Argonne National Laboratory Center for Nanoscale Materials U.S. Department of Energy

Amanda Petford-LongI am writing this note to you from my office at the CNM, looking out on the remnants of the heaviest snowstorm Chicago has experienced in decades. It is greatly to the credit of the facilities staff at Argonne that the Lab was closed for only one day, with minimum disruption to our user and staff activities.

As always, we have welcomed a wide range of users and visitors over the past few months and it has been a busy period for the CNM, with well over 400 users accessing our facilities during FY 2010. In October, we hosted a visit from the new DOE Program Manager for the Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs), Dr. Mihal Gross. Mihal's visit coincided with a workshop on Raman spectroscopy, organized by staff scientist Dave Gosztola and CNM user Vic Maroni. The workshop was very successful; of particular note is that there was at least one invited speaker from each of the five NSRCs (see summary).

One of my goals for 2011 is to increase our outreach to the industrial user community. We already have a small number of industrial users; I am delighted that we are able to support national industry in this way and look forward to further increasing our impact on industrial nanoscience and nanotechnology interests.

The articles below include mention of some recent awards. Elena Shevchenko received a prestigious PECASE award; the only other Argonne scientist to receive this award was Dillon Fong, who is currently serving as the Chair of the CNM Users' Executive Committee. Jeff Greeley was awarded time on the BlueGene/P computer in Argonne's Leadership Computing Facility. Bruce Stockmeier was invited to participate in an National Nanotechnology Initiative workshop and also received a Director's Award for his contributions to the design of the Energy Sciences Building that will house multidisciplinary programs across Argonne. In addition, Jorg Maser shared a patent for the development of multidimensional alignment mechanisms for multilayer Laue lenses that can be used for hard X-ray focusing. I would also like to take this opportunity to mention the CNM Distinguished Postdoc Fellowship Program - there are four fellows in place now, and we are in the process of selecting another in 2011.

I have now completed a full year as director and am continuing to enjoy the daily challenges that this position brings. The CNM is a very exciting place in which to work, and I am immensely proud of the staff and their support for our outstanding user program, to which so many of you contribute.

Amanda Petford-Long, CNM Director

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Call for Proposals Deadline: March 4, 2011

The system is now open for submissions. We look forward to the possibility of hosting your exciting and innovative nanoscience and nanotechnology projects. (More >>)

CNM Users Meeting May 2-5, 2011

The next CNM Users Meeting will be held in conjunction with Argonne Users Week, May 2-5, 2011. Thematic workshops will highlight, promote, and stimulate user science from the CNM, the Advanced Photon Source and Electron Microscopy Center. In addition, there will be keynote and plenary science lectures, facility-specific workshops, facility status updates and tours, poster sessions, a vendor expo, short courses, and social events. (More >>)

Workshop February 24-25, 2011

The CNM is hosting a workshop on "Materials to Enable Low-Power Non-Volatile Memories: Oxides and Beyond" on February 24-25, 2011.  New materials relevant for energy applications, especially for low-power electronics, will be the focus.  Invited presentations, a poster session, discussions, and tours are planned to foster collaborations between researchers in industry, academia, and national laboratories, spanning fundamental materials to device-oriented research. (More >>)

Workshop October 22-23, 2010

The CNM hosted a highly successful workshop and training course on "Applications of Raman Microscopy to Nanoscience" on October 22-23, 2010. Invited scientific presentations included keynote lectures and nanoscale materials, nanoscale devices, and nanotechnology projects advanced by exploiting Raman spectroscopy at all five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers. (More >>)

NUFO Exhibit Spring 2011

The National User Facility Organization (NUFO) represents the interests of users who conduct research at U.S. national scientific user facilities. NUFO seeks to provide a unified message at the national level on issues of resources for science, economic competitiveness, and education for the next-generation scientific workforce. Facilities, including the CNM, have been invited by several members of Congress to hold an exhibition on Capitol Hill to educate members and staff about the research being conducted at national user facilities, as well as the ultimate benefit of this research to the United States. The exhibition is slated to take place in early April 2011.

Nanocarbon Synthesis Capabilities Expanded

Complementing its nanocrystalline diamond synthesis capabilities, the CNM has recently added carbon nanotube and graphene to its nanocarbon synthesis suite. The diverse array of nanocarbon synthetic techniques exists within the Nanofabrication & Devices clean room facilities. For example, single- and multilayer graphene can be made on large (4-in.-diameter) wafers using the Atomate thermal CVD system. (More >>)

User Notes

The CNM Users' Executive Committee acts as the liaison between the CNM user community and CNM management. They are receptive to comments from the general user community anytime, including suggestions for future workshops or short courses. Suggestions and comments may also be sent to the CNM User Office.

Acknowledgment of the use of DOE user facilities such as the CNM in scientific publications and technical presentations is critical to their future sustainability. Review the guidance here.

We are excited to chronicle the scientific advancements of CNM's users by your user activity reports. Since time is becoming more competitive, completion of reports on past projects is now required for consideration of new proposals.

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Ultrafast Transparency in Plasmonic Nanorods

Closely spaced plasmonic gold nanorods produce an ultrafast transmission change when illuminated with a low-energy optical pulse, as demonstrated by users from the University of North Florida and King's College London working with the Nanophotonics Group. The key discovery is that the closely spaced nanorod material exhibits nonlocality of an optical response, which has an unusually strong nonlinear dependence on incident light intensity. This research has potential implications in optical components for superfast computers. The new metamaterial with its designed nanorod stack structure allows light beams to interact efficiently and change intensity, thereby offering the potential for information to be sorted by beams of light at very high speeds. (More >>)

Gold Nanorods

SEM image of the plasmonic gold nanorod metamaterial assembly

G. A. Wurtz et al., Nature Nanotechnology, in press (2011).

Multilayer Laue Lens Fabrication

Users from NSLS-II and the Advanced Photon Source, working with the Nanofabrication & Devices Group, explored a reactive ion etching technique for sectioning multilayer Laue lenses (MLLs). MLLs have a very large aspect ratio and optimal mechanical stability, which make them highly desirable as next-generation focusing elements for hard X-ray synchrotron beamlines. The researchers defined sample preparation processes for WSi2/Si multilayers by using photolithography methods. Etching recipes achieved anisotropic etching of the multilayers over several microns thick. Reactive ion etching therefore offers an alternative to traditional TEM-like preparation in shorter times and with a greater variety of shapes, which may enhance their mechanical stability. Furthermore, sectioning of MLL optics without mechanical damage, as is typically introduced during physical polishing, allows sectioning of extremely thick multilayers.

Characterization of Multilayer Laue Lensw with Reactive Ion Etching

WSi2/Si multilayer Laue lens anisotropically etched using fluorine/chlorine-based gas chemistry

N. Bouet et al., Proc. SPIE, 7802, 780203 (2010).

Complexity in Core-Shell Nanomagnets

The magnetic exchange bias coupling between core and shell depends critically on the “frozen spins” that reside at the interface between the two different magnetic nanomaterials, according to users from Purdue University working with the Electronic & Magnetic Materials & Devices Group. The relative population of such frozen spins can be modulated by external physical parameters, such as the strength of the applied cooling field and the cycling history of magnetic field sweeps (training effect). A more complex change occurs when core-shell nanoparticles are aged under ambient conditions. Along with structural evolution from well-defined core-shell nanostructures to nanoparticles containing multiple voids at the interface, there is a significant increase in the population of frozen spins, both of which affect the magnetic properties.

Iron core-shell nanoparticle


TEM image of Fe@Fe3O4 core-shell magnetic nanoparticles: Fe-map

Q.K. Ong, X.M. Lin, and A. Wei, J. Phys. Chem. C, 11, ASAP (2011). (online)

Diffusion in nanoscale ceramic grain boundaries

Insights into the mechanisms of fission product release from TRISO-coated fuel particles were obtained by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison using CNM's supercomputing cluster ("Carbon"). Diffusion of silver and cesium in stable SiC grain boundaries was studied by using density functional theory, and mechanisms and rates of point defects and defect clusters were investigated. Diffusion of silver along selected SiC grain boundaries was orders of magnitude faster than diffusion through crystalline grains of SiC. Knowledge of fundamental parameters controlling silver transport can be used to build predictive models of fission product release under various conditions, such as radiation, changes in microstructure, and temperature. The goal is to provide guidance for the design of coatings with superior capabilities for retention of fission products in a reactor.

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SiC grain boundaries

Atomic structure of SiC grain boundaries: (top) asymmetric and (bottom) symmetric. The diffusion of silver along the Y [011] and X [111] axes was investigated.

I. Szlufarska et al., Trans. Amer. Nucl. Soc., San Diego, CA (2010)

Integrated Glovebox System for Organic Optoelectronics

A new glovebox system has been installed and brought up to full operation. This system includes a spin coater, two vacuum ovens, and a three-source thermal evaporator, which together enable the complete fabrication of organic optoelectronic devices within an inert (nitrogen) atmosphere. Multiple antechambers make insertion and removal of materials and small equipment easy. The gloveboxes are also equipped with electrical feedthroughs and quartz windows for potential future in situ device characterization as well as a custom-made jig that can encapsulate organic photovoltaic devices in a sealed environment for ex situ characterization without fear of degradation.

The integrated glovebox system is a key addition to the CNM's solar energy research efforts and complements the photovoltaics characterization suite including a solar simulator, quantum efficiency measurement system, capacitance-voltage measurement apparatus, and various spectrometers. Contact Seth Darling of the Electronic and Magnetic Materials & Devices Group for more information.

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integrated glovebox system

Integrated glovebox system for the fabrication of organic optoelectronic devices

organic solar cell

Organic solar cell fabricated in the glovebox system and its current-voltage performance as measured on the solar simulator

Elena Shevchenko

Elena Shevchenko received one of the latest Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the nation's highest honor for researchers in the beginning stages of their independent research careers. She was selected by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for her contributions to meeting America's scientific and technological missions and the country's economic, energy, health, and security needs. A member of the NanoBio Interfaces Group, Elena achieved wide recognition for her work in the design and synthesis of nanoparticle assemblies and how nanoparticles self-organize to form more complicated materials. She was also named to Crain's Chicago Business "40-Under-40: Making a Difference in Chicago" for 2010. (More >>)

Jeff Greeley

Jeffrey Greeley of the Theory & Modeling Group was awarded 15 million hours of computing time on Argonne’s Blue Gene/P (“Intrepid”) supercomputer to continue an investigation of materials at the nanoscale. Greeley leads a collaboration seeking to gain a comprehensive, first-principles-based picture of how the catalytic and electronic properties of a diverse array of metal nanoparticles evolve. Such information will ultimately assist in the design of enhanced nanocatalysts. DOE's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program was established to support computationally intensive, large-scale research projects.

Bruce Stockmeier

Bruce Stockmeier, CNM's Principal ES&H Manager, has been invited to participate in a National Nanotechnology Initiative workshop, “Bridging NanoEHS Research Efforts: A Joint US-EU Workshop,” on March 10-11, 2011, in Washington, DC. The workshop will include researchers, industry representatives, public health stakeholders, and regulatory scientists in an international cooperative effort to review current regulatory experiences and targeted research needs as seen through the lens of development, production, and product review. The event will cover the areas of human health, environment, exposure assessment, and the fate of nanoparticles. Bruce will serve as a subject matter expert in the Industrial Risk Management session.

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