Engineers led by David B. Janes (Electrical and
Computer Engineering) have created the first
"active matrix" display using a new class of
transparent transistors and circuits, a step
toward realizing applications such as e-paper,
flexible color monitors and "heads-up" displays
in car windshields. The transistors are made of
"nanowires," tiny cylindrical structures that are
assembled on glass or thin films of flexible
plastic. The researchers used nanowires as small
as 20 nanometers - a thousand times thinner
than a human hair - to create a display
containing organic light emitting diodes, or
OLEDS. The OLEDS are devices that rival the
brightness of conventional pixels in flat-panel
television sets, computer monitors and displays
in consumer electronics.
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
Researchers from the Birck Nanotechnology
Center are the first to precisely measure the
forces required to peel tiny nanotubes off of
other materials, opening up the possibility of
creating standards for nano-manufacturing and
harnessing a gecko's ability to walk up walls.
These so-called "peel tests" are used extensively
in manufacturing. Knowing how much force is
needed to pull a material off of another
material is essential for manufacturing. Arvind
Raman (Mechanical Engineering), and his
research team are trying to learn about the
physics behind the "stiction," or how the tiny
structures stick to other materials, to
manufacture everything from nanoelectronics
to composite materials, "nanotweezers" to
medical devices using nanotubes, nanowires
and biopolymers such as DNA and proteins.
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
“Solid-state lighting” based on lightemitting diodes, or LEDs, is a
technology that is several times more
efficient than conventional
incandescent lights and more
environmentally friendly than compact
fluorescent bulbs. Timothy D. Sands
(Materials Engineering and Electrical
and Computer Engineering) and his
collaborators are working on
nanotechnology approaches to making
LED lamps affordable. These LED lamps
are expected to be far longer lasting
than conventional lighting, perhaps
lasting as long as 15 years before
burning out. This lighting technology
has the potential to cut electricity
consumption by 10 percent if widely
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
Babak Ziaie (Electrical and Computer
Engineering) is creating a wireless device
designed to be injected into tumors to give
doctors the precise dose of radiation received
and locate the exact position of tumors during
treatment. Ziaie is leading a team that has
tested a prototype "wireless implantable
passive micro-dosimeter" and said the device
could be in clinical trials in 2010. The prototype
is enclosed in a glass capillary small enough to
inject into a tumor with a syringe.
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
“Optical cloaking” may one day become a
reality thanks to research at the Birck
Nanotechnology Center. Vladimir Shalaev
(Electrical and Computer Engineering) and his
research team have created a theoretical design
that uses an array of tiny needles radiating
outward from a central spoke. The design,
which resembles a round hairbrush, would bend
light around the object being cloaked.
Background objects would be visible but not the
object surrounded by the cylindrical array of
nano-needles. Although this particular design
would work only for one frequency, it still might
have applications, such as producing a cloaking
system to make soldiers invisible to night-vision
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
Chad Jafvert (Civil Engineering) suggests
synthetic carbon molecules called fullerenes,
or buckyballs, have a high potential of being
accumulated in animal tissue, but the
molecules also appear to break down in
sunlight, perhaps reducing their possible
environmental dangers. Buckyballs may see
widespread use in future products and
applications, from drug-delivery vehicles for
cancer therapy to ultrahard coatings and
military armor, chemical sensors and
hydrogen-storage technologies for batteries
and automotive fuel cells.
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
Jason Vaughn Clark (Electrical and
Computer Engineering and Mechanical
Engineering) has created a tiny
motorized positioning device that has
twice the dexterity of similar devices
being developed for applications that
include biological sensors and more
compact, powerful computer hard
drives. The device, called a monolithic
comb drive, might be used as a
"nanoscale manipulator" that precisely
moves or senses movement and forces.
The devices also can be used in watery
environments for probing biological
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
Ashraf Alam (Electrical and Computer
Engineering) and Kaushik Roy (Electrical and
Computer Engineering) have overcome a major
obstacle in producing transistors from networks
of carbon nanotubes, a technology that could
make it possible to print circuits on plastic sheets
for applications including flexible displays and an
electronic skin to cover an entire aircraft to
monitor crack formation.
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
Beginning with the concept of a silicon-based
quantum computer chip based on an
individual impurity atom, Gerhard Klimeck
(Electrical and Computer Engineering) and his
research team developed an updated version
of the nano-electronics modeling program
NEMO 3-D to simulate the material at the
scale of 3 million atoms. What does this
mean? Quantum computers, able to process
exponentially more information than existing
computers, are one step closer to becoming
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
Researchers are developing a miniature
refrigeration system small enough to fit
inside laptops and personal computers, a
cooling technology that would boost
performance while shrinking the size of
computers. Suresh Garimella (Mechanical
Engineering) showed that unlike
conventional cooling systems, which use a
fan to circulate air through finned devices
called heat sinks attached to computer
chips, miniature refrigeration would
dramatically increase how much heat
could be removed.
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
Engineers at the Birck Nanotechnology Center
have shown how to grow forests of tiny
cylinders called carbon nanotubes onto the
surfaces of computer chips to enhance the flow
of heat at a critical point where the chips
connect to cooling devices called heat sinks. The
carpetlike growth of nanotubes has been shown
to outperform conventional "thermal interface
materials." Like those materials, the nanotube
layer does not require elaborate clean-room
environments, representing a possible low-cost
manufacturing approach to keep future chips
from overheating and reduce the size of cooling
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
Masa Rao (Mechanical and Materials
Engineering) researches micrometer-scale
needles to ensure painless injection & fluid
sampling. Potential applications involve
improved glucose regulation for diabetes,
transdermal drug delivery, novel cancer
therapies, and electrodes for neural epiretinal
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
One feature of regenerative nanomedicine
includes a cell-by-cell repair approach. Using
self-assembling “programmable, multilayered, MRI imagable, antibody or peptideguided magnetic nanoparticles, James Leary
(Basic Medical Sciences, and Biomedical
Engineering) focuses on targeting cells for
more precise drug/gene delivery systems. This
approach includes manufacturing therapeutic
genes inside a living cell using its own extra
DNA and RNA precursors as raw materials and
controlled by a molecular biosensor to deliver
exactly the right amount of therapy to each
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
Researchers from IBM and Purdue University
have discovered that tiny structures called silicon
nanowires might be ideal for manufacturing in
future computers and consumer electronics
because they form the same way every time. The
researchers used an instrument called a
transmission electron microscope (TEM) to watch
how nanowires made of silicon "nucleate," or
begin to form, before growing into wires. Eric
Stach’s (Materials Engineering) research team
showed the nucleation process can be likened to
the beginning of ice forming in a pool of water
placed in a freezer. The liquid undergoes a
"phase transition," changing from the liquid to the
solid phase.
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
Researchers have created a precise biosensor for
detecting blood glucose and potentially many other
biological molecules by using hollow structures called
single-wall carbon nanotubes anchored to goldcoated "nanocubes."
The device resembles a tiny cube-shaped tetherball.
Each tetherball is a sensor and is anchored to
electronic circuitry by a nanotube, which acts as both
a tether and ultrathin wire to conduct electrical
signals. Timothy Fisher (Mechanical Engineering),
Marshall Porterfield (Agricultural and Biological
Engineering) and graduate students said the
technology, which detects glucose more precisely
than any biosensors in development, also might be
used in medicine to detect other types of biological
molecules and in future biosensors for scientific
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
These images were taken from a video illustrating a
new technique that uses a laser and holograms to
precisely position clusters of numerous tiny particles
within seconds, representing a potential new tool to
analyze biological samples or create devices using
"nanoassembly." The red dots are individual particles.
Researchers at the Birck Nanotechnology Center have
developed a technique that uses a laser and holograms
to precisely position numerous tiny particles within
seconds, representing a potential new tool to analyze
biological samples or create devices using
nanoassembly. Steven T. Wereley’s (Mechanical
Engineering) team used a technique, called rapid
electrokinetic patterning, which is a potential alternative
to existing technologies because the patterns can be
more quickly and easily changed.
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park
Engineers at Purdue and Stanford
universities have created stretchable
electrodes to study how cardiac muscle
cells, neurons and other cells react to
mechanical stresses from heart attacks,
traumatic brain injuries and other
The devices are made by injecting a
liquid alloy made of indium and gallium
into thin microchannels between two
sheets of a plastic polymer. Babak
Ziaie’s (Electrical and Computer
Engineering) team designed a simple
and cost-effective process for
fabricating these stretchable platforms
Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park

Nanotechnology Research in Discovery Park