Advanced Materials Processing & Analysis Center | NanoScience Technology Center | Volume 4, Issue 3 • Fall 2011
LEI ZHAI WINS RCSA’S
$100,000 prize will support solar energy conversion research
ALSO IN THIS EDITION: Faculty Profile: Jayan Thomas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Ph.D. Student Saraf wins Poster Award. . . . . . . . . 4 Student News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-6 Faculty Profile: Romain Gaume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Faculty Kudos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Nanotech Breakthroughs for Drug Testing . . . .6-7 Message from the Director. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Staff Spotlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
NANO PRINTING ON PATTERNED SURFACES Nanosized features can easily be printed accurately onto an already patterned surface, using a new technique called nanoimprinting by melt processing developed by US scientists. Commercial production of devices based on nanotechnology demands that tiny, complex components be fabricated on a mass scale, at low cost, and in few steps. Nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is a common tool that can be used to fabricate nanostructures and devices that are 1/80,000 of the thickness of a hair. This technique presses a hard mold into a soft high-molecularweight polymer film at high temperature and pressure to create nanostructures. However, if the polymer used is highly viscous (flows slowly), as such polymers often are, the NIL fails as the polymer does not spread properly. In particular, this makes it difficult to use NIL for printing nanostructures onto an already patterned microstructure surface. Use of lower molecular-weight polymers that are less viscous results only in the film becoming brittle and cracking, which renders it unusable.
mixture reduced both the viscosity of the polymer and the brittleness/cracking of the resultant film. The scientists have used their new technique to accurately print largearea nanopatterns with varied feature sizes over underlying topographies, including onto and near micropillars. Thomas and his colleagues believe that NIMP has many benefits for making nanophotonic and nanoelectronic device structures at low cost; this should have a significant impact on both the ongoing research in this area as well as the possible commercialization of such devices. They believe that their technique will benefit much of science and technology by allowing the production of more versatile nanostructures. Fig.1: AFM image showing printed structures using NIMP
To overcome this issue, scientists at the University of Central Florida, Stanford University, and the University of Arizona, have developed a new technique called nanoimprinting by melt processing (NIMP) in which they use a mixture of a low-molecular-weight polymer and a plasticizer. The team, led by Professor Jayan Thomas, found that this composite could be used successfully at low temperatures and pressures, without the need for any expensive equipment. Their clever use of this
ZHAI WINS SCIALOG AWARD Dr. Lei Zhai was selected by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) for a Scialog Award, which includes a $100,000 prize to support his proposed solar energy conversion research. Zhai is building nano-scale columns of conductive polymers to improve the efficiency of polymer solar cells. Each Scialog proposal was subject to peer review and only those proposals seen as highly innovative and with the potential to transform the field of solar energy conversion were selected for awards. This award is specifically aimed at having Zhai serve as a national expert to share his knowledge to help advance the field.
Established in 1912, RCSA is the fulfillment of the unique philanthropic concept of Frederick Gardner Cottrell, scientist inventor and philanthropist, who established Research Corporation with the assistance of Charles Doolittle Walcott, the then Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. According to the organization’s website, award recipients are asked “to address a few narrowly focused issues on a particular research initiative and to communicate with one another in an annual conference to share insights and build collaborations.” The organization says its goal is to accelerate the work of 21st-century transformational science through funding research, intensive dialog and community building.
FACULTY PROFILE: JAYAN THOMAS Dr. Jayan Thomas received his Ph.D in Chemistry/Material Science from Cochin University of Science and Technology, India, in 1996 with the prestigious Dr. K. S. Krishnan fellowship awarded by the Department of Atomic Energy. He joined the faculty of NanoScience Technology Center and the College of Optics and Photonics as an Assistant Professor in 2011. Prior to this appointment, he was an Associate Research Professor at the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. His current research interests include nanofabrication of optical and photonic devices, photorefractive polymers for 3D display, nonlinear optical materials, and nanostructured organic solar cells and supercapacitors. He has published more than 75 scientific publications including two invited review papers. He is currently editing a book entitled Optical Properties of Polymers for Photonic Applications by John Wiley and Sons, Inc. During his career in the College of Optical Sciences, he has been a Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI in several federally and privately funded research projects. He is currently serving in the organizing committee of SPIE’s International Conference on “Linear and Nonlinear Optics of Organic Materials.” He is an invited member of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a member of SPIE, OSA and MRS. He is currently serving in the (invited) Reader Panel of Nature magazine and served as an invited panelist for Nature Photonics in 2010. He was awarded Veeco’s best nanotechnology innovation award in 2010. The great advantage of nanosized structures is that the area of interaction, which is one of the most important parameters in the performance of certain devices, may be highly enhanced. Nanoimprinting lithography (NIL) is a well-known alternative lithographic technique for making nanostructures where a hard mold is pressed into a soft polymer film to create nanopatterns. This technique can be used to make several prints of the mold pattern without the use of light and optics. However, at the nanoimprinting temperature, the viscosity of the printing medium (the polymer) is very high making the NIL technique unfaithful for printing features with varied sizes. Recently, Dr. Thomas’s group has circumvented this problem by developing a simple but highly efficient technique called “Nanoimprinting by Melt Processing” (NIMP). This technique has been highly successful in printing nanopatterns with varied feature sizes over underlying topographies with a high degree of fidelity. The technique is so simple that scientists working in various fields can develop nanostructures for their respective applications with ease. This work has been published in Advanced Materials and highlighted by leading research news portals like MaterialsViews.com and Nanotechonology Now.
There would be real advantages to processing methods which could easily nano-texture donor or acceptor polymer layer in organic solar cells (OSC). Such a processing technique, if scaled to device levels, can enhance the energy conversion efficiency of OSC by lowering the exciton recombination. Dr. Thomas’s group is developing sub-50nm structures of active polymer for OSC applications using the NIMP technique. His group is also developing nanoarchitectured electrodes with highly enhanced surface area (more than ten times) towards making solar cells with improved charge collection efficiency.
Dr. Thomas and his colleagues developed an updatable holographic 3D display using photorefractive polymer In energy storage applications, nanoarchitectured carbon electrodes promise to be a feasible direction for developing rapid charging, high capacity hybrid supercapacitors for electric vehicles and heavy machineries. Dr. Thomas and his group have developed a high throughput method to fabricate nanostructured carbon electrodes. They used Electric Force Microscopy (EFM) measurements to observe more than an order of magnitude enhancement in charge accumulation on the nanostructures which is highly beneficial in developing efficient supercapacitors. This technology has high potential for both scientific and commercial applications since energy storage will be a multi-billion dollar industry by 2015. Fig.1: SEM image of ITO nanostructured electrodes with pillar diameter and height of about 170nm and 440nm respectively; inset shows a cross section Dr. Thomas is also pursuing the development of photorefractive polymers with improved sensitivity. Photorefractive composites derived from conducting polymers offer the advantage of dynamically recorded holograms without the need of processing of any kind. While working at the University of Arizona, Dr. Thomas and his colleagues have developed an updatable holographic three-dimensional (3D) display using photorefractive polymer which was reported in Nature in 2008. Furthermore, they were also successful in demonstrating 3D telepresence using photorefractive polymer which was the cover story of another issue of Nature in 2010. However, currently, the refresh time is about 2 seconds for these 3D displays, and further improvements in the sensitivity of photorefractive polymers is necessary for applications like real-time holographic 3D telemedicine and 3D TV. Presently, Dr. Thomas is working on the development of highly sensitive photorefractive polymer composites for these applications.
STUDENT NEWS: S. SARAF WINS POSTER AWARD
Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. student S. Saraf will receive a coveted poster award from MS&T 2011. He presented this poster at the Prof. J. Narayan Acta Materialia Gold Medal Symposium earlier this year. Speaking and presenting at this event is by invitation only. This particular symposium is also attended by NSF and other funding agency directors. MS&T is one of the field’s biggest events, incorporating research in metals, materials, ceramics, electronics, heat treat, thermal spray, and more. This year the award is sponsored by the Army Research Office. Kudos to Mr. Saraf, a B-Tech (Hons) from IIT-KGP, India, and the other team members: Mr. A. Kumar, Dr. S. Das, Dr. A. Karakoti, S. Barkam, and Dr. S. Seal.
Saraf was selected to present a poster on his research on calculating thermodynamic parameters in nanoparticle-polymer system
STUDENT NEWS Two undergraduate students Steve Kobosko and Michael McCreight from Dr. Zhai’s group have been awarded a $1,000 grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research to support their research on “Creating Pressure Sensors out of Fabrics and Papers.” They will use dispersed carbon nanotubes to make fabrics and papers conductive and responsive to applied pressure. The project was initiated by MMAE undergraduate student Kenneth Etcheverry who has accepted an offer from Boeing and will work as an engineer in Seattle. Congratulations, Ken. Dr. Aman Behal’s students: • Zhao Wang, Ph.D., (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science) defended dissertation on December 13, 2011 Undergraduate Fellowships: • Christopher Echanique (Honors in the Major): NIH Diversity, RAMP, YES • Richee Ramsahoye: NIH Diversity • Tyler Stigliano: RAMP • Andrea Solano: RAMP • Stephen Sheldon: RAMP • Taylor Stewart: EXCEL • Joseph Nichols: EXCEL
Dr. Artëm Masunov’s students: • Workalemahu M. Berhanu, Ph.D. (Chemistry) defended his dissertation “Self-assembly of Amyloid Aggregates Simulated With Molecular Dynamics” • Undergraduate student Angela Crotty was awarded a RAMP fellowship. Dr. Michael Leuenberger’s student Sergio Tafur graduated this summer with a Ph.D. in Physics. Dr. Swadeshmukul Santra’s students: Undergraduate Fellowships: • Sabrina Ghim: RAMP • Alise Ramirez: RAMP, YES • Ashton Lee: SMART Fall 2011 Graduates: • Pavithra Maniprasad (M.S. - Molecular Biology and Microbiology) - “Novel copper loaded coreshell silica nanoparticles with improved copper bioavailability: synthesis, characterization and study of antibacterial properties” • Roseline Menezes (M.S. - Biotechnology) “Synthesis, characterization and antibacterial activity of silver embedded silica nanoparticle/nanogel formulation” www.ampac.ucf.edu
FACULTY PROFILE: ROMAIN GAUME The NanoScience Technology Center (NSTC) and Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center (AMPAC) are pleased to welcome Dr. Romain Gaume as a new member of its Faculty. Dr. Gaume, an expert in the design, fabrication and characterization of transparent ceramics, joins the Townes Laser Institute, CREOL, the College of Optics & Photonics, AMPAC and NSTC as an Assistant Professor of Optics and Materials Science. Romain earned his Ph.D. degree in Materials Science from Paris VI University in 2002 where he designed novel crystalline materials for high-power and ultra-short laser applications. He then joined Prof. R.L. Byer’s group at the Applied Physics department at Stanford University as a postdoctoral researcher, and later as a staff scientist, to develop transparent ceramic research. Dr. Gaume will play a major role in the establishment of the Optical Ceramics Laboratory at the Townes Institute. His research activities primarily focus on the development of transparent polycrystalline materials offering novel functionalities for laser physics, defense, sensing, nuclear surveillance and medical applications.
Fig. 1: Laser ceramics of YAG and yttria, before (right) and after (left) high-temperature sintering.
Fig. 2: Transparent scintillator ceramics of Ce-doped garnet for improved γ-ray detection. Fig. 3 (At left): Raw oxide nanopowders for the preparation of transparent polycrystalline garnets.
FACULTY KUDOS Prof. Aman Behal has been appointed Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology and the International Journal of Aeronautical and Space Sciences. His term will begin in 2012.
STUDENT NEWS (continued) Dr. Yongho Sohn’s students: • Carmen Bargraser (M.S.) - “Quantitative Microstructural Degradation of Dense Vertically Cracked Thermal Barrier Coatings,” November 2011, Employed at Siemens Power Generation Incorporated, Orlando, FL • Catalina Uribe (M.S.) - “Microstructural Evolution of SiCp Reinforced Al Metal Matrix Composites During Successive Hot Rolling,” October 2011, Employed at Mitsubishi Power Systems, Orlando, FL
Dr. Jayan Thomas’s student Binh Duong defended her thesis “Processing and Analysis of one-dimensional carbon nanostructures” in Material Science and Engineering at the University of Arizona Dr. Raj Vaidyarajan’s student Douglas Nicholson (M.S. - Aerospace Engineering) defended his thesis “Thermomechanical Behavior of High-Temperature Shape Memory Alloy Ni-Ti-Pd-Pt Acuators.
2011 SUMMER RESEARCH SHOWCASE
On August 11, 2011, the NanoScience Technology Center and Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center hosted a K-12/ Undergraduate/RET 2011 Summer Research Showcase. The event was organized by Professor Aman Behal (EECS & NSTC) and held in the atrium of the Engineering II building. Seventeen posters were on display at the showcase.
A FIRST–UCF LAB CREATES CELLS USED BY BRAIN TO CONTROL MUSCLE CELLS UCF researchers, for the first time, have used stem cells to grow neuromuscular junctions between human muscle cells and human spinal cord cells, the key connectors used by the brain to communicate and control muscles in the body. The success at UCF is a critical step in developing “human-on-a-chip” systems. The systems are models that recreate how organs or a series of organs function in the body. Their use could accelerate medical research and drug testing, potentially delivering life-saving breakthroughs much more quickly than the typical 10-year trajectory most drugs take now to get through animal and patient trials. “These types of systems have to be developed if you ever want to get to a human-on-a-chip that recreates human function,” said James Hickman, a UCF bioengineer who led the breakthrough research. “It’s taken many trials over a number of years to get this to occur using human derived stem cells.” Hickman’s work, funded through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health, is described in the December issue of Biomaterials. Hickman is excited about the future of his research because several federal agencies recently launched an ambitious plan to jump-start research in “human-on-achip” models by making available at least $140 million in grant funding. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) are leading the research push. The goal of the call for action is to produce systems that include various miniature organs connected in realistic ways to simulate human body function. This would make it possible, for instance, to test drugs on human cells well
before they could safely and ethically be tested on living humans. The technique could potentially be more effective than testing in mice and other animals currently used to screen promising drug candidates and to develop other medical treatments. Such conventional animal testing is not only slow and expensive, but often leads to failures that might be overcome with better testing options. The limitations of conventional testing options have dramatically slowed the emergence of new drugs, Hickman said. The successful UCF technique began with a collaborator, Brown University Professor Emeritus Herman Vandenburgh, who collected muscle stem cells via biopsy from adult volunteers. Stem cells are cells that can, under the right conditions, grow into specific forms. They can be found among normal cells in adults, as well as in developing fetuses. Nadine Guo, a UCF research professor, conducted a series of experiments and found that numerous conditions had to come together just right to make the muscle and spinal cord cells “happy” enough to join and form working junctions. This meant exploring different concentrations of cells and various timescales, among other parameters, before hitting on the right conditions. “Right now we rely a lot on animal systems for medical research but this is a pure human system,” Guo said. “This work proved that, biologically, this is workable.” Besides being a key requirement for any complete human-on-a-chip model, such nerve-muscle junctions might themselves prove important research tools. These junctions play key roles in Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in spinal cord injury, and in other debilitating or life threatening conditions. With further development, the team’s techniques could be used to test new drugs or other treatments for these conditions even before more expansive chip-based models are developed. www.ampac.ucf.edu
NANOTECHNOLOGY MAY SPEED UP DRUG TESTING From UCF Today – Testing the effectiveness of new pharmaceuticals may get faster thanks to a new technique incorporating quantum dots developed at UCF. Some drug testing can take a decade or more, but Associate Professor Swadeshmukul Santra and his team have created an electronic quantum dots (Qdots) probe that “lights up” when a drug it is delivering attaches to cancer cells. The research appears online in this month’s Biomaterials. A researcher can use a microscope to see where and how much of the drug has been delivered because the probe emits a reddish color under special lighting or via MRI because of its optical and magnetic components. As the drug testing continues, images can be taken over and over without any loss of optical or MRI signal. Researchers can then measure the size of the tumor and number of cancer cells that “light up” compared with the original untreated tumor. This provides a way to determine whether the drug is doing what it is supposed to be doing in the targeted areas. The technique is much easier than the current process of removing treated cancer tumors and weighing them at regular intervals to determine the drug’s efficiency in an animal.
“Many people in my area have been studying this approach for years,” Santra said. “But we have now moved it into a live cell, not just in test tubes.” Sudipta Seal, director of UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center and Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center
NANOFLORIDA 2011 NanoFlorida 2011 - The Fourth Annual NanoScience Technology Symposium was a huge success! NanoFlorida 2011 was held in Florida Atlantic University (Miami, FL) September 30 and October 1. Three cutting edge sessions covered frontiers in Nanomedicine, Nanobiotechnology, Nanobioengineering, Novel nanomaterials, Nanodevices and Nanotechnology for Energy. There were seven featured, ten invited and thirty-four oral presentations. Drs. Chen-Zhong Li (NanoFlorida 2011 Chair) and Anthony McGoron (NanoFlorida 2011 Co-Chair) of FIUBiomedical Engineering served as faculty advisor to the student lead Mr. Chang Liu and his core team of students and volunteers. The symposium attracted about 200 participants from academia and industry both in and outside the state.
and nanoscience and materials scientist, believes Santra’s research is significant. “This is indeed a major breakthrough in Qdot research,” Seal said. “This new diagnostic tool will certainly impact the field of nanomedicine.” Santra and his team used semiconductor Qdots to create the probe. Because of their small size and crystal-like structure, Qdots display unique optical and electronic properties when they get excited. These unique properties make them ideal for sustained and reliable imaging with special lights. For this research funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, the UCF-led team used a superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle core decorated with satellite CdS:Mn/ZnS Qdots which carried the cancerfighting agent STAT3 inhibitor. The Qdot optical signal turned on when the probe bonded with the cancer cells. “The potential applications for drug testing specifically for cancer research are immediate,” Santra said. Collaborators on the research included: Andre J. Gesquiere also of UCF, James Turkson of the University of Hawaii, Glenn A. Water of the University of Florida and Patrick T. Gunning from the University of Toronto. Santra has his own team of students and scientists at the UCF NanoScience Technology Center that has been studying nanotechnology, quantum dots and their applications for years. The team focuses on the engineering of nanomaterials for bioimaging and sensing, drug delivery and anti-microbial applications. Santra joined UCF in 2005 after working as a research assistant professor at the University of Florida. He has a Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Florida. He has written dozens of articles and book chapters on nanoscience and nanotechnology. Santra also holds eight US patents in nanobio and biomedical fields.
A number of international participants further enhanced the popularity of this symposium. NanoFlorida is a student-led trans-Florida event designed to create a forum for nano researchers in the state and beyond. It promotes scientific exchange, research collaboration, networking and industry-academia partnerships. More importantly, this event which is primarily organized by a student committee and serves as a solid training platform for students to improve their leadership skills. “I am pleased to see that NanoFlorida is gaining momentum and popularity,” remarked Dr. Swadeshmukul Santra of UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center, Department of Chemistry and Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Santra has served as a faculty advisor and symposium chair for NanoFlorida for three consecutive years. The University of South Florida will host NanoFlorida 2012. Stay tuned at www.nanoflorida.org.
MESSAGE FROM DIRECTOR SUDIPTA SEAL Thanks for reading the Fall 2011 newsletter detailing another exciting semester with faculty and student accomplishments. Let me first start with congratulating the students who received their MS and PhD degrees. Our students are receiving well-paid jobs and winning scholarly awards. I am happy to report that Prof. Romain Gaume and Prof. Jayan Thomas have joined us this semester. Their unique expertise in nanoscience and materials engineering will further propel new scientific development in the area of optical materials and nanomanufacturing. The cutting edge research taking place in our centers is certainly noteworthy and I would
welcome you all to read this newsletter. Once again NanoFlorida was a great success. For the first time, the center organized a K-12/RET/REU symposium to showcase the undergraduate research working with our faculty. I also want to introduce Mari, who joined our Center as a HR coordinator. Mari is a strong advocate for our university and demonstrates that “UCF Stands for Opportunity. Again, beyond a doubt, we really do have a great group of people at the centers. NSTC and AMPAC are promoting truly multidisciplinary research advancing knowledge and fostering relationships between academia and industry. I’d like to take this opportunity to express my continued gratitude and respect to all who continue making AMPAC and NSTC, a world class academic entity. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all from my family and I.
NSTC and AMPAC resumed the seminar series in Fall 2011, showcasing our cutting edge research and academic focus. Several prominent speakers were invited for talks highlighting potential collaborations and alignment of our research with other experts in the field. Below is the list of speakers and titles of their talks. For seminar abstracts, please visit the NSTC/AMPAC website’s Seminars page.
STAFF SPOTLIGHT: MARI PINA Mari Pina joined the NanoScience Technology Center as Human Resources Coordinator in July 2011. Among many other HR duties, she is responsible for all foreign nationals affiliated with the department, ensuring their immigration papers are in order and ready for the respective embassies to approve visas. Prior to joining NSTC, Mari was a coordinator with UCF Faculty Affairs, Executive Administrative Assistant in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, and Program Assistant for the College of Education. She is always looking for challenges and professional growth. Mari is a strong advocate for our university and demonstrates that “UCF Stands for Opportunity.”
In 2007, she joined the Executive M.B.A. program in the College of Business and, while in the program, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She continued to work and study while battling cancer and graduated in May 2009. Currently, she is enrolled in the Higher Education & Policy Studies doctoral program in the College of Education. She wants to continue serving the UCF community to the best of her ability and mentor minorities in higher education. Not only is Mari a great example of opportunity, she is an inspiration and role model to many women in our community, and we are delighted to have her on our team! Mari was born in New York City and moved to Florida in 2003. She hoped to find a place rich in diversity where she can live, work, and play. Today, she claims to have found such in both her home and work community.
In non-research related news, we are pleased to announce that Ms. Rajeswari Cabey was blessed with a “nano” member, a baby boy, in her family this Fall. Ms. Cabey and family are ecstatic about their new addition and we at the NSTC and AMPAC wish them the best! ADVANCED MATERIALS PROCESSING AND ANALYSIS CENTER
Phone: (407) 882-1455 | Fax: (407) 882-1462 | www.ampac.ucf.edu NANOSCIENCE TECHNOLOGY CENTER
Phone: (407) 882-1578 | Fax: (407) 882-2819 | www.nanoscience.ucf.edu
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NanoMaterials is the newsletter for the NanoScience Technology Center (NSTC) and the Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center (AMPA...