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Archive for the ‘Nano Blog’ Category

February 16, 2021 — European Commission GreEnergy Project: nano solar energy harvesting

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

GreEnergy is a new project funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 Programme aimed at developing optical nano-antennas as cost-effective solar energy harvester for a greener future

Most energy sources we use today have low efficiency, rely on non-renewable resources and cause severe damage to our planet by contributing to global warming. GreEnergy envisions the use of the cleanest energy source available: the sun.  The sun is the world’s most powerful and abundant energy resource, and offers a nearly unlimited supply of energy to our planet. However, according to the Joint Research Centre (JRC), current solar photovoltaics (PV) produce roughly 4% of the world’s electricity, due to their low efficiency and relatively high costs.

GreEnergy’s ambition is to define a new paradigm in the field of solar energy harvesting, by prototyping a self-powering system based on optical nano-antennas which can harvest solar energy, rectify the AC signal and use it to charge a micro-supercapacitor. The targeted overall efficiency of the demonstrators is around 20-40%, which is competitive with respect to the state of the art.

Coordinated by Chalmers University of Technology, GreEnergy is a four-year interdisciplinary project that builds on the expertise of four top-level universities, one research centre and three specialized SMEs coming from 6 different countries, including Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Aalto University (Finland), AMO GmbH and IHP – Innovations For High Performance Microelectronics (Germany), NOGAH PHOTONICS Ltd (Israel), SCIPROM Sàrl (Switzerland), Università Politecnica delle Marche and Università di Udine (Italy).

“With GreEnergy we want to demonstrate that it is possible to harvest solar energy more efficiently and at lower cost than what is currently done with photovoltaic cells”, says the project coordinator Prof. Per Lundgren, from Chalmers University of Technology. “It is a real challenge to rectify electromagnetic waves at optical frequencies into a DC current for energy storage and management. This is something we intend to achieve with the coordinated design of the antenna, the rectifier and of the energy storage device for optimal integration. Such an integrated technology has no precedents and will represent a fundamental change in the way that solar energy can be harvested.”

For more info on GreEnergy: visit the GreEnergy website at


October 09, 2020 – Thermal MagIC: New NIST Project to Build Nano-Thermometers Could Revolutionize Temperature Imaging

Friday, October 9th, 2020

Cheaper refrigerators? Stronger hip implants? A better understanding of human disease? All of these could be possible and more, someday, thanks to an ambitious new project underway at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

NIST researchers are in the early stages of a massive undertaking to design and build a fleet of tiny ultra-sensitive thermometers. If they succeed, their system will be the first to make real-time measurements of temperature on the microscopic scale in an opaque 3D volume — which could include medical implants, refrigerators, and even the human body.

The project is called Thermal Magnetic Imaging and Control (Thermal MagIC), and the researchers say it could revolutionize temperature measurements in many fields: biology, medicine, chemical synthesis, refrigeration, the automotive industry, plastic production — “pretty much anywhere temperature plays a critical role,” said NIST physicist Cindi Dennis. “And that’s everywhere.”

Measuring and controlling temperature in 3D is highly desirable for medical diagnostics, precision manufacturing, and much more. However, there is currently no way to measure 3D temperature inside these kinds of systems. NIST researchers are working on a solution using tiny nanoscale thermometers. Credit: Sean Kelley/NIST. Music: Blue Dot Sessions.The NIST team has now finished building its customized laboratory spaces for this unique project and has begun the first major phase of the experiment.

Thermal MagIC will work by using nanometer-sized objects whose magnetic signals change with temperature. The objects would be incorporated into the liquids or solids being studied — the melted plastic that might be used as part of an artificial joint replacement, or the liquid coolant being recirculated through a refrigerator. A remote sensing system would then pick up these magnetic signals, meaning the system being studied would be free from wires or other bulky external objects.

The final product could make temperature measurements that are 10 times more precise than state-of-the-art techniques, acquired in one-tenth the time in a volume 10,000 times smaller. This equates to measurements accurate to within 25 millikelvin (thousandths of a kelvin) in as little as a tenth of a second, in a volume just a hundred micrometers (millionths of a meter) on a side. The measurements would be “traceable” to the International System of Units (SI); in other words, its readings could be accurately related to the fundamental definition of the kelvin, the world’s basic unit of temperature.

The system aims to measure temperatures over the range from 200 to 400 kelvin (K), which is about -99 to 260 degrees Fahrenheit (F). This would cover most potential applications — at least the ones the Thermal MagIC team envisions will be possible within the next 5 years. Dennis and her colleagues see potential for a much larger temperature range, stretching from 4 K-600 K, which would encompass everything from supercooled superconductors to molten lead. But that is not a part of current development plans.

“This is a big enough sea change that we expect that if we can develop it — and we have confidence that we can — other people will take it and really run with it and do things that we currently can’t imagine,” Dennis said.

Potential applications are mostly in research and development, but Dennis said the increase in knowledge would likely trickle down to a variety of products, possibly including 3D printers, refrigerators, and medicines.


August 31, 2017 – Photon-triggered nanowire transistors are reported in Nature Nanotechnology

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Kim et al., recently reported on photon-triggered nanowire (NW) transistors, a new step toward optical computing. These devices consist of crystalline silicon (CSi) NWs that include (PSi) segments in the middle and electrical contacts at both ends of the NW. The PSi acts as a reservoir and supplies carriers to the CSi channel when is exposed to light. It allows for an on/off ratio as high as 8×106. Based on this method authors also demonstrated photon-triggered logic gates and a sub-micron resolution photodetector system.

To read more:
(Contents prepared by Dr. Noelia Vico Trivino and posted by Jr-Hau (JH) He)


August 31, 2017 – Nanophotonic Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) transducers enable chemical composition and thermal conductivity measurements at the nanoscale

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

A near-field cavity optomechanics readout concept has been integrated with picogram-scale probes to realize fully functional AFM detection. This allows achieving high temporal resolution (<10 ns) and picometer vertical displacement uncertainty simultaneously, breaking the trade-off between AFM measurement precision and ability to capture transient events.

Adapted with permission from Nano Lett., Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b02404. Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society.

To read more:
(Contents prepared by Dr. Noelia Vico Trivino and posted by Jr-Hau (JH) He)

February 23, 2016 – Microtubules propelled by surface-adhered kinesin motors perform biocomputationAn international team of researchers has made a breakthrough in the field of biocomputation.

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

By exploiting microtubules propelled by surface-adhered kinesin motors as motile nanoscale agents capable of performing basic computations, the subset sum problem was solved in a highly parallel approach. For more information, see Nicolau Jr. et al. in the Early Access Section of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:


To read more:
(Contents prepared by H. Hess and posted by Y. Tzeng.)


December 25, 2015 – 2-D dichalcogenide MoS2 with PL QY of more than 95% is reported in Science

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Amani et al. recently reported near-perfect two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenide, MoS2 with photoluminescence quantum yield of more than 95% by chemical treatment in a nonoxidizing organic superacid: bis(trifluoromethane) sulfonimide (TFSI), which eliminates defect-mediated nonradiative recombination.

To read more: Near-unity photoluminescence quantum yield in MoS2. Matin Amani, Der-Hsien Lien, Daisuke Kiriya, Jun Xiao, Angelica Azcatl, Jiyoung Noh, Surabhi R. Madhvapathy, Rafik Addou, Santosh KC, Madan Dubey, Kyeongjae Cho, Robert M. Wallace, Si-Chen Lee, Jr-Hau He, Joel W. Ager III, Xiang Zhang, Eli Yablonovitch, Ali Javey. Science 27 November 2015:  Vol. 350 no. 6264 pp. 1065-1068, DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2114

(Posted by Yonhua Tzeng)


December 21, 2015 – Sub-60mV-Swing Negative-Capacitance FinFET without Hysteresis Was Demonstrated for the First Time

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Negative Capacitance FET (NCFET) can be viewed as a FET with built-in voltage amplification. The first ALD ferroelectric HfZrO2 based negative-capacitance FinFET with gate length as small as 30 nm was reported in IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM 2015) in Washington, DC USA. Small-signal voltage was amplified by 1.6X maximum at the internal gate with the sub-threshold swing improved from 87 to 55mV/decade. ION increased by >25% for the IOFF.


To read more: IEDM15-621 Paper #22.6.2

Sub-60mV-Swing Negative-Capacitance FinFET without Hysteresis”

Kai-Shin Li(1), Pin-Guang Chen(2, 3), Tung-Yan Lai1, Chang-Hsien Lin(1), Cheng-Chih Cheng(3), Chun-Chi Chen(1), Yun-Jie Wei(1), Yun-Fang Hou(1), Ming-Han Liao(2), Min-Hung Lee(3), Min-Cheng Chen(1), Jia-Min Sheih(1), Wen-Kuan Yeh(1), Fu-Liang Yang(4), Sayeef Salahuddin(5), Chenming Hu(5)

(1) National Nano Device Laboratories, National Applied Research Laboratories, Hsinchu, Taiwan. (2) Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. (3) Institute of Elecro-Optical Science and Technology, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan. (4) Research Center for Applied Sci., Academia Sinica, Taipei,Taiwan. (5) Dept. of Electrical Eng. and Computer Science, University of California, Berkeley, USA; Tel: +886-3-572-6100 ext. 7706, Fax: +886-3-572-6109, Email:

(Posted by Yonhua Tzeng)


December 14, 2015 – NIST Measured Nanoscale (16 nm) Features with Fractions of Light (450 nm)

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

By combining standard through-the-lens viewing with a technique called scatterfield imaging, the NIST team accurately measured patterned features on a silicon wafer that were 30 times smaller than the wavelength of light (450 nanometers) used to examine them. They reported that measurements of the etched lines—as thin as 16 nanometers wide—on the SEMATECH-fabricated wafer were accurate to one nanometer.

Nanophotonics 0 NIST

credit: NIST/Barnes
(Recommended by Ed Perkins, posted by Yonhua Tzeng)

To  read more:

  2. J. Qin, R.M. Silver, B.M. Barnes, H. Zhou, R.G. Dixson, and M.A.Henn,”Deep-subwavelength Nanometric Image Reconstruction using Fourier Domain Optical Normalization.” Light: Science & Applications. Article preview Nov. 5, 2015; e16038. To download:


June 20, 2015 – Nano Modeling and Simulation – IEEE NTC Technical Committee

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

The Modeling and Simulation technical committee focuses on topics associated with the formulation, development and use of theoretical models for the understanding and design of nanotechnological systems for engineering applications in a wide spectrum of human society. For this purpose, it addresses technical issues related to the development of numerical codes requiring basic software as well as large-scale computational resources such as density functional theory, tight binding methods, self-consistent Poisson-Schrödinger solver, Monte Carlo simulation, non-equilibrium green function techniques, molecular dynamics to name a few. Among the current and latest topics of investigation are modeling of nanoscale electronic and photonic devices and systems, advanced devices made of new low-dimensionality materials such as graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides, spintronic devices and bio-nanoelectronic devices for molecular manipulation and sensing.

nano pore

Schematic of a Graphene field effect membrane Transistor containing a nanopore for DNA sequencing (after

Anuj Girdhar, Chaitanya Sathe, Klaus Schulten and Jean-Pierre Leburton,  PNAS, 110 (42) pp.1648-1653 (2013))

(Submitted by Jean-Pierre Leburton, posted by Yonhua Tzeng)


June 10, 2015 – NIST’s ‘Nano-Raspberries’ Could Bear Fruit in Fuel Cells

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a fast, simple process for making platinum “nano-raspberries”—microscopic clusters of nanoscale particles of the precious metal. The berry-like shape is significant because it has a high surface area, which is helpful in the design of catalysts. Even better news for industrial chemists: the researchers figured out when and why the berry clusters clump into larger bunches of “nano-grapes.”

NIST Platinum Resterberry

Read more