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June 2016
In This Issue

Nanoparticles Can Grow in Cubic Shape

From University of Helsinki (Finland), April 4, 2016 by Minna Meriläinen-Tenhu: 
"Use of nanoparticles in many applications, e.g. for catalysis, relies on the surface area of the particles. Now scientists show how originally spherical nucleus can transform into cube with high surface-to-volume ratio. 

An intensive collaboration between University of Helsinki, Finland, and Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan, showed that originally close-to-spherical iron nanoparticle nuclei grow in magnetron sputter chambers into either cubic or spheres. The research revealed a specific regime of temperature and deposition rates leading to thermodynamically unexpected cubic shapes of the final nanoparticles."

Source: Science Daily,
Original Source: University of Helsinki (Finland)
Image:  Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology / Panagiotis Grammatikopoulos


Molecular-Scale Discovery Could Have Industrial Size Impact

From University of Alberta (Canada), March 30, 2016 by Richard Cairney: 
"Material Engineering researchers at the University of Alberta have developed a new method of making thin films by adapting current atomic layer deposition (ALD) techniques.

The problem with ALD is that some of the molecules coming to rest on top of the precursor layer are so large that they block other receptor points. However, researchers observed that those large molecules almost immediately shed ligands that do not connect to the precursor layer, freeing up previously blocked receptors. But by this time, the gas has been pumped out of the chamber and cannot be used a second time.

Researchers wondered whether they could create a more dense and uniform layer by pumping gas into the chamber in smaller doses, waiting just a fraction of a second for the ligands to slough off and free up receptors, and then pumping in another small dose of gas. This would cut the precursor costs."

Source: University of Alberta,
Image: University of Alberta


Printing Nanomaterials with Plasma

From American Institute of Physics, March 22, 2016: 
"Researchers from NASA Ames and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have developed a new method that uses plasma to print nanomaterials onto a 3-D object or flexible surface, such as paper or cloth.

One of the most common methods to deposit nanomaterials-such as a layer of nanoparticles or nanotubes-onto a surface is with an inkjet printer. However, they can't print on textiles or other flexible materials, let alone 3-D objects. They also must print liquid ink, and not all materials are easily made into a liquid.

Researchers demonstrated their new technique by printing a layer of carbon nanotubes on paper. They mixed the nanotubes into a plasma of helium ions, which they then blasted through a nozzle and onto paper. The plasma focuses the nanoparticles onto the paper surface, forming a consolidated layer without any need for additional heating. The team printed two simple chemical and biological sensors"

Source: American Institute of Physics,
Image: NASA Ames Research Center


Solar Cells: Silicon Profits from a Dose of Iron

From A*STAR Research (Singapore), March 23, 2016: 
"By rapidly heating silicon wafers covered with thin iron silicide and aluminum films, A*STAR researchers have developed a way to eliminate many of the complicated, time-consuming steps needed to fabricate light harvesting solar cells.

Goutam Dalapati and co-workers from the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering found that metal silicides, substances produced when metal coatings are annealed with silicon wafers, hold new promise for reducing solar cell production costs. Metal silicides are fundamental to the operation of nearly all microelectronic devices, and behave like conductive wires or voltage-dependent switches depending on their contents and preparation conditions - an adaptable nature the team aimed to exploit with iron-based silicides."

Source: A*STAR Research,
Image: From Dalapati, G. K., Masudy-Panah, S., Kumar, A., Tan, C. C., Tan, H. R. & Chi, D. Aluminium alloyed iron-silicide/silicon solar cells: A simple approach for low cost environmental-friendly photovoltaic technology. Scientific Reports 5, 17810 (2015)"


How to Make Metal Alloys That Stand Up to Hydrogen

From Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), March 29, 2016 by David L. Chandler: 
"High-tech metal alloys are widely used in important materials such as the cladding that protects the fuel inside a nuclear reactor. But even the best alloys degrade over time, victims of a reactor's high temperatures, radiation, and hydrogen-rich environment. Now, a team of MIT researchers has found a way of greatly reducing the damaging effects these metals suffer from exposure to hydrogen.

The team's analysis focused on zirconium alloys, which are widely used in the nuclear industry, but the basic principles they found could apply to many metallic alloys used in other energy systems and infrastructure applications. A coating of zirconium oxide naturally forms on the surface of the zirconium in high-temperature water, and it acts as a kind of protective barrier."

Source: MIT,
Image: MIT/ Mostafa Youssef and Lixin Sun


Solving a Nanotechnology Riddle - What Makes Gold Atoms Stick Together

From the University of Technology Sydney, March 2, 2016 by Rebecca Gallegos and Fiona McGill: 
"Researchers at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have solved the riddle of what makes gold special in today's emerging field of nanotechnology. The team has explained the chemical bonding process that occurs during the growth of gold nanoparticles.

Gold and sulphur can react together to form strong covalent bonds in compounds known as Au(I)-thiolates. For 30 years chemists have believed this to be the reason why sulphur glues stick to and protect gold nanoparticles. However, new research demonstrates that it is van der Walls force that is responsible for binding sulphur to gold metal and nanoparticles. By identifying the significance of the "glue" that binds the surface of the gold nanoparticles to keep potentially destructive chemicals out of range, they have found the key that is critical to customizing the properties of nanoparticles."

Source: University of Technology Sydney,
Image: University of Technology Sydney


Dendrite-free Lithium Metal Batteries Through Evenly Distributed Lithium Ions

From Nanowerk Spotlight, April 19, 2016, by Michael Berger: 
"Today, the best performing battery in terms of specific energy and specific power is the secondary lithium-metal (Li-metal). However, uncontrolled dendrite growth during Li depositing/stripping in rechargeable Li metal based batteries has prevented their practical applications over the past 40 years.

Researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing have now proposed a novel method of modulating the lithium ion adsorption to suppress lithium dendrite growth by employing glass fiber (GFs) as solid electrolytes with plenty of polar functional groups as the interlayer between Li metal anode and routine polymer separator.

The 2D Cu foil electrode has an uneven surface that induces inhomogeneous electron distribution. Li ions aggregate near the protuberance on the 2D surface with a stronger field strength than the flat surface during continuous Li depositing. The aggregated Li ions can trigger Li dendrite growth. Adding GF cloth with its large quantities of polar functional groups (Si O, O H, O B), causes the concentrated Li ions to be evenly redistributed, resulting in dendrite-free Li deposits."

Source: Nanowerk,
Image: Wiley-VCH Verlag


The Graphene Flagship Announces a Work Package to Design 2D-materials-based Biomedical Technologies

From the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (Spain), May 11, 2016: 
"The Graphene Flagship announced the creation of a new Work Package devoted to Biomedical Technologies, one emerging application area for graphene and other 2D materials. This initiative is led by Professor Kostas Kostarelos, from the University of Manchester (United Kingdom), and ICREA Professor Jose Antonio Garrido, from the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2, Spain).

This new Work Package will focus on the development of implants based on graphene and 2D-materials that have therapeutic functionalities for specific clinical outcomes, in disciplines such as neurology, ophthalmology and surgery. It will include research in three main areas: Materials Engineering; Implant Technology & Engineering; and Functionality and Therapeutic Efficacy. The objective is to explore novel implants with therapeutic capacity that will be further developed in the next phases of the Graphene Flagship."

Source: Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology,
Image: Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology


2015 Top Ten PV Cell Manufacturers

From Renewable Energy World, April 8, 2016 by Paula Mints (SPV Market Research): 
"PV cell manufacturers on the annual top ten list have shifted places, dropped on and off the list, withdraw from production, re-entered production and declared bankruptcy. Currently, crystalline manufacturers are adding more module assembly capacity than cell processing capacity while thin film manufacturers are expanding into crystalline production. The top manufacturer is Trina Solar (c-Si), based in China and the Netherlands, with 5100 MWp module capacity. Number five is the only thin film cell maker, First Solar (CdTe) based in US and Malaysia, with 2900 MWp module capacity.

Source: Renewable Energy World,
Image: Paula Mints


Graphene Layer Could Allow Solar Cells to Generate Power When It Rains

From Nanowerk News, April 1, 2016: 
"Chinese researchers have now introduced a new approach for making an all-weather solar cell that is triggered by both sunlight and raindrops. For the conversion of solar energy to electricity, the team from the Ocean University of China (Qingdao) and Yunnan Normal University (Kunming, China) developed a highly efficient dye-sensitized solar cell. They coated this cell with a whisper-thin film of graphene. In aqueous solution, graphene can bind positively charged ions with its electrons (Lewis acid-base interaction).

Raindrops are not pure water. They contain salts that dissociate into positive and negative ions. The positively charged ions, including sodium, calcium, and ammonium ions, can bind to the graphene surface. At the point of contact between the raindrop and the graphene, the water becomes enriched in positive ions and the graphene becomes enriched in delocalized electrons. The result is a double-layer made of electrons and positively charged ions, a feature known as a pseudocapacitor. The difference in potential associated with this phenomenon is sufficient to produce a voltage and current."

Source: Nanowerk,
Image: © Wiley-VCH


Researchers Developed Manufacturing Method for Microbatteries with Organic Electrode Materials

From Aalto University (Finland), March 29, 2016: 
"With people wanting to use smaller electronic devices, smaller energy storage systems are needed. Researchers of Aalto University in Finland have demonstrated the fabrication of electrochemically active organic lithium electrode thin films, which help make microbatteries more efficient than before. Researchers used a combined atomic/molecular layer deposition (ALD/MLD) technique, to prepare lithium terephthalate, a recently found anode material for a lithium-ion battery.

The researchers' deposition process for Li-terephthalate is shown to comply well with the basic principles of ALD-type growth, including the sequential self-saturated surface reactions, which is a necessity when aiming at micro-lithium-ion devices with three-dimensional architectures. The as-deposited films are found to be crystalline across the deposition temperature range of 200−280 °C, which is a trait that is highly desired for an electrode material, but rather unusual for hybrid organic−inorganic thin films."

Source: Aalto University,
Image: Aalto University / Mikko Raskinen


Computer Simulation Discloses New Cavitation Mechanism

From Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT, Germany), March 25, 2016: 
"Researchers at KIT's Institute for Applied Materials have discovered a so-far unknown mechanism for the formation of cavitation bubbles by the means of model calculation. In the Science Advances journal, they describe how oil-repellent and oil-attracting surfaces influence lubricant flow. Depending on the viscosity of the oil, a vapor bubble forms in the transition area between oleophobic and oleophilic domains. This so-called cavitation is known to damage material of e.g. ship propellers or pumps. However, in lubricated contacts it can have a positive effect, as it may help separating the surfaces and thus preventing damage.

Cavitation has been considered a geometric effect resulting from shear forces, flow rate, and pressure differences exclusively. The fact that fluids cavitate when local changes in surface chemistry occur is a completely new finding."

Source: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology,
Image: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology


Solid Electrolytes Open Doors to Solid-State Batteries

From Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan), March 22, 2016: 
"Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology and colleagues in Japan have synthesized two crystalline materials, Li9.54Si1.74P1.44S11.7Cl0.3 and Li9.6P3S12 , that show great promise as solid electrolytes. All-solid-state batteries built using the solid electrolytes exhibit excellent properties, including high power and high energy densities, and could be used in long-distance electric vehicles.

The team synthesized two new lithium-based 'superionic' materials based on the same crystal structure previously discovered by the same team. Superionic materials are solid crystal structures through which ions can 'hop' easily, essentially maintaining a flow of ions similar to that which occurs inside a liquid electrolyte. They showed how the lithium ions move fast in the structure of their compounds even at room temperature."

Source: Tokyo Institute of Technology,
Image: Tokyo Institute of Technology


Nanomaterials for Sensing, Energy Generation, and Energy Harvesting

From SPIE Newsroom, February 29, 2016, by Magnus Willanderl: 
(DOI: 10.1117/2.1201602.006341)
"Metal-oxide nanostructures and composites have potential as functional materials for the development of renewable-energy resources and technologies. Researchers at Linkoping University (Sweden) and University of Sindh (Pakistan) have investigated the potential of nanostructures for providing innovative energy solutions and new applications. They have focused on using electromechanical energy generators and electrochemical energy sensors. They have also made use of the exceptional catalytic properties of nanostructures for energy production.

Their first example concerns the development of a self-powered piezoelectric sensing device using zinc oxide (ZnO). To develop a piezoelectric anisotropic sensor, researchers grew ZnO nanowires using the low-temperature chemical-growth method on both sides of a flexible plastic substrate. When this device is bent, the different sides will have different voltage polarity. Therefore, depending on the polarity of the voltage, they can determine the bending direction. The simultaneous opposing polarity voltages are harvested from the two different sides of the device."

Source: SPIE Newsroom,
Image: SPIE Newsroom 

Plasmon Etching Technique Produces Ultrathin Flat Optics

From Photonics Media, February 17, 2016: 
"A simplified approach for producing flat, ultrathin optics foregoes acids and other hazardous chemical etching agents. The method could enable do-it-yourself (DIY) optics, particularly those related to low-cost microcontroller boards.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign present plasmon-assisted etching (PAE) as an approach to extend the DIY theme to optics with only a modest tradeoff in quality, specifically, the table-top fabrication of planar optical components. The PAE method used laser light to scan a template - a 2D array of gold pillar-supported bowtie nanoantennas - which was submerged in water, in a desired pattern. The study demonstrated fabrication of various ultrathin, flat optical components using the same template. The specific optical components fabricated by the researchers included a flat focusing lens - also known as a Fresnel zone plate."

Source: Photonics Media,
Image: Photonics Media


Gallium Oxide: Power Electronics' Cool New Flavor

From IEEE Spectrum, March 30, 2016 by Richard Stevenson: 
"Ideally, the electronic components that route electricity through power supplies, inverters, and electric motors are cheap, efficient, and capable of handling high voltages. Judged in these terms, gallium oxide could be the best material yet, according to recent work by Flosfia, a startup in Kyoto. Flosfia's diodes are already performing more efficiently than those made from SiC and GaN.

The superiority of these gallium oxide devices stems from the material's approximately 5-electron-volt bandgap-much higher than that of gallium nitride (about 3.4 eV) or silicon carbide (about 3.3 eV). A bigger bandgap enables a material to withstand a stronger electric field, making it possible to use a thinner device for a given voltage. That's a big deal because the thinner the device, the lower its resistance, and thus the more efficient it is."

Source: IEEE Spectrum,
Image: Yole Développement, Lyon, France

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SEMICON West June 2016


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ICCG11 2016

The International Conference on Coatings on Glass and Plastics ICCG11 
June 12-16, 2016 
Conference Center, Braunschweig, Germany

With an excellent scientific program, several social events, plenty of exhibitors, and a historically remarkable venue, the ICCG11 offers a unique platform to discuss the latest trends and the implementation of new technologies or products into the field of coatings on glass and plastics. The focus of the conference is to bring together science and industry to discuss the latest trends in the field of coatings on glass and plastics. Besides universities and research institutes, the conference addresses coating manufacturers, material and equipment suppliers, and user industries.

The application of coatings is an area which has become extremely important for large-area or high-volume
products. The topics will cover all of the required steps and techniques to control the coating process, to characterize, and to finish the coated product. Finally, the 11th ICCG provides information on the different technologies at a general level for new product designers, as well as technical aspects, safety measures, and environmental and economic factors.

Learn More:


Seventh International Conference on Fundamentals and Industrial Applications of HIPIMS 2016
June 27-30, 2016
Cutler's Hall
Sheffield, United Kingdom

HIPIMS 2016 will provide a forum for presenting the latest research by scientists and engineers from industry, engineering institutes and academia. Contributions will cover fundamental scientific aspects as well as application-oriented research and development. In addition, successful introduction to market of new products utilizing HIPIMS will be addressed:

HIPIMS 2016 will focus on the following topics:
  • Generation of HIPIMS and highly ionized plasmas
  • Plasma diagnostics and discharge physics
  • Coating characterization and performance
  • Reactive and non-reactive HIPIMS processes
  • Simulation of HIPIMS processes
  • HIPIMS systems and hardware
Featuring SVC Tutorial Courses:
Monday, June 27
C-323: High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering
Prof. Arutiun P. Ehiasarian, Sheffield Hallam University and Dr. Andre Anders, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Tuesday, June 28 - half-day morning
C-338: Application of Reactive Sputtering
Dr. Ralf Bandorf, Fraunhofer IST

Tuesday, June 28 - half-day afternoon
C-333: HIPIMS Applications
Dr. Ralf Bandorf, Fraunhofer IST and Prof. Arutiun P. Ehiasarian, Sheffield Hallam University


SEMICON West 2016 - Get answers, get access, get connected! 
July 12-14, 2016, San Francisco, CA 

At SEMICON West 2016, Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA, July 12-14, it's definitely not business as usual. The industry is different and so is SEMICON West - bigger, wider, more in-touch with market-makers. SEMICON West is the one place the new, interconnected supply chain comes together and the reimagined industry comes into focus. Here, not business as usual means new players and demand generators, new programs, and new industry segments - all connecting in one place. Nearly 700 international exhibitors showcasing products and services span across the manufacturing ecosystem - from design to final manufacturing. More than 115 hours of technical and business programs, including in-depth technical sessions. Forums for advanced packaging, test, advanced manufacturing, extended supply chain, sustainable manufacturing, the Silicon Innovation Forum, and the Women in Technology Forum. University students should be there on July 14 for University Day: Future U. - Exploring Careers in Microelectronics. 

SEMICON West pavilions and special exhibit areas showcase companies from around the world and special technology segments that are bringing new products, solutions, and innovations to the global microelectronics industry. Visit pavilions for 3D printing/additive manufacturing, compound semiconductors, secondary equipment, regional pavilions, and the World of IoT Showcase. Explore Innovation Village, a research and start-up showcase. SEMICON West connects the extended supply chain to make sense of the new industry. We can't predict what will happen next, but one thing is certain: if you want to be in a position not just to survive, but to thrive, a trip to the completely new, completely re-engineered SEMICON West is mandatory. 

 Connect to opportunity at SEMICON West 2016 and leave "business as usual" behind. Be there.

PSE 2016

The 15th International Conference on Plasma Surface Engineering will be held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in September 12 - 16, 2016. The biennial PSE conference series is organized by the European Joint Committee on Plasma and Ion Surface Engineering.

PSE 2016 will feature an SVC Tutorial on September 15, 2016:
C-328 Properties and Applications of Tribological Coatings, with Allan Matthews, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

With a continuously growing interest in the preceding PSE events, with more than 750 participants from all over the world in 2014, PSE is a well-established and leading forum in the field of plasma as well as ion- and particle-beam assisted surface modification and thin film technologies, which is accompanied by a prosperous industrial exhibition.

PSE provides an opportunity to present recent progress in research and development and industrial applications. Its topics span a wide range from fundamentals such as process modelling and simulation of plasmas or thin film physics through experimental studies, which establish the relationships between process parameters and the structural and functional properties of modified surfaces and/or thin films, towards the application in industrial production.

The PSE 2016 will be dedicated to "Plasma, Surface and Mobility". The importance of plasma on the modification of materials surfaces and their impact on the diversity of areas of mobility such as transportation, low CO2 emission, improved engines efficiency or quality of life, will be enhanced in many scientific and technological contributions allocated to the conference topics. The more applied aspects with direct impact on the mobility for tomorrow will be discussed and addressed in the industrial workshop.

Visit the conference Web Page to learn more:

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