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

Amanda Petford-LongAs I compose this note, I am looking out at a sunny sky and unseasonably warm weather. Despite the current pleasant weather, we have already experienced two early closings of the Laboratory as a result of heavy snow. I ask for your understanding that on these occasions we are required to close the CNM to users, since the staff is not present to support user activities or building operations.

The planned maintenance period held during the first week of January was very productive. Facilities for the cleanroom Bio Bay were installed, and preventative maintenance was carried out on the acid exhaust system, the building's uninterruptable power supply, and the high-purity water system. In addition, a new video wall was installed in the user lounge that provides a greater range of functionality. The video wall is used for the many tours and visits that the CNM hosts, and is an excellent forum for displaying the outstanding staff and user science being performed at CNM.

The CNM is currently between DOE program review cycles, and we are therefore undergoing a strategic planning exercise, looking at the research themes and topics being pursued within the core science program at CNM. We recently held a very successful core science retreat where all staff scientists gave brief presentations of their research and followed up the presentations with breakout discussions on our scientific overarching themes.

On the staffing front, we are delighted to welcome Ian McNulty as the new group leader for the X-ray Microscopy Group. Ian joins CNM from the Advanced Photon Source, where he had been on the staff since 1992. Also the CNM recently closed its annual call for Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowships, and the selection committee is reviewing the many outstanding application packages for the two fellowship openings.

I'm looking forward to meeting many more of you at the upcoming Users Meeting this May and getting your feedback on ways to improve the overall user experience. Please read below for more details about the exciting events that will take place during the meeting.

Amanda Petford-Long, CNM Director

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Call for Proposals Deadline: March 9, 2012

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 7-10, 2012

The next Argonne APS/CNM/EMC Users Meeting takes place on May 7-10, 2012. Thematic workshops on energy systems, imaging, and interfacial biological/environmental systems 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, poster sessions, a vendor expo, short courses, and social events. Users are invited to contribute poster presentations of their results, and there will be a best student poster competition. Complete meeting details are available online.

NUFO Exhibit Spring 2012

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 again have been invited by several members of Congress to hold an exhibition on Capitol Hill to educate members and staff about the important role that scientific user facilities play in science education, economic competitiveness, fundamental knowledge, and scientific achievements. The exhibition will take place March 28-29, 2012.

Next CNM Maintenance Shutdown Period

To better ensure reliable instrument availability at CNM, defined maintenance periods occur three times per calendar year. During these times the CNM is not available for onsite user activities. The maintenance periods, lasting a maximum of one week each, are used to perform preventive maintenance on the scientific instruments and their support equipment. In addition, the facility's operating infrastructure systems will undergo preventive maintenance that will help avoid unplanned shutdowns. The maintenance periods occur at these times:

  • First week in January following the December holiday break
  • Last week in May before the Memorial Day holiday break
  • First week in September following the Labor Day holiday break

CNM Awarded Prestigious LEED Green Building Certification

The CNM has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver status for its efficient energy, lighting, water, and material use as well as for incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. LEED is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. It was established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED-certified buildings save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers, and the larger community.

2011 Tax Information for Users Visiting the United States

The Fermilab Users' Executive Committee is providing tax information for users visiting the United States in 2011 on B-1, F, J-1 Visa Waiver, and other temporary visa status. It is based on a presentation given by KPMG and will be available only until April 17, 2012. It includes a recording of the KPMG presentation, a copy of the PowerPoint presentation, and a link to IRS Publication 4011 for Foreign Students and Scholars. Additional tax-related materials are also available online.

User Notes

Acknowledgment of the use of DOE user facilities in scientific publications and technical presentations is vital for their future sustainability. An acknowledgment statement must be included in all published reports of work conducted at CNM. (Review the guidance.)

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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Nanostructured electrodes for rechargeable sodium-ion batteries

Highly efficient 3V cathodes for rechargeable sodium-ion batteries were developed by users from several of Argonne's divisions, as well as the University of Chicago, together with the CNM NanoBio Interfaces Group. With a near-theoretical capacity of 250 mAh/g, excellent rate capability, and cycle life, as well as high energy and power densities of 760 Wh/kg and 1200 W/kg, respectively, these bilayered V2O5 systems can be used in applications at ambient temperature. Sodium-based batteries are particularly attractive alternatives to lithium-based batteries because sodium is a cheap, nontoxic, and abundant element that is uniformly distributed around the world. Ex situ and in situ synchrotron studies revealed that sodium ion uptake induces organization of the layered vanadia structure together with appearance of long-range order between the layers. Upon deintercalation of sodium, the long-range order is lost while the intralayer structure is still preserved. Inducing ordering of nanomaterials in operando has thus allowed the realization of the highest possible electrode capacity by optimizing the balance of electrostatic forces.

Electrostatic attrction of electrochemically altered V2O5 layers

Electrostatic attraction of electrochemically altered V2O5 layers provides a strong driving force for Na+.

S.Tepavcevic et al., "Nanostructured Bilayered Vanadium Oxide Electrodes for Rechargeable Sodium-Ion Batteries," ACS Nano, 6, 530 (2012).

Single-particle spectroscopy reveals role of surface defects

Photoinduced interfacial electron transfer (ET) from covalently bound molecules or particles to a semiconductor oxide plays a critical role in solar cells, photocatalysis, and molecular electronics. Titania surfaces are a key factor influencing photoinduced charge injection processes from covalently bound chromophores. However, the dependence of ET on TiO2 structure, defects, and facets remains poorly understood because of the multitude of binding sites. To correlate TiO2 surface features with ET, users from Argonne's Materials Science Division and Northwestern University, together with CNM's Nanophotonics Group, compared the photoinduced ET dynamics from single quantum dots (QDs) to polycrystalline TiO2 thin films (pc-TiO2) grown by atomic layer deposition with that of porous TiO2 nanoparticle films (np-TiO2) by using single-particle fluorescence spectroscopy. Unlike the broad distribution of ET rates on np-TiO2, QDs on pc-TiO2 exhibit two ET rates that are attributed to reduced site heterogeneity. Combined with annealing studies of pc-TiO2 preparation, this study reveals the role of the surface defects in photoinduced ET processes for the first time.

Photoinduced electron transfer

Schematic of photoinduced interfacial electron transfer from quantum dots to nanoparticle TiO2 and polycrystalline TiO2 thin film.

S. Jin, A. B. F. Martinson, and G. P. Wiederrecht, J. Phys. Chem. C, 116(4), 3097-3104 (2012)

Modified ferroelectric material provides a new nanoscale conduction path

Facility users from Rutgers University together with the CNM's Electronic & Magnetic Materials & Devices Group have identified two-dimensional sheets of charge formed at the boundaries of ferroelectric domains in a multiferroic material. These 2D sheets of charge are not pinned by unstable defects, chemical dopants, or structural interface, but are formed naturally as the inevitable by-products of topological vortices in this multiferroic material. The team focused on hexagonal HoMnO3, which is a multiferroic material in which antiferromagnetism and ferroelectricity coexist and magnetic, electric, and mechanical forces can be coupled to one another. In situ conductive atomic force microscopy, piezo-response force microscopy, and Kelvin-probe force microscopy at low temperatures measured the material properties. The discovery is an important step in understanding the semiconducting properties of the domains and domain walls in small-gap ferroelectrics. It also suggests a new and natural platform for exploring transport of charge carriers confined at interfaces or surfaces, which is one of the major playgrounds in condensed matter physics for emergent phenomena.

W. Wu et al., “Conduction of topologically-protected charged ferroelectric domain walls,” Phys. Rev. Lett., 108, 077203 (2012). (online)

(top) PFM image at 300 K (bottom) schematic of ferroelectric domain walls according to PFM (overlaid) and its derivative images. Colored lines represent different domain walls; the arrows indicate in-plane polarization orientation.

SPM images of cleaved h-HoMnO3 (110): (top) PFM image of in-plane ferroelectric domains (oriented vertical) and (bottom) conductive AFM image showing enhanced conduction along tail-to-tail domain walls; images span 4 µm on a side.

On-chip microwave interferometer measures single magnetic nanowire

Ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) is the main technique for investigating the magnetization dynamics of patterned magnetic structures that are of interest for high-speed memory, magnetic storage, and signal-processing applications. The sensitivity of conventional transmission-line-based FMR approaches are either inadequate for single nanoscale magnetic structures or else they introduce background common mode noise. In this study, an on-chip microwave interferometer suitable for high-sensitivity nanoscale magnetic material characterization was developed by users from Clemson University working collaboratively with the Nanofabrication & Devices Group. The device automatically cancels background parasitic common mode noise. The magnetization dynamics of a 240-nm-wide, 5-µm-long, and 70-nm-thick single permalloy nanowire was investigated in particular. Full wave three-dimensional simulations show that the device has the capability of studying the fundamental physics of nanoscale magnetic devices.

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SEM of permalloy nanowire

SEM image of the permalloy nanowire under test.

H. Zhang, R. Divan, and P. Wang, "Ferromagnetic resonance of a single magnetic nanowire measured with an on-chip microwave interferometer," Rev. Sci. Instrum., 82, 054704 (2011)

Heating/Cooling Specimen Stage for the Hard X-Ray Nanoprobe

A newly installed heating/cooling specimen stage for the Hard X-Ray Nanoprobe beamline provides new capabilities to select and scan sample temperature over a wide range in situ while characterizing advanced nanoscale materials. The system has two-source temperature control that provides a continuous temperature scanning range of 90-550K at 0.005K precision. Sample position changes due to temperature stepping is less than 100 nm/K and can be calibrated to a repeatability of less than 5 nm/K, with an absolute position drift of less than 10 nm/hr relative to the beam axis. Four channels of user electronic feedthrough provide external manipulation of electric field, resistance, and capacitive measurements. The combination of precision control over sample environment together with high-sensitivity nondestructive probes of local ordering and chemistry allows the study of critical phenomena near phase transitions.

In the example of the metal-to-insulator transition of VO2 shown at right, users from UC-San Diego in collaboration with CNM's X-Ray Microscopy Group directly observed nanoscale fluctuations of the structural phase transition decoupling from the electronic phase transition near the transition temperature, an important result with implications relating to the fundamental physics of correlated electron systems. Research into the unique nanoscale materials response of phase-active and nonequilibrium energy systems is therefore possible.

The new heating/cooling specimen stage module for the Hard X-Ray Nanoprobe was designed by Natana Inc. in collaboration with Xradia Inc. and the CNM X-Ray Microscopy Group.

Data at the right taken from M. Qazilbash et al., "Nanoscale imaging of the electronic and structural transitions in vanadium dioxide," Phys. Rev. B, 83, 165108 (2011)

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Heating/cooling specimen stage

Heating/cooling specimen stage module

Structural phase nuclearion and growth

Structural phase nucleation and growth within the metal-to-insulator transition of VO2 showing previously unpredicted chaotic nanoscale backswitching of the structural phase transition relative to the electronic transition.

Ian McNulty

Ian McNulty joined the CNM in January as Leader of the X-Ray Microscopy Group. Ian comes to us from the X-Ray Science Division at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), where he led the X-ray coherent imaging program at APS Beamline 2-ID-B. Ian's research focuses on nanomagnetic materials and orbital angular momentum with emphasis on X-ray coherent diffractive imaging and nanofocusing optics. Ian is active on several review and advisory panels and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology.

Seth Darling

Seth Darling of the Electronic & Magnetic Materials & Devices Group and his collaborative user, Prof. Rafael Verduzco from Rice University, were awarded a grant from the Shell Center for Sustainability. The Shell Center creates an interdisciplinary program of research, outreach, and education to ensure sustainable development, and supports Rice University's faculty, staff, and students to improve the planet's economy, society, and environment. The grant will be used to support a graduate student to work on the synthesis of block copolymers for organic photovoltaics applications.

Ani Sumant

Ani Sumant of the Nanofabrication & Devices Group is organizing a symposium on "Nanostructured Carbon Materials for MEMS/NEMS and Nanoelectronics" at the International Materials Research Congress (IMRC) in Cancun, Mexico, August 13-17, 2012. Included will be fundamental studies on synthesis, characterization, and new properties of nano- and ultranano-crystalline diamond, carbon nanotubes, and graphene; theoretical and modeling studies; fabrication and integration; and success stories about the transition of particular technologies from the laboratory to industry. More information is available online.

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