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

Please join us in congratulating Stephen Streiffer as he moves up from Interim CNM Division Director to his new position as Deputy Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences & Engineering here at Argonne. I am pleased to accept the position of Interim Director in his stead. We just completed a successful users meeting last week where I presented the Division Status update describing how the CNM has grown as a facility with a vibrant, active, and stable user community. More details about the users meeting are summarized below in User Matters.

Construction of the new scanning probe microscopy (SPM) building is nearly complete, and it was dedicated in a virtual ceremony at the October Users Meeting. A new low-temperature SPM that CNM is procuring is a multifunctional scanning probe microscope devoted to the high-resolution properties of spin-polarized surfaces at high magnetic fields and low temperatures. This state-of-the-art instrument expands the CNM user programs in nanomagnetism and nanoferroelectrics.

Procurement packages are in place to use American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding that allows us to expand our user program portfolio. These funds are being used for five capabilites:

  1. Expansion of our supercomputing cluster to triple its capacity;
  2. A cleanroom plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) system for deposition of oxides and nitrides;
  3. An upgrade of the near-field scanning optical microscope (NSOM) for significantly faster data acquisition and new imaging methods;
  4. A temperature stage and sample handler for the X-ray nanoprobe; and
  5. A two-color near-infrared transient absorption and emission spectrometer.

These nicely supplement other new equipment that the CNM is acquiring, including a CVD system for deposition of carbon nanotubes (see the Facility Highlight for details) and a field-emission TEM.

Complementary to our new state-of-the-art capabilities, we are fortunate to be able to continue to hire exemplary staff. The latest addition is Harry C. Fry within the Nanobio Interfaces Group.

Please read on for more news about the CNM, and we look forward to seeing you here!

-- Derrick Mancini, Interim Director

Derrick Mancini

back to top

Call for Proposals Deadline: NOW CLOSED

Announcing! The next call-for-proposals deadline is October 30, 2009. Proposal numbers will jump in sequence from approximately 1200 to 20000 because of a planned system upgrade. The system is open for submissions. (More >>)

CNM Users Meeting: October 5-7, 2009

CNM hosted its first stand-alone users meeting this year to better serve its active and robust user community. The CNM Users' Executive Committee planned exciting and popular plenary and science sessions, topical focus sessions, and a poster session. The new CNM SPM Building was dedicated during a "virtual" ceremony, and other events included a two-day vendor exhibit, a variety of short courses, and a banquet. (full program)

Summaries of the Focus Sessions on "Nanostructured Materials for Solar Energy Utilization" and "Materials and Fabrication for Nano Electromechanical Systems (NEMS)" are available in pdf format.

The Best Student Poster Prize went to Sevda Avci of Northern Illinois University for "Matching Effect and Dynamic Phases of Vortex Matter in BSCCO Nanoribbons with a Periodic Array of Holes," co-authored with J. Hua, A. Imre, R. Divan, and Z. Xiao.

Ribbon-cutting at the 2009 CNM Users Meeting

A presentation at the 2009 CM Users Meeting

Posters at 2009 CNM Users Meeting

CNM Users' Executive Committee Elections

The user community elected two new members to the Users' Executive Committee during the Users Meeting: Kristen Buchanan of Colorado State University and John Freeland of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne. CNM profoundly thanks the two departing members for their exemplary service: Chair Gayle Woloschak and Mike Moldovan. (More >>)

Surveys and Publications

The annual DOE-BES User Facilities Questionnaire is complete; we appreciate your responsiveness in returning your surveys and informing us of publications resulting from the use of CNM. Please continue to acknowledge use of the CNM and keep us informed of publications as they are published, according to the guidelines.

New CNM Facility Brochure Available

A multipage, multicolor professional brochure detailing the research, facilities, and capabilities of the CNM debuted at the Users Meeting. (download pdf)

back to top

Highly Luminescent NIR-to-Visible Upconversion Thin Films and Monoliths Requiring No High-Temperature

Users from the University of South Dakota performed confocal upconversion luminescence microscopy measurements on equipment available within the Nanophotonics Group. This work helped confirm highly luminescent composite near-infrared (NIR)-to-visible upconversion thin films made from β-NaYF4:3%Er,17%Yb nanocrystals in a polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) matrix, which require no postdeposition heat treatment. Highly luminescent films are produced that can be varied in thickness down to dimensions approaching those of the nanocrystals themselves. Spectroscopic properties are characterized by NIR-to-visible confocal microscopy and by the time dependence of upconversion luminescence following pulsed NIR excitation. Dispersal of the nanocrystals in PMMA displays no adverse effect on the intrinsic quantum efficiency of upconversion. Further, this thin-film method can be modified to produce large NIR-to-visible upconversion monoliths of high optical quality.

C. Lin, M. T. Berry, R. Anderson, S. Smith, and P. S. May, Chem. Mater., 21(14), pp 3406–3413 (2009)

Upconversion thin film

Confocal-microscope scan of 540-nm upconversion emission (λex = 980 nm) from a 240-nm-thick film of 72-nm-sized β-NaYF4:3%Er,17%Yb nanocrystals in PMMA on a glass slide

Solvent-Free Fabrication of Rare LaCO3OH Luminescent Superstructures

Users from Romania and the Intense Pulsed Neutron Source at Argonne National Laboratory benefited from the use of CNM instrumentation within the Nanobio Interfaces Group to characterize a class of inorganic heterostructures. Lanthanum hydroxycarbonate (LaCO3OH) superstructures [LHS] decorated with carbon spheres were synthesized by a solvent-free, one-pot process called “reactions under autogenic pressure at elevated temperature” (RAPET), dissociating a single lanthanum acetate hydrate (LAH) precursor. Field-emission scanning electron microscopy revealed completely spherical droplets (1 μm) decorating the surface of the plates. Selected area energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analysis identifies these droplets as pure carbon. A mechanism of formation of this system was developed based on this and other supporting information. The plates are 150 nm thick and several micrometers broad. The carbon spheres are physically bound on the LaCO3OH even upon physical or mechanical processing.

V. G. Pol, P. Thiyagarajan, J. M. Calderon-Moreno, and M. Popa, Inorg. Chem., 48 (14), pp 6417–6424 (2009)

Carbon nanospheres on LHS imaged via the CNM FESEM JEOL JSM7500F

Modeling Ethanol Decomposition on Transition Metals: A Combined Application of Scaling and Brønsted-Evans-Polanyi Relations

The supercomputing resources available in the Theory and Modeling Group were used, in conjunction with several other supercomputing resources, by researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the Technical University of Denmark. Applying density functional theory (DFT) calculations to the rational design of catalysts for complex reaction networks has been an ongoing challenge, primarily because of the high computational cost. In this work, well-known Brønsted-Evans-Polanyi (BEP) correlations, connecting minima with maxima in the potential energy surface of elementary steps, in tandem with a scaling relation, connecting binding energies of complex adsorbates with those of simpler ones, is used to develop a potential-energy surface for ethanol decomposition on ten transition metal surfaces. The selectivity and activity on a subset of these surfaces were calculated. Experiments on supported catalysts verify that this simple kinetic model can be used to describe reactivity trends across metals, suggesting that the combination of BEP and scaling relations may substantially reduce the cost of DFT calculations required for identifying reactivity descriptors of more complex reactions.

P. Ferrin, D. Simonetti, S. Kandoi, E. Kunkes, J. A. Dumesic, J. K. Nørskov, M. Mavrikakis, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 131 (16), pp 5809–5815 (2009)

Potential energy surface for C−C and C−O bond-breaking

Surface Scattering Effect on the Electrical Resistivity of Self-Assembled Single-Crystalline Silver Nanowires

Metallic nanowires have applications as high-density interconnects in integrated circuits. However, their resistivity increases with decreasing cross section, and surface and grain boundary scattering contribute to resistivity of interconnects at the nanoscale. Users from the University of Illinois at Chicago working collaboratively with researchers fron the Electronic & Magnetic Materials & Devices Group have isolated the effects of surface scattering from grain boundary scattering. First, single-crystalline trapezoidal silver nanowires are self-assembled on vicinal silicon substrate. Subsequent measurements with the Omicron UHV Nanoprobe show that electron surface scattering is predominantly diffusive, leading to enhanced resistivity. Future research will focus on whether the scattering can be reduced by surface or interface engineering, for example by changing the chemistry or the electronic properties of the silver surface.

Q. Huang, C. M. Lilley, and M. Bode, Appl. Phys. Lett.. 95, 103112 (2009)

back to top



(upper right) Overview of single-crystalline silver islands and nanowires growth on stepped Si(001). (lower left) Higher resolution image of a single nanowire. Four probe tips were maneuvered to and brought in gentle contact with the nanowire to perform I-V measurement.


An Atomate. large-area carbon nanotube synthesis instrument is newly installed in the CNM cleanroom facility. This system was custom-built to suit the requirements of users. One primary goal is to build devices based on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that can easily be integrated with other materials synthesized in the cleanroom. The system is capable of growing single- and multiwall carbon nanotubes on large-area (100-mm-diameter) wafers using either thermal chemical vapor deposition (CVD) or plasma-enhanced CVD (PECVD). The PECVD option allows for the growth of vertically aligned CNTs and the ability to functionalize CNTs in situ during growth. The same system can be used for synthesizing graphene. The unique features include:

  • CNT synthesis on large-area (100-mm-diameter) wafers in a single deposition run
  • Thermal CVD synthesis with RF-plasma CVD option for in situ functionalization of CNTs
  • Three-zone heater with rapid cooling
  • Gas delivery module with 8-channel mass flow controller, expandable up to 12 channels
  • Automatic process control with adaptive control

Please contact Dr. Anirudha Sumant (Nanofabrication and Devices) for more information.

back to top

Atomate CVD
Carbon nanotube growth on silicon

Randomly oriented growth of CNT on silicon

Carbon nanotube on quart

Horizontally aligned growth of CNT on quartz

Elena Shevchenko

Elena Shevchenko (Nanobio Interfaces Group) was named one of 35 Technology Review 2009 Young Innovators. Since 1999, the editors of Technology Review have honored the young innovators whose inventions and research are found most exciting; today that collection is the TR35, a list of technologists and scientists, all under the age of 35. Their work — spanning medicine, computing, communications, electronics, nanotechnology, and more — is featured as changing our world. (More…)

X-Ray Nanoprobe

Orlando Auciello

Paul Podsiadlo

Argonne researchers received four R&D 100 awards as judged by R&D Magazine; three of these involve staff associated with the CNM.

  1. The Hard X-Ray Nanoprobe (HXN) provides X-ray imaging and analysis at a spatial resolution previously not available in the hard X-ray range. The HXN takes advantage of the properties of hard X-rays by allowing imaging of thick and optically opaque samples, the study of inner structures and buried interfaces, while being nonintrusive and nondestructive. The HXN was jointly developed by a team from Argonne and Xradia Inc. The Argonne team consists of Jorg Maser, Deming Shu, Robert Winarski, Martin Holt, Brian Stephenson, and Volker Rose.
  2. Argonne scientists were part of a collaborative project to develop an artificial retina. They include Orlando Auciello, Bing Shi, and postdoc Wei Li, who jointly won an award for the artificial retina bioelectric implant. The project involved researchers from several other national laboratories, universities, and other organizations. (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was the submitting organization.)
  3.  Postdoc Paul Podsiadlo is an R&D 100 Award corecipient for his thesis work at the University of Michigan on development of a desktop automated spin-assisted layer-by-layer deposition system.
U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science | UChicago Argonne LLC
Privacy & Security Notice | Contact Us | Site Map

The Center for Nanoscale Materials is an Office of Science User Facility operated for
the U.S.Department of Energy Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory