nanotimes 12-10 :: September/October 2012

09/10 / 2012

nanotimes September/October 2012

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Again, we are happy to present an amazing nanotimes edition with latest key nanotech news. Nanotechnology, specifically nanosilver remains in the discussion. There is increasing concern about the environmental effects. Over the last ten years, NGOs often created a hostile environment for nanotech entrepreneurs in Germany. That is one reason why German and Austrian nanotechnology companies stopped communicating nanotech in public or emigrated elsewhere. I still remember Samsung's washing machine with a so-called Silver Nano Health System and its introduction to the market in Germany in 2006.

 

The announcement led to a heated discussion in the media led by NGO BUND, a German environmental organization. In Sweden, the washing machine had already been introduced to the market. Furthermore, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency EPA had declared it acceptable for use. Now, nanosilver is again coming under attack. A Swedish study concludes that silver can cause long-term damage to agricultural land. This result was published recently by Chalmers researcher Rickard Arvidsson [Contributions to Emission, Exposure and Risk Assessment of Nano-mat...]. Mr. Arvidsson conducted a study at Gothenburg's waste water treatment plant. His team concludes that the toxic pollution depends on the amount of silver that manufacturers use in clothing.

 

The capital market situation is becoming increasingly difficult for small nanotech companies incl. the US. For example, the former exemplary company A123 Systems, an electric car batteries manufacturer, filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 weeks ago. It will show in the next few weeks if the engagement of the Chinese Wanxiang Group Corp. is effective. The auto parts maker will provide $50 million loan, a so-called debtor-in-possession financing.

 

In Europe, politicians will likely have to look for a better legal solution for financing companies via crowdfunding. Last week I was in Vienna. A small shoe manufacturer stirs up the Austrian capital market there. The business founder has received funds up to EUR3 million ($3.8 m) from friends and family. He pays his "investors" interest; however, he has no banking license. That got him into trouble with the financial regulation authorities in Austria. The political Vienna has somewhat backed down after weeks of dispute. Sometimes it is worth to fight for your (business) interests.

 

 

Thomas Ilfrich

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Companies [12-41]
 
Filtrete Brand from 3M, known for its air filtration products for heating and cooling systems, is introducing a new line of do-it-yourself, plumbed-in Filtrete Water Filtration Products.

On October 16, 2012, A123 Systems, Inc. has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Johnson Controls, Inc., which plans to acquire A123's automotive business assets, including all of its automotive technology, products and customer contracts, its facilities in Livonia and Romulus, Mich., its cathode powder manufacturing facilities in China, and A123's equity interest in Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Systems Co., Alpha's joint venture with Shanghai Automotive. The asset purchase agreement also includes provisions through which Johnson Controls intends to license back to A123 certain technology for its grid, commercial and government businesses. A123 also continues to engage in active discussions regarding strategic alternatives for its grid, commercial, government and other operations, and has received several indications of interest for these businesses.

API Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: ATNY) announced the addition of high reliability MIL grade SMPS ceramic capacitors to its Spectrum Control product line.

California Lithium Battery, a finalist in DOE's 2012 Start Up America's Next Top Energy Innovator challenge, has announced the record-setting performance of its new "GEN3" silicon graphene composite anode material for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Independent test results in full cell LIBs indicate the new GEN3 anode material, used with advanced cathode and electrolyte materials, increases energy density by 3 times and specific anode capacity by 4 times over existing LIBs.

CelluForce, the world leader in the commercial development of NanoCrystalline Cellulose (NCC), also referred to as Cellulose Nanocrystals (CNC), is proud to announce that its Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Richard Berry, has been selected as one of Canada's Clean50 honourees.

Cummins Filtration Inc., has debuted its all-new NanoNet™ line of fuel filtration products that utilize nanotechnology in the filtration media, providing an exceptional level of efficiency and harmful particulate removal.

Dow Electronic Materials, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), introduced its new IKONIC polishing pad platform, bringing to market Dow's most advanced polishing pads for chemical mechanical planarization (CMP).

FEI (NASDAQ: FEIC) announced new Helios Nano- Lab(TM) DualBeam(TM) systems for engineers that need to make vital process improvement decisions.

Forth Dimension Displays(FDD) ,a leading provider of high-resolution microdisplays and a subsidiary of Kopin Corporation (NASDAQ: KOPN), introduced its new 0.8'' QXGA microdisplay, the world's highest resolution, full color microdisplay, at the SPIE Security + Defence Exhibition in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Holomic LLC, a startup company seeking to commercialize a groundbreaking technology developed at UCLA, USA, that turns simple cell phones into powerful microscopes has joined UCLA's on-campus technology incubator program at the California NanoSystems Institute.

Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN) has acquired Cambridge, UK-based BlueGnome Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. BlueGnome, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Illumina, is a leading provider of solutions for the screening of genetic abnormalities associated with developmental delay, cancer, and infertility.

KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ: KLAC) announced two new additions to the company's IC fab-based reticle inspection portfolio: the X5.2(TM) and Teron(TM) 611 systems.

Kopin Corporation (NASDAQ: KOPN), announced financial results for the third quarter ended September 29, 2012. Revenues for the three months ended September 29, 2012 were $21.9 million, compared with $29.6 million in the third quarter of 2011. III-V product revenues were $13.7 million, compared with $15.5 million for the third quarter of 2011, reflecting slower growth in mobile phone demand in the 2012 period. Display product revenues decreased to $8.2 million from $14.1 million for the same period of last year due to lower revenue from the Company's military display products in the 2012 period.

MagForce AG (MF6.FSE) announced additions to the management board and further measures to enforce commercialization of NanoTherm(R) therapy. Thus, focussing on establishing the NanoTherm® therapy in the oncology market as well as on its commercialization for near-term value generation.

Merck and Seiko Epson Corporation announced a cooperation and licensing agreement for inkjet inks used in the manufacture of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays.

Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (TOKYO: 6981, (ISIN: JP3914400001) will start mass production of the world's thinnest electric double-layer capacitors (DMF Series) featuring low resistance and the highest levels of power density throughout the industry, a benefit when used as an auxiliary power supply for LED flash units.

NANIUM , a leading provider of semiconductor packaging, test and engineering services, has extended its offering to include fan-in WLP volume production on 300mm wafers.

NanoInk announced that it is one of the top 75 finalists for the prestigious 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards reflecting a cross section of the Chicago and surrounding regions' business communities.

Nanostart Asia Pacific is preparing an additional fundraising of up to 4 million SGD for its further expansion. A large part of the amount has already been committed. As in the previous funding in February 2012, the money comes from the existing shareholders and new investors based in the region. It shall be used for follow up funding the existing portfolio. Furthermore Nanostart Asia Pacific is already working on new investment opportunities.

NanoString Technologies, Inc., has obtained the CE Mark for its PAM50-based gene expression test for breast cancer, clearing the company to sell its test in the European Union and other countries recognizing the CE Mark.

Picosun Oy, a leading atomic layer deposition (ALD) equipment manufacturer has co-organized the 1st International Conference on ALD Applications and 2nd China ALD Conference in cooperation with Fudan University, one of China's top universities. The event took place in Shanghai at Fudan University's premises.

Raymor Industries, Inc. and NanoIntegris Technologies, Inc. have completed a business combination to integrate the world leading single-walled carbon nanotube growth company (Raymor) with the leader in carbon nanotube purification and separation (NanoIntegris).

Ultratech, Inc. (NASDAQ: UTEK) announced unaudited results for the three-month period ended September 29, 2012. For the third quarter of fiscal 2012, Ultratech reported net sales of $60.5 million as compared to $54.9 million during the third quarter of fiscal 2011. Ultratech's net income for the third quarter of 2012 was $12.4 million, or $0.45 per share (diluted), as compared to net income of $10.5 million, or $0.39 per share (diluted) for the same quarter last year.

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US Researchers Create Thin-Film Polymer Metamaterial [42]
 
Materials scientists at Rice University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created very thin color-changing films that may serve as part of inexpensive sensors for food spoilage or security, multiband optical elements in laser-driven systems and even as part of high-contrast displays. The new work led by Rice materials scientist Ned Thomas.

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Silver Is Damaging To Human Fibroblasts [44-45]
 
Silver, an element long favored by medicine for its antiseptic properties, turns out to be damaging to human fibroblasts when used in the dosages required to be effective. Furthermore, the presence of albumin weakens silver's ability to fight bacteria. These findings were recently made by a team of researchers working under the direction of Dr. Stephan Barcikowski, a professor with the Center for Nanointegration (CENIDE) at University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), Germany.

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Novel Optical Connection Between Semiconductor Chips [46]
 
A team of KIT researchers directed by Professor Christian Koos has succeeded in developing a novel optical connection between semiconductor chips. The researchers first fix the chips and then structure a polymer-based optical waveguide in a perfectly fitting manner. To adapt the interconnection to the position and orientation of the chip, the scientists developed a method for the three-dimensional structuring of an optical waveguide. They used so-called two-photon polymerization which reaches a high resolution. A femtosecond laser writes the free-form waveguide structure directly into a polymer that is located on the surface of the chip. For this purpose, the KIT researchers use a laser lithography system made by the Nanoscribe company, a spinoff of KIT.
 

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New Stamping Process to Pattern Biomolecules [47]

 

Researchers at UCLA (US) have turned the conventional "soft lithography" process on its head: Instead of using a stamp to transfer molecules onto bare surfaces, they have used chemically treated stamps to remove molecules already in place on gold substrates, essentially peeling away select molecules through chemical bonds to create precise patterns measuring just a few molecules across. 

The new process, called Chemical Lift-off Lithography (CLL), results in higher-resolution patterning and avoids the blurring problems of earlier techniques. The stamp used in the new process is molded by using a "master" made with more sophisticated and expensive tools than those used in making rubber stamps for offices and children, but the stamps can be used over and over again. Between each use, they are simply reactivated by an oxygen plasma.

 


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Heat-Conducting Composites for Seawater Desalination [48]

 

Desalination plants can convert seawater to drinking water. Yet these plants require pipelines made of a special kind of steel or titanium - expensive material that is growing increasingly difficult to procure. Heat-conducting polymer composites may soon replace titanium altogether.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Bremen are now developing an alternative to the titanium tubes: pipelines made of polymer composites. The special thing about this method: the polymer composites are a plastic, and yet they conduct heat. Another benefit: they can be produced in continuous lengths and are correspondingly more economical than their metal counterparts. But what did researchers do to make a polymer heat-conducting? "We introduced metal particles into the material - or more precisely, we add up to 50% copper microfibers by volume. This does not change the processing properties of the composite, and it can still be processed as any other polymer would," notes Arne Haberkorn, a scientist at IFAM.

 


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Size Diversity in Cement Nanoparticles Optimizes Packing Density to Give Concrete its Strength [49]

 

Concrete may be one of the most familiar building materials on Earth, but its underlying structure remains a bit of a mystery. Materials scientists and concrete engineers still don't fully understand exactly how the cement paste that works as glue in concrete hardens during the first hours after water and cement powder are mixed. New technologies are making it possible for researchers in MIT's Concrete Sustainability Hub to make steady progress toward solving this mystery. 

First they determined that cement paste is a granular material, where the particles or basic nanoscale units pack together most densely when arranged orderly. A few years later they discovered that the calcium-silicate-hydrate (C-S-H) molecules that make up the basic nanoscale unit of cement have a disorderly geometric arrangement, rather than the orderly crystalline structure scientists had long assumed. In new work, they found that the size of C-S-H particles themselves is also somewhat disorderly: The particles form at very diverse sizes and this diversity in the size of the nanoscale units leads to a denser, disorderly packing of the particles, which corresponds to stronger cement paste.

 


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Fast Toothpaste Check [52-53]

 

Researcher at Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Halle have developed a new process for testing the abrasive effect of toothpastes, allowing this 'abrasivity', as experts call it, to be compared and evaluated in the lab. They worked closely with the Microtribology Centre µTC in Karlsruhe on a new evaluation method.

 


New Near-Field Scanning Microwave Microscope (NSMM) [54-55]

 

NIST's ability to determine the composition and physics of nanoscale materials and devices is about to improve dramatically with the arrival of a new near-field scanning microwave microscope (NSMM).

 


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Vanadium Oxide Bronze: A New Material for the Computing Industry? [56-57]

 

Scientists create a nanomaterial whose unusual electrical properties could be exploited to increase computer chips' switching speed.

 


News in Brief [59-83]
 
EPFL's Institute of Microengineering (CH) presented in Frankfurt "hybrid" photovoltaic cells with an energy conversion efficiency of 21.4%, the highest obtained for the type of substrate they used. This breakthrough will contribute to lower the cost of solar cell based installations.


World's first fully functioning nano-electro-mechanical (NEM) relay-based processor targeting an energy efficiency that cannot be matched by transistor implementations thanks to a EUR2.44 million (USD3.14 m) grant by the European Commission. The NEMIAC project (Nano-Electro-Mechanical Integration and Computation) will investigate this new technology to build digital integrated circuits for ultra-low power computing applications.


A team in MIT's Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) that studied how materials react to stresses, including impacts. The findings could ultimately help explain phenomena as varied as the breakdown of concrete under sudden stress and the effects of corrosion on various metal surfaces. Using a combination of computer modeling and experimental tests, the researchers studied one specific type of stress - in a defect called a screw dislocation - in one kind of material, an iron crystal lattice. But the underlying explanation, the researchers say, may have broad implications for many kinds of stresses in many different materials.


Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) researchers have investigated the mechanisms necessary for enabling the semiconductor Germanium to emit laser light. As a laser material, Germanium together with Silicon could form the basis for innovative computer chips in which information would be transferred partially in the form of light. This technology would revolutionise data streaming within chips and give a boost to the performance of electronics. The researchers have demonstrated that Germanium must be put under strain by an external force in order to turn it into a laser material material and have thus contributed to a very active research field.


Researchers at HHI have now managed to double the efficiency of black silicon solar cells. They have created cells that can produce more electricity from the infrared spectrum.


Until now, no chip existed, on which both silicon and erbium-doped material were integrated. In her thesis, PhD candidate Laura Agazzi of the University of Twente demonstrates a working chip for the first time. It will be able to amplify light at speeds up to 170 Gbit/sec. The prototype chip has a signal gain of 7.2 decibel at infrared light (1533nm).


Current commercially available fuel cells use platinum nanoparticles as the catalyst to speed up the chemical reaction because platinum is the only metal that can resist the highly acidic conditions inside such a cell. However, the widespread use of fuel cells has been impeded by the high cost of platinum and its low stability. To overcome this limitation, a team of researchers led by IBN Executive Director Professor Jackie Y. Ying has discovered that by replacing the central part of the catalyst with gold and copper alloy and leaving just the outer layer in platinum, the new hybrid material can provide 5 times higher activity and much greater stability than the commercial platinum catalyst. With further optimization, it would be possible to further increase the material's catalytic properties.


Silver nanoparticles can have a severe environmental impact if their utilization in clothing continues to increase. If everyone buys one silver nanoparticle-treated sock a year, the silver concentration in waste water treatment plant sludge can double. If the sludge is subsequently used as fertilizer, the silver can cause long-term damage to agricultural land. These are the results of a study conducted at Chalmers University of Technology.


Researchers from A*STAR's Institute of Microelectronics (IME) have developed the first compact high performance silicon-based cavity-backed slot (CBS) antenna that operates at 135 GHz. The antenna demonstrated 30 times stronger signal transmission over on-chip antennas at 135 GHz.


Researcher at Rice University (USA), and Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium), report an approach to roll out Li-ion battery components from silicon chips by a continuous and repeatable etch-infiltrate-peel cycle. They demonstrate an operational full cell 3.4 V lithium-polymer silicon nanowire (LIPOSIL) battery which is mechanically flexible and scalable to large dimensions.




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EU-Projects [84-85]

 

Project Nanomal / Project SafeBatt

 

JRC Report Reviews Measurement Methods for Nanoparticle Sizing

 

Project IMPROVE

 

Nanomaterials: Case by Case Safety Approach for Breakthrough Technology       

 


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Patents [86-87]

 

 

Measurement Method for the Field at a Superconducting Cavity
under Operating Temperature

 

Multiple Cell Separator Device for Separation and Manipulation
of Cells and Microorganisms

 

OLED Polymer with Minor Defects and Simple Production for an OLED Display

 

Friction Bearing for Reducing Resonance Vibrations

 

nanotimes 2010 - 2012

 

http://www.nano-times.com

 

 

Best Regards  

 

IVCON-Team  
  

 

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