are the two most sought after values in IIT, many other properties such as complex modulus, stress exponent for creep, fracture toughness, and more can be calculated with a Nano Indenter G200 for nanomechanical characterization of thins films, MEMs devices, polymers, ceramics and  metals.


 Fig. Force-time history for typical IIT test
Seven Technology Incubators to be set up for boosting the growth of high-tech start-ups in Singapore 
(Source: NRF press release)
On 30 December 2009, National Research Foundation (NRF) announced today the selection of seven Incubator Managers under its Technology Incubation Scheme (TIS) to provides mentorship and networking to early stage high tech start-up companies in Singapore. The seven technology incubators and their targeted areas are:
(1) Clearidge Accelerator - biomedical devices, nanotechnology, advanced material sciences and computational algorithms
(2) I2G Tech Accelerator - clear energy, wireless IT, industrial and medical technology
(3) Neoteny Labs - consumer internet, mobile applications and consumer hardware and electronics design
(4) Plug & Play - various high tech startups
(5) Social Slingshot - social media web, next generation mobile, clean technology
(6) Small World Group - clean technology and optical systems
(7) Stream Global - information & communication technologies and interactive digital media
    A budget of S$50 million has been set aside for this purpose.The government will provide up to 85% co-investment in each start-up identified by the incubator managers, up to a maximum of S$500,000 per incubatee.The incubator manager provides the remaining 15% of investment. As an incentive, the Incubator Manager will be given an option upfront to buy out NRF's share in the invested start-ups within 3 years of investment by repaying the capital plus interest. In this way, the government will share the downside risks of the investments, while giving the Incubator Managers the potential upside in successful investments, in return for their efforts in nurturing the start-ups. This would align the interests of all parties towards the success of the start-up companies.
    Two important criterions for NRF to select incubator managers are their passion and commitment to provide mentorship to promising startups and their ability to link start-up companies with customers and investors for subsequent funding."The process of starting a high tech company is fraught with challenges. Systematic guidance from experienced entrepreneurs makes a great difference in helping companies at this early stage start on the right footing and maximizes their chances of success. The Incubator Managers selected under the TIS were those
with wide experience in the high tech business and strong links with angels, venture capital and technology businesses in Singapore and beyond," said panel member and entrepreneur Mr Eddie Chau, Founder and CEO of Brandtology Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based startup."We are excited by this tremendous opportunity to operate in Singapore under the NRF's Technology Incubation Scheme. We see many interesting ideas from entrepreneurs in Singapore that are comparable to
those in innovative hotspots elsewhere in the world. My team and I look forward to working with the many aspiring entrepreneurs here and becoming a part of the entrepreneurial eco-system that is being built up in Singapore." added by Mr Joichi Ito, an established angel investor and serial technopreneur in Silicon Valley, whose submission under Neoteny Labs was one of the 7proposals selected.
    For more information, please read NRF-TIE Press Release.
Industrial Consortium On Nanoimprint (I.C.O.N)
(Dr Hong Yee LOW, contributed by IMRE)
Nanoimprint technology has evolved from a lithography process aimed at the semiconductor industry to a platform technology applicable to a wide range of products.  For many applications, nanoimprinting is used as a direct patterning technique where permanent and functional nanostructures are formed.  Today, nanoimprint technology is no longer a buzz word exclusive to the semiconductor and data storage industries.  It is quickly gaining interest from other diverse sectors such as the optical components and biomedical industries.  However, unlike the well-defined specifications for semiconductor devices and data storage media, there is scarce data on the design rules for many of these emerging applications.
    Over the past two years, we have made the following observations: 1) there are an increasing number of industry players showing interest in nanoimprint technology 2) while these interests come from diverse sectors of the economy, we believe there are certain convergent themes. ICON is being established to identify such themes for cooperative research & development activity at a pre-competitive level with active participation from industrial partners.
    With success from the last three annual industrial symposia on nanoimprint lithography, we are proud to announce the 4th industrial symposium on nanoimprint lithography in conjunction with the launch of ICON.
ICON-4           ICON-2 

Fig. (left) a photograph of polycarbonate film with imprinted nanostructure that mimic butterfly wing scale.  Structural color effect is achieved in engineering polymer without dye additive; (right) Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) image of 75 nm imprinted P3HT ( semiconducting polymer).  The imprinted P3HT increases the power conversion efficiency of an organic solar cell.


Technology lecture on effects of the changing pollution and climate situation on atmospheric corrosion
10:00 - 11:00 AM, 9 March 2010, Auditorium, Level 3, SIMTech Tower Block, 71 Nanyang Drive (638075)
IMRE Seminar on "GaN Based Nanorod Light Emitting Diodes by Selective Area Epitaxy"
9:30 - 10:30 AM, 10 March 2010, Seminar Room 2, Institute of Material Research and Engineering (IMRE)
Russia - Singapore Nanotechnology Business Opportunity Seminar
15:00 -16:00, 12 March 2010, SR1 Auditorium, Institute of Material Research and Engineering (IMRE)
IMRE Seminar on "Sub-10-nm Self-Assembly and Nanopatterning: Harnessing Natural Forces to Tame the Nanoscale"
10:30 - 11:30 AM, 17 March 2010, Seminar Room 2, Institute of Material Research and Engineering (IMRE)
In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) Today and Tomorrow: Applications of Technologies for a Better Personalised Healthcare

24 March 2010, Creation Theatrette, Level 4, Matrix Building, Biopolis
Semicon Singapore

19-21 May 2010, Suntec Singapore, Singapore
2010 International Conference on Wearable and Implantable Body Sensor Networks (BSN 2010)
7-9 June 2010, Biopolis, Singapore
International Conference on Precision Engineering (ICoPE2010) and 13th ICPE
28 - 30 July 2010, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, 392 Havelock Road, Singapore
3rd Conference on Nanostructures (Nanostructure 2010)
10 - 12 March 2010, Kish Island, Iran
First International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials
15-19 March 2010, Vinci Convention Centre, Tours, France
2010 IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging: From Nano to Macro
14 - 17 April 2010, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Hannover Messe
19 - 23 April 2010, Exhibition Grounds, 30521 Hannover, Germany
PHOTON's 8th Solar Silicon Conference
27 April 2010, Stuttgart Germany
2010 China International Micromachine/MEMS Exhibition & New Technology and Industrialization Forum
27 - 29 May 2010, Shanghai, China
Novel Materials and Nanomaterials for Energy Conversion Symposium, 37th North East Regional Meeting (NERM 2010) of the American Chemical Society
2 - 5 June 2010, Potsdam, New York, US
Nanomaterials 2010
8 - 10 June 2010, Hotel Russel, London, UK
2nd ICPC NanoNet Annual Worshop

14 - 15 June 2010, Beijing, China
Nano conference & Expo 2010 (NSTI 2010)
21 - 25 June 2010, Anaheim, CA, US
Nano 2010 (International Conference on Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology

13 - 16 December 2010, K. S. Rangasamy College of Technology, Tiruchengode, Namakkal-637215, India

JIANG Jing, Technology Analyst
NanoGlobe Pte Ltd
10 Anson Road
#09-24 International Plaza
Singapore, 079903
Tel : +65 6408 8000
Fax: +65 6408 8001
Mobile: +65 9338 0927