Smart Artificial Skin: ERC Grant for Researcher at TU Graz

November 2016 Newsletter

Graz University of Technology

Smart Artificial Skin: ERC Grant for Researcher at TU Graz

From Graz University of Technology (TU Graz, Austria), October 4, 2016 by Barbara Gigler: “Chemist Anna Maria Coclite from the Institute of Solid State Physics at TU Graz is receiving a grant from the European Research Council in the amount of 1.5 M euros ($1.63 million) for her research project to develop smart artificial skin.

The aim of Anna Maria Coclite’s ERC-sponsored project “Smart Core” is to develop a hybrid material which can perceive temperature, humidity and pressure simultaneously and react accordingly. State-of-the-art materials currently include three different sensors for the perception and transmission of individual stimuli.

To develop this hybrid material Coclite uses the initiated chemical vapor deposition method (iCVD), which was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Coclite combines this with the atomic layer deposition method (ALD).”

TU Graz 
Image: TU Graz

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University of Akron

Researchers Find Thin Layers of Water Can Become Ice-Like at Room Temperature

From Scienmag, August 29, 2016: “New research by scientists at The University of Akron (UA) shows that a nanometer-thin layer of water between two charged surfaces exhibits ice-like tendencies that allow it to withstand pressures of hundreds of atmospheres. The discovery could lead to better ways to minimize friction in a variety of settings.

Why water between two surfaces does not always simply squeeze out when placed under severe pressure had never been fully understood. The UA researchers discovered that naturally-occurring charges between two surfaces under intense pressure traps the water, and gives it ice-like qualities. It is this ice-like layer of water–occurring at room temperature–that then lessens the friction between the two surfaces.”

Source: Scienmag
Image: Courtesy of The University of Akron

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Bangor University

Spider Silk: Mother Nature’s Bio-Superlens

From Bangor University (U.K.), August 19, 2016: “Scientists at the UK’s Bangor and Oxford universities have achieved a world first: using spider-silk as a superlens to increase the microscope’s potential. The team has used a naturally occurring material—dragline silk of the golden web spider—as an additional superlens, applied to the surface of the material to be viewed, to provide an additional 2-3 times magnification. The spider filament enabled the group to view details on a micro-chip and a blue-ray disk which would be invisible using the unmodified optical microscope.”

Source: Bangor University 
Image: Courtesy of Bangor University

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University of Texas at Austin

A Moiré Lithography Allows Fabrication of Large-Area Graphene Metasurfaces

From Nanowerk, October 12, 2016, partially be Michael Berger: "Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin demonstrate an effective method to pattern large area graphene - which is grown by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) - into moiré metasurfaces with gradient nanostructures having multiband resonance peaks in mid infrared range (MIR). The CVD graphene is patterned into moiré metasurfaces via combination of moiré nanosphere lithography (MNSL) with O2 reactive ion etching (RIE).

Colloidal polystyrene (PS) nanospheres self-assemble into a monolayer on substrates with graphene. A second monolayer of PS nanospheres is then deposited on top of the first PS monolayer via similar process. By varying the relative rotational angle between top and bottom monolayers of PS nanosphere during MNSL, the size and shape of the graphene nanostructures in the metasurfaces change significantly. Studies reveal that the extinction spectra of the graphene metasurfaces can be controlled by the size and shape of the graphene nanostructures. The complex and gradient nanostructures in moiré patterns demonstrate multiband graphene metasurfaces in the mid-infrared range (MIR)."

Source: Nanowerk
Image: Courtesy of the University of Texas at Austin

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Enabling Extreme New Designs for Optics and Imagers

From DARPA, August 18, 2016: DARPA seeks engineered optical materials unconstrained by “laws” of classical optics to develop vastly smaller, lighter and more capable devices for advanced imaging applications. DARPA’s EXTREME Optics and Imaging (EXTREME) program aims to break from that well-worn paradigm by introducing engineered optical materials (EnMats) and associated design tools for creating innovative optical systems with improved performance, new functionality, and drastically reduced size and weight.

To achieve its goal, EXTREME is focused on developing new EnMats—both two-dimensional metasurfaces as well as 3-D volumetric optics and holograms—that manipulate light in ways beyond classical rules of reflection and refraction. EXTREME also will address multiscale modelling to enable design and optimization of EnMats across vastly different scales, from nanometer to centimeter, for example.”

Source: DARPA
Image: Courtesy of DARPA

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King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

See-Through Circuitry

From King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), August 14, 2016: “High-performance electronic circuits made entirely from transparent materials could have countless applications, from head-up displays on car windscreens to transparent TV sets and smart windows in homes and offices. Researchers at KAUST have found a way to make transparent transistors and other essential components of electronic circuitry using inexpensive and readily available materials and a simple fabrication technique.

Indium tin oxide (ITO) is the current material of choice for electronics because it combines optical transparency with electrical conductivity. Indium is in short supply and as demand increases for ITO-containing devices, so does the price of indium.

One promising low-cost ITO alternative is a transparent material known as aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO). Electronic devices made using AZO have traditionally shown inferior performance to devices made using ITO. To overcome this limitation, researchers used a high-precision technology called atomic layer deposition. Using atomic layer deposition to grow all active layers simplifies the circuit fabrication process and significantly improves circuit performance by controlling layer growth at the atomic scale.”

Source: KAUST
Image: Courtesy of KAUST

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University of Texas at Austin

Slicing through Materials with a New X-Ray Imaging Technique

From Brookhaven National Laboratory, August 12, 2016: "Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have created a new imaging technique that allows scientists to probe the internal makeup of a battery during charging and discharging using different x-ray energies while rotating the battery cell. The technique produces a three-dimensional chemical map and lets the scientists track chemical reactions in the battery over time in working conditions.

Using a working lithium-ion battery, researchers tracked the phase evolution of the lithium iron phosphate within the electrode as the battery charged. They combined tomography (a kind of x-ray imaging technique that displays the 3D structure of an object) with X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure (XANES) spectroscopy (which is sensitive to chemical and local electronic changes). The result was a "five dimensional" image of the battery operating: a full three-dimensional image over time and at different x-ray energies."

Source: Brookhaven National Laboratory
Image: Courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory/Jun Wang

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Self-Shading Windows

From MIT, August 11, 2016, by David L. Chandler: "A team of researchers at MIT has developed a new way of making windows that can switch from transparent to opaque, potentially saving energy by blocking sunlight on hot days and thus reducing air-conditioning costs. While other systems for causing glass to darken do exist, the new method offers significant advantages by combining rapid response times and low power needs.

Image: Courtesy of MIT/Khalid Abdulaziz Kaabi and Dennis Sheberla

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SVC TechCon


NASA Technology Transfer Program

Plasma Deposition of Metal in Composite Panels

From NASA Technology Transfer Program, August 2016: "NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a new technique to enable the preparation of metal/composite hybrid laminates, also known as fiber metal laminates (FML), by depositing metal directly onto fabric using a plasma deposition process. FMLs provide a useful combination of structural and functional properties for both aerospace and non-aerospace applications. Currently, FMLs are prepared in a compression process utilizing a press or autoclave with metallic layers (foils) sandwiched between layers of glass or graphite prepreg (preimpregnated fibers with a matrix resin). The NASA process deposits the metal on the fiber via plasma deposition. The porosity of the coated fabric allows for resin infusion. Metal deposition directly onto fabric eliminates the need for separate foils and provides a better interlayer bonding."

Source: NASA
Image: Courtesy of NASA

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Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

KAIST Team Develops Semi-Transparent Solar Cells With Thermal Mirror Capability

From Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST, South Korea), August 2, 2016: "Using perovskites, a Korean research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Sungkyunkwan University developed a semi-transparent solar cell that is highly efficient and functions very effectively as a thermal-mirror. The semi-transparent perovskite solar cells demonstrate high-power conversion efficiency and transmit visible light while blocking infrared light, making them great candidates for solar windows.

The proposed top transparent electrode (TTE) is based on a multilayer stack consisting of a metal film sandwiched between a high refractive-index (high-index) layer and an interfacial buffer layer. The team designed the transparent electrode stack in three layers: A thin-film of silver (Ag) is placed in between the bottom interfacial layer of molybdenum trioxide (MoO3) and the top high-index dielectric layer of zinc sulfide (ZnS)."The semi-transparent solar cells made with the TTEs exhibited average power conversion efficiency as high as 13.3% with 85.5% infrared rejection."

Source: KAIST
Image: Courtesy of KAIST

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University of Southampton

New Metamaterials Can Change Properties with a Flick of a Light-Switch

From American Institute of Physics (AIP), August 2, 2016: “Researchers at the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre & Centre for Photonic Metamaterials (U.K.) have designed a new kind of metamaterial whose properties can be changed with a flick of a switch. In their proof-of-principle experiment, researchers used germanium antimony telluride (GST) -- the kind of phase-change material found in CDs and DVDs -- to make an improved switchable metasurface that can block or transmit particular wavelengths of light at the command of light pulses.

Switchable metamaterials in general aren't new. The problem is that metals tend to absorb light at visible and infrared wavelengths, making them unsuitable for many optical device applications. Researchers have made a switchable metamaterial that doesn't use metal at all. They have created what is known as an all-dielectric metamaterial, with the added benefit of GST’s nonvolatile phase-switching behavior.”

Source: AIP
Image: Courtesy of AIP

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SPIE Newsroom

2D Materials for Transparent, High-Sensitivity Tactile Sensors

From SPIE Newsroom (DOI: 10.1117/2.1201607.006550), August 18, 2016 by Jong-Hyun Ahn: “One potential application of 2D materials is flexible and wearable tactile sensors, which would attach closely to the skin and thus enable healthcare monitoring devices. Until now, however, limitations in the sensitivity and mechanical flexibility of the materials have hindered the development of wearable tactile sensors for direct integration onto human skin or cloth.

To overcome these limitations, researchers at Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea) have developed a very flexible 2D material-based tactile sensor in a conformal format using a molybdenum disulfide semiconductor as a strain sensor and graphene as a transparent electrode. Both 2D materials have great mechanical flexibility and optical transmittance. In addition, molybdenum disulfide semiconductors exhibit high sensitivity and reliability for the sensor channel, and graphene electrodes have good contact properties and conductivity. They used a chemical vapor deposition technique to synthesize high-quality, large-area molybdenum disulfide and graphene.”

Source: SPIE Newsroom
Image: Courtesy of SPIE Newsroom

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Columbia University

New Optical Material Offers Unprecedented Control of Light and Thermal Radiation

From Columbia University, August 30, 2016 by Holly Evarts: “A team led by Nanfang Yu, assistant professor of applied physics at Columbia Engineering, has discovered a new phase-transition optical material and demonstrated novel devices that dynamically control light over a much broader wavelength range and with larger modulation amplitude than what has currently been possible. The team, including researchers from Purdue, Harvard, Drexel, and Brookhaven National Laboratory, found that samarium nickelate (SmNiO3) can be electrically tuned continuously between a transparent and an opaque state over an unprecedented broad range of spectrum from the blue in the visible (wavelength of 400 nm) to the thermal radiation spectrum in the mid-infrared (wavelength of a few tens of micrometers).

The reversible tuning between the transparent and opaque states is based on electron doping at room temperature, and is potentially very fast, which opens up a wide range of exciting applications, such as ‘smart windows’ for dynamic and complete control of sunlight, variable thermal emissivity coatings for infrared camouflage and radiative temperature control, optical modulators, and optical memory devices.”

Source: Columbia University
Image: Courtesy of Columbia University

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2017 techcon

Keynote Speakers Announced for the 2017 SVC TechCon

The SVC TechCon Program Committee announces three Technical Program Keynote Speakers with more Guest Speakers to be announced soon. These three presentations are aligned with the TechCon Symposium theme, "Coatings for Healthcare, Biometric Monitoring, and Bio-Interfaces."


Alexander Fridman, Nyheim Plasma Institute,
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Plasma Medicine: Fundamentals and Application to Cancer Vaccination

Jeremy L. Gilbert, Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering,
Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
Tribocorrosion of Orthopedic Implants: Mechanisms and Consequences

Thomas J. Webster, Chemical Engineering Department,
Northeastern University, Boston, MA   
Creating Nanostructured Coatings to Improve Medical Device Performance while Obtaining Fast FDA Approval

Abstracts continue to be accepted for the Heuréka! Post-Deadline Recent Developments Session, Poster Session and Vendor Innovators Showcase. Please Visit for details on the Technical Program, Exhibit, Education Program and networking opportunities.


AVS 63rd International Symposium & Exhibition

AVS 63rd International Symposium & Exhibition

November 6-11
Music City Center
Nashville, Tenn.

Addressing cutting-edge issues associated with materials, processing, and interfaces in both the research and manufacturing communities, the week-long Symposium fosters a multidisciplinary environment that cuts across traditional boundaries between disciplines. This conference features a technical program, exhibition, short courses, 5K run, diversity & inclusion breakfast, career center, professional leadership series, art zone contest, and many other special events.

Conference Details and Registration   >

2016 AIMCAL Web Coating & Handling Conference

2016 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit

November 27–December 2
Hynes Convention Center
Boston, Mass.

Register by November 11 to ensure pre-registration rates. Exhibit open November 26-December 1.

Symposia Include:

  • Biomaterials and Soft Materials
  • Broader Impact
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electronics, Magnetics, and Photonics
  • Energy and Sustainability
  • Mechanical Behavior and Failure Mechanisms of Materials
  • Nanomaterials
  • Processing and Manufacturing
  • Theory, Characterization, and Modeling

Conference Details and Registration   >


SVConnections Contributing Editors:
Carl M. Lampert, SVC Technical Director
Joyce Lampert

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