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

Andreas Roelofs, Argonne National LaboratoryPlease join me in thanking Argonne Distinguished Fellow Amanda Petford-Long for her more than four years of successfully leading the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) and establishing the Nanoscience and Technology (NST) Division at Argonne. Amanda stepped down as division director last March to lead an Argonne initiative on imaging and visualization, and she also resumed her role as a senior scientist in the Materials Science Division. I was pleased to accept the role as Interim NST Division Director and Interim CNM Facility Director. I can assure you that Argonne is working toward filling the NST Division Director position permanently; for details on the search status, please refer to the User Matters section of this newsletter. I'm also pleased to say we are at the final interview stage for two new junior hire positions in the Nanophotonics and Theory & Modeling Groups. We look forward to bringing these new scientists on board to round out our full complement of researchers. A CNM Strategic Advisory Committee meeting to be held later this month will provide us with critical input on our five-year strategic plan to ensure that both our staff and the CNM user community are poised to meet future scientific opportunities and challenges.

Another successful and fully integrated APS/CNM/EMC user meeting is under our belts. I am sincerely grateful to the users who presented their high-impact CNM science in the plenary session and workshops, and to the many enthusiastic postdoctoral and student poster presenters. Also the dedication of our staff who organize the workshops, organize and instruct the short courses, and assist young scientists in preparing their posters, many of whom do so year after year, is truly remarkable. The CNM also gratefully acknowledges our outgoing CNM Users Executive Committee (UEC) Chair, Steve May (Drexel University), for his dedicated service to both the CNM and the CNM's user community for the past three years. The Chair naturally holds the bulk of the responsibility and the workload on the UEC, and Steve performed in a stellar capacity. We also thank the other departing members for their service and welcome the new members as they begin. You'll find more details about the user meeting and the UEC changes in the User Matters section.

Plans for the FY2015 integration of the Electron Microscopy Center (EMC) into the CNM as a seventh group continue on schedule. The many synergies between the CNM and EMC science programs make this an exciting development, as we believe it will greatly enhance the experience for both CNM and EMC users. The March 2014 Call for Proposals was the first for which the combined capabilities of both the CNM and EMC were available, and the unified system that was developed to handle this feat performed very well.

Please read on for more news, a sampling of the facility and user sciences highlights, and the latest staff news.

Have a happy and safe summer.

Andreas Roelofs
Interim Division Director

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Katie Carrado Gregar

Katie Carrado Gregar
Manager, CNM User & Outreach Programs

Call for Proposals Deadline: July 11, 2014

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

APS/CNM/EMC Users Meeting Wrap-Up, May 12-15, 2014

Over 500 registrants participated in the wide array of activities available at this annual showcase event. The CNM was involved in workshops that covered Solar Energy at the Nanoscale, Beyond Lithium-Ion Batteries, and Imaging at Nanometer and Picosecond Scales with Ultrafast Coherent X-Rays. The CNM plenary session kicked off with a stimulating keynote address by Federico Capasso (Harvard University) on flat optics with metasurfaces, and continued with several high-impact CNM user science highlights. Other activities included a poster session, a vendor expo with over 50 booths, CNM short courses, and social events. The CNM Best Student Poster prize winners were Jian-Yih Cheng (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Monica So (Northwestern University). Meeting details and photos are available online.

Argonne NST Division Director Search

Argonne National Laboratory is seeking applicants for the position of Director of the Nanoscience and Technology Division. Your assistance in bringing this opening to the attention of qualified individuals within the United States or international community is appreciated. This high-profile position has responsibility for leading approximately 100 employees, including 35 staff Ph.D.s and 25 postdoctoral scholars, as well as serving as facility director of the CNM user facility. For additional information please visit Argonne's Careers site.

NUFO Science Exhibition on Capitol Hill: June 10, 2014

In response to an invitation from the U.S. House Science and National Labs Caucus, the National User Facility Organization (NUFO) held a science exhibition in the Rayburn Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Hands-on demonstrations, videos, and posters in the theme areas of discovery and energy showcased the accomplishments of NUFO users and provided insights on NUFO's role in educating the next-generation scientific workforce. Brief remarks by Patricia Dehmer (Acting Director of the DOE Office of Science) and members of the House Science and National Labs Caucus highlighted the role of user facilities in America's scientific infrastructure. CNM user Mike Zach (University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point) presented a demonstration on growing nanowires. The event was open to the public. More information is available online.

Summer Lab Attire

Now that the summer months are upon us, it's a good time to remind everyone of appropriate lab attire. Recall that in the laboratory wing, sandals, shorts, and sleeveless tops are not allowed. Please plan accordingly, e-mail any questions to the CNM User Office, and have a safe and successful laboratory experience.

Upcoming Meeting of Interest

The International Workshop on Nanoscale Spectroscopy and Nanotechnology takes place in Chicago on July 28-31, 2014. More information is available online.

CNM Maintenance Period, September 8-14, 2014

The next CNM maintenance period is scheduled for September 8 through 14 (Monday to Sunday). During that week, many facilities will be closed to user activities, including the High-Performance Computer Cluster (Carbon) and the Sector 26 beamline. An e-mail with facility updates will be sent to the CNM user community approximately one month in advance. If at that time a tool that you plan to use is not listed, please confirm with your CNM Scientific Contact to what extent it might be affected.

User Notes

Receive news about our latest new, research advances and highlights by following us on Facebook and bookmarking our homepage.

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 highlights. Since time is becoming more competitive, submission of highlights on past projects is now required for consideration of new proposal allocations.

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Self-Assembled Active Bio-Inspired Materials

Self-assembled tunable structures of polymer fibers ranging from wavy colloidal "fur" to highly interconnected networks were created dynamically by CNM users from Argonne's Materials Science Division and their collaborators by using alternating electric fields on "sticky" epoxy colloids. The high-surface-area microstructures are tuned by the frequency and amplitude of the electric field and the surface properties of the particles. Depending on the fabrication conditions, the materials can be tailored into designed arrays of tiny mushroom-pillars, wavy "fur," or dense gel-like networks. These high-surface-area, inexpensive, and versatile materials may have intriguing applications for emerging alternative energy technologies such as electrodes for photovoltaic cells and batteries. Synthesis facilities in the Nanobio Interfaces Group were used during the creation of these materials. Characterization at CNM included the capabilities of FESEM, FTIR, rheometry, and electrophoretic mobility. (More>>)

A. Demortiere et al., Nat. Commun., 5, 3117 (2014);

Flexible and Transparent Thin-Film Transistors

Users from Argonne's High Energy Physics Division, working with CNM researchers, reported 10-atomic-layer-thick, high-mobility, transparent thin film transistors (TFTs) with ambipolar device characteristics fabricated on both a conventional silicon platform as well as on a flexible polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrate. Monolayer graphene served as metal electrodes, 3-4 atomic layers of hexagonal-BN served as the gate dielectric, and bilayers of tungsten diselenide (WSe2) comprised the semiconducting channel material. This study comprises the first report of a two-dimensional transparent TFT fabricated on a flexible substrate along with the highest reported mobility and current on-off ratio values thus far. Electrons travel in these devices about 100 times faster than in amorphous-silicon devices. Such high electron mobility means faster switching transistors, which dictates a display's refresh rate and is necessary for high-quality video, especially three-dimensional video. Fabrication and testing was carried out in the Nanofabrication & Devices cleanroom facility. (More>>)

Flexible, transparent thin-fillm transistors

SEM image of the thin-film transistor fabricated from atomic layers of graphene, hexagonal boron nitride, and tungsten diselenide

S. Das, R. Gulotty, A. V. Sumant, and A. Roelofs, Nano Letters, 14, 2861 (2014).

Nanopatterned UNCD Surfaces for Cell Growth

Freestanding, uniform, nanoporous, ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) membranes were fabricated by users from the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University working with researchers in the Nanofabrication & Devices Group. Arrays with pore sizes of approximately 80, 130, 300, 650, and 1100 nm were fabricated from thin films of UNCD and NCD with grain sizes 5-350 nm using microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition methods. Other CNM capabilities that were exploited to create and characterize the membranes include RIE, sputtering, electron beam and UV lithography, SEM, wet etching, Raman spectroscopy, and FIB. The cell morphology, viability, and proliferation responses of human bone marrow stem cells were then evaluated. Biological studies demonstrated in vitro biocompatibility and in vitro hemocompatibility of NCD coatings, showing their potential for use in orthopaedic, dental, and cardiovascular implants.

UNCD membrane

SEM of a 200-nm thick UNCD membrane with a 80-nm pore array showing an FIB-milled cross-section

R. Divan et al., Microsyst. Technol. (2013). DOI 10.1007/s00542-013-1932-7

Toward Rational Design of Stimuli-Responsive Ion Gels

Molecular dynamics simulations performed by CNM users from the University of Missouri-Columbia and Argonne, working with researchers in the Theory & Modeling Group, explored the conformational dynamics of the thermo-sensitive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) subjected to an ultrafast heating-cooling cycle. The nonequilibrium effects result in a hysteresis during the coil-to-globule transition measured experimentally via vibrational spectroscopy. The simulations suggest that the hysteresis is a consequence of ultrafast heating-cooling kinetics, which allows insufficient relaxation times for the solvated oligomer. The behavior of PNIPAM in water was benchmarked to allow for comparisons with the behavior of PNIPAM in the three different ionic liquids in order to understand solvation effects on the conformational dynamics of PNIPAM across the lower critical solution temperature (LCST). This will enable tuning of PNIPAM's LCST behavior and thus the functional and conformation dynamics towards the development of novel ion gels.

PNIPAM globules

PNIPAM globule conformation during an ultrafast heating-cooling cycle in water

S.A. Deshmukh et al., Soft Matter, 10, 1462-1480 (2014)

Complex Oxide Film Synthesis via Molecular Beam Epitaxy

The oxide molecular Beam epitaxy (MBE) system housed within the EMMD Group is a unique tool, custom designed for creating heterostructures with atomically sharp interfaces. The system, manufactured to specification by DCA, Finland, has extensive flexibility in material selection, and superlattices and heterostructures incorporating a broad range of complex oxides can be synthesized with single-atomic-layer control.

The materials are grown by evaporating metals in an atomic layer-by-layer fashion by using a combination of effusion cells and a four-pocket e-gun evaporator. Pure ozone from a distillation process provides a highly reactive source of oxygen to enable very efficient incorporation of oxygen in the lattice of the growing film, while maintaining the low pressures needed for MBE. The system has typical substrate sizes of 15x15 mm or 7.5x7.5 mm in area, but other sizes may be accommodated upon request.

CNM staff have established growth procedures for several three-dimensional perovskites, including manganites, nickelates, titanates, ferrites, and cobaltates, as well as inverse spinel materials such as Fe3O4. They have also grown very high quality Ruddlesden-Popper phases of some of these materials.

For more information about the chamber and its capabilities, contact Anand Bhattacharya

TEM oCustom oxide MBE system at CNM

Custom oxide MBE system

TEM of layered manganite

STEM image of a layered manganite grown by using the oxide MBE system

Seth Darling at 2014 Argonne Energy Slam

On April 3, 2014, Argonne hosted its first "Energy Slam." Four Argonne researchers each presented for 10 minutes on a different energy source: solar, wind, nuclear, and biofuels. At the end of the presentations, the audience voted via applause on which of the four made the best case. The title of Energy Slam Champion was earned by Seth Darling of CNM's EMMD Group, who supported solar energy conversion.

2014 Argonne Pacesetter Award: Marcia Wood and David Eckstein

Marcia Wood and David Eckstein of the CNM IT and Computer Systems Group received an Argonne Pacesetter Award on June 5, 2014, for creating and implementing a new electronic proposal database architecture system that incorporates capabilities from both the CNM and EMC, under an extremely tight timeframe, without disruption to user operations. Marcia Wood, Group Leader/Principal Analyst, wrote the design specifications, and David Eckstein, Principal Application Developer, developed the code to implement the design. They worked well as a team and also sought input from the EMC, the CNM User Office, and the NST Safety Group throughout the entire process to satisfy all concerns and requirements.

2014 Nanodays

On April 14, 2014, CNM held a NISE Network NanoDays Event for 62 local fifth-grade science students and their teachers. CNM has a strong committment to activities that increase STEM literacy and enthusiasm among students, their families, and educators. NanoDays kits were an excellent resource for this audience, and the ready-made hands-on activities were a huge hit with the students and teachers. The NanoDays kits used included Invisibility, Memory Metal, Capillary Action, Oobleck, Exploring properties: Electric Squeeze, Electroplating, and The Powers of Ten Game. The CNM volunteers were Saptarshi Das, Diana Berman, Adina Luican-Mayer, Carlos Alvarez, Tamara Koritarov, Andreas Roelofs, and Julie Emery.

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