One Era Ends, Another Begins

October 2016 Newsletter

PPG and Vitro S.A.B.

One Era Ends, Another Begins

From Glass Magazine, September 2, 2016, by Katy Devlin and USGlass, Metal & Glazing, August 2016: "Over the last decade, PPG has made no secret of its desire to divest of its flat glass segment. In late July, the timing was right. PPG and Mexico-based glass manufacturer Vitro S.A.B. de C.V. announced Vitro would purchase the assets of PPG's flat glass business for US$750 million."

"The deal, expected to close in October, marks an end of an era in the U.S. glass industry. PPG was founded in 1883 under the name of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., and has been a leading force in the architectural and automotive glass industries for generations. The company was at the forefront of the development of high performance low-emissivity coatings. Vitro also touts an extensive and impressive history in glass. The company was founded in 1909 as a container glass company and started making flat glass in 1929."

"Under terms of the agreement, PPG will divest its entire flat glass manufacturing and glass coatings operations, including the production sites in the U.S., distribution/fabrication facilities across Canada and a research-and-development center located in Harmar, Pa."

Read Glass Magazine for interviews with PPG and Vitro executives. You may also read reactions from some of the glass industry in U.S. Glass, Metal and Glazing.

USGlass, Metal & Glazing,and Glass Magazine
Image: PPG and Vitro

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NASA Tech Briefs

Robot for Controlled Deposition of Multilayer Thin Film Structures

From NASA Tech Briefs (Goddard Space Flight Center), September 1, 2016: "A robot was developed NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, to ensure consistent thin film morphology over the entire surface area while utilizing shadow masking techniques. The two main figures of merit on the thin film consistency are density and refractive index. The robot allows for this by using masks that move during the deposition of the thin film.

The robot consists of three main parts: the backing mount that attaches the robot to the coating chamber planetary, the controlling electronics and motors, and the mechanism that holds and moves the masks during deposition. The robot is loaded into a thin film deposition chamber. The primary feature of the robot is that it is programmable to run arbitrary profiles of thin film structures on many layers. Each robot is used only for one substrate, so many different profiles can be created within one coating run."

Source: NASA Tech Briefs
Image: NASA Tech Briefs

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Medical Design Briefs

Film Helps Implant Bond with Bone

From Medical Design Briefs, September 1, 2016: "Researchers have developed a technique for coating polymer implants with a bioactive film that significantly increases bonding between the implant and surrounding bone in an animal model. The advance could significantly improve the success rate of such implants, which are often used in spinal surgeries. The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The polymer in question is called polyether ether ketone, or PEEK. It has mechanical properties similar to bone, making it attractive for use in spinal implants. However, PEEK doesn't bond well with bone. To that end, researchers had previously developed a technique for coating PEEK with a substance called hydroxyapatite (HA), which is a calcium phosphate that bonds well with bone.

The improved process now includes heating the HA layer using microwaves, preventing the PEEK from melting. Meanwhile, the heat gives the HA a crystalline structure that makes it more stable in the body, meaning that the calcium phosphate will dissolve more slowly and promote bonding with surrounding bone."

Source: Medical Design Briefs 
Image: Medical Design Briefs

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Northwestern University

New Electrical Energy Storage Material Shows Its Power

From Northwestern University, August 24, 2016 by Megan Fellman: “A powerful new material, developed by Northwestern University chemist William Dichtel and his research team, could one day speed up the charging process of electric cars and help increase their driving range. An electric car currently relies on a complex interplay of both batteries and supercapacitors to provide the energy it needs to go places, but that could change.

“Our material combines the best of both worldsthe ability to store large amounts of electrical energy or charge, like a battery, and the ability to charge and discharge rapidly, like a supercapacitor,” said Dichtel, a pioneer in the young research field of covalent organic frameworks (COFs).

Researchers have combined a COF—a strong, stiff polymer with an abundance of tiny pores suitable for storing energy—with a very conductive material to create the first modified redox-active COF that closes the gap with other older porous carbon-based electrodes. The material has outstanding stability, capable of 10,000 charge/discharge cycles.”

Source: Northwestern University
Image: Northwestern University, William Dichtel

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Phys.Org (Osaka University)

A Promising Route to the Scalable Production of Highly Crystalline Graphene Films

From Phys.Org, August 25, 2016: "Graphene is a material with excellent electric conductivity, mechanical strength, chemical stability, and a large surface area. While it is possible to create graphene from graphene oxide (GO), a material produced by chemical exfoliation from graphite through oxidative treatment, this treatment causes defective structures and the existence of oxygen-containing groups, causing GO to display low conducting properties.

A research team led by Osaka University has discovered a procedure to restore defective graphene oxide structures that cause the material to display low carrier mobility. By applying a high-temperature reduction treatment in an ethanol environment, defective structures were restored, leading to the formation of a highly crystalline graphene film with excellent band-like transport. These findings are expected to come into use in scalable production techniques of highly crystalline graphene films."

Source: Phys.Org (provided by Osaka University)
Image: Osaka University

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Fraunhofer FEP

Cell-Compatible OLEDs for Use with Patients

From Fraunhofer FEP, August 24, 2016:
"Light therapy is an important means of promoting the healing of wounds. In order to be able to employ these area light sources for potential medical applications though, any potential toxic effects caused by the constituent materials must be precluded. No such studies on what is termed the cytocompatibility of flexible OLEDs were known of to date.

Now for the first time, the cytocompatibility of flexible OLED systems has been evaluated in a pilot study. Dr. Schönfelder, head of the Medical Applications Research Group at Fraunhofer FEP, recounts enthusiastically: "Even after electrical operation and exposure to mechanical loading by bending, no toxic substances diffused from the OLEDs."

Source: Fraunhofer FEP
Image: Fraunhofer FEP

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University of Texas at Austin

Researchers Determine Fundamental Limits of Invisibility Cloaks

From University of Texas at Austin, July 5, 2016:
"Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have been able to quantify fundamental physical limitations on the performance of cloaking devices, a technology that allows objects to become invisible or undetectable to electromagnetic waves including radio waves, microwaves, infrared and visible light.

The researchers' theory confirms that it is possible to use cloaks to perfectly hide an object for a specific wavelength, but hiding an object from an illumination containing different wavelengths becomes more challenging as the size of the object increases.

Understanding the bandwidth and size limitations of cloaking is important to assess the potential of cloaking devices for real-world applications such as communication antennas, biomedical devices and military radars. The researchers' framework shows that the performance of a passive cloak is largely determined by the size of the object to be hidden compared with the wavelength of the incoming wave, and it quantifies how, for shorter wavelengths, cloaking gets drastically more difficult."

Source: University of Texas - Austin
Image: University of Texas - Austin

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Advertisers Index


MIT News - Fuel Cell Electrodes

Borrowing from Pastry Chefs, Engineers Create Nanolayered Composites

From MIT News, July 21, 2016 by David L. Chandler: "Adapting an old trick used for centuries by both metalsmiths and pastry makers, a team of researchers at MIT has found a way to efficiently create composite materials containing hundreds of layers that are just atoms thick but span the full width of the material. The discovery could open up wide-ranging possibilities for designing new, easy-to-manufacture composites for optical devices, electronic systems, and high-tech materials.

Researchers have been searching for ways of using graphene and carbon nanotues to add great strength to composite materials. The biggest obstacle has been finding ways to embed these materials within a matrix of another material in an orderly way. These tiny sheets and tubes have a strong tendency to clump together, so just stirring them into a batch of liquid resin before it sets doesn't work at all.

The MIT team's insight was in finding a way to create large numbers of layers, stacked in a perfectly orderly way, without having to stack each layer individually. MIT's process of making a stack of parallel sheets of graphene starts with a chemical vapor deposition process to make a graphene sheet with a polymer coating."

Source: MIT News
Image: MIT

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Chemical and Engineering News

Strain-Induced Color Changes in Biomimetic Materials

From Chemical and Engineering News, July 18, 2016, by Mitch Jacoby: "Taking a clue from jellyfish and squids that quickly alter their appearance via muscle-controlled morphology changes in their bodies' surface structures, researchers have designed polymeric materials that change appearance reversibly in response to mechanically induced folds and deformations.

The researchers, led by Luyi Sun of the University of Connecticut, made several types of so-called mechanochromic materials by depositing a transparent rigid film made from polyvinyl alcohol and a silicate compound on a flexible polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrate. Stretching the simple bilayer material by 40% changes its appearance markedly yet reversibly from transparent to opaque. The optical changes result from stretch-induced microscopic cracks and folds that trap and scatter light. The team varied the material design to induce other optical effects. For example, they bonded an ultraviolet-shielding film to PDMS doped with a variety of fluorophores. Stretches and strains as small as 5% caused these materials to quickly change colors or change from nonluminescent to highly luminescent."

Source: Chemical and Engineering News
Image: University of Connecticut, Luyi Sun

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Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL)

PPPL Launches Expanded New Laboratory for Research on the Use of Plasma to Synthesize Nanoparticles

From Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), July 12, 2016 by John Greenwald:
"Plasma - the hot ionized gas that fuels fusion reactions - can also create super-small particles used in everything from pharmaceuticals to tennis racquets. These nanoparticles, which measure billionths of a meter in size, can revolutionize fields from electronics to energy supply, but scientists must first determine how best to produce them.

After more than two years of planning and construction, the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has commissioned a major new facility to explore ways to optimize plasma for the production of such particles. The collaborative facility, called the "Laboratory for Plasma Nanosynthesis," is nearly three times the size of the original nanolab, which remains in operation, and launches a new era in PPPL research on plasma nanosynthesis. Experiments and simulations that could lead to new methods for creating high-quality nanomaterials at relatively low cost can now proceed at an accelerated pace. The new 1,500-foot laboratory will study so-called low-temperature plasmas that are tens of thousands degrees hot, compared with fusion plasmas that are hotter than the 15-million degree core of the sun."

Source: PPPL
Image: PPPL, Elle Starkman

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Photonics Media

Ag/TiO2 Flat Lens Shows Promise for Lab-On-A Chip Devices

From Photonics Media, July 2016:
"A flat optical lens could help reduce the size of computer hard drives and enable further miniaturization of microscopes and other technologies. The lens, comprising thin layers of silver and titanium dioxide, offers a larger field of view and a shorter working distance than traditional curved lenses, allowing close placement to an object of interest.

Researchers at FOM Institute AMOLF (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) created the thin layers of silver and titanium dioxide using physical vapor deposition, and cited a major challenge to be optimizing the layer thicknesses with subnanometer precision. The researchers found that a 10-layer structure alternating between 53.2-nm-thick layers of silver and 25-nm-thick layers of titanium dioxide produced the best flat lens. The experimental lens operates in the UV spectrum due to the materials used, though the researchers believe other materials could produce a flat lens that works at other wavelengths.

In addition to enabling lab-on-a-chip devices due to its small size and ability to focus light from a range of angles, the flat lens could be used with optical recording techniques such as magneto-optical recording or heat-assisted magnetic recording to increase the information storage capacities of hard drives."

Source: Photonics Media
Image: Optica, a publication of The Optical Society (OSA) / Maas, et al.

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European Commission

A Close-Up Look at Ultra-Thin Nanomaterials for Industrial Use

From the European Commission, July 5, 2016: "Advances in nanomaterials hold the promise of new, better, more competitive products. The EU-funded 2DInterFOX project is seeking new insights into their behavior - the results could help manufacturers develop new electronic and energy-related products, potentially boosting their competitiveness.

2DInterFOX will attempt to provide answers on the interactions between 2D nanomaterials and non-2D metal-oxide materials, which are used in electronics and energy-related industries. This information could help industry scale up the integration of 2D nanomaterials with other types of nanostructures. Such a breakthrough could be used for applications in flexible, transparent, low-cost electronics or for the energy sector."

Source: European Commission
Image: European Commission

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SPIE Newsroom

Graphene-Based Wearable Electronic Patch for Diabetes Control

From SPIE Newsroom (DOI: 10.1117/2.1201605.006498), June 30, 2016 by Dae-Hyeong Kim, et al.: “Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases, affecting approximately 9% of the global population. Recent years have seen the emergence of wearable electronic and optoelectronic devices, which have opened the possibility of achieving the non-invasive control of diabetes. In particular, wearable devices for the analysis of sweat have received great attention. Human sweat contains various physiological biomarkers, including glucose.

Researchers at Seoul National University (South Korea) have developed a graphene-based electronic patch which monitors glucose in sweat noninvasively and provides feedback-controlled drug delivery by using microneedles with a heat-responsive coating.

To ensure that the electrochemical sensors are highly sensitive and mechanically soft, they use functionalized graphene synthesized by chemical vapor deposition (CVD). The graphene hybrid electrode, which consists of gold-doped graphene on a gold mesh, is not only highly transparent but also exhibits good electrical and electrochemical properties, as biomarkers for use in electrochemical sensors.”

Source: SPIE Newsroom
Image: SPIE Newsroom

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University of Illinois

New Method for Making Green LEDs Enhances Their Efficiency and Brightness

From University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, July 29, 2016: “Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new method for making brighter and more efficient green light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Using an industry-standard semiconductor growth technique, they have created gallium nitride (GaN) cubic crystals grown on a silicon substrate that are capable of producing powerful green light for advanced solid-state lighting.

Until now, the only way researchers were able to make cubic GaN was to use molecular beam epitaxy, a very expensive and slow crystal growth method when compared to the widely used metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) method that researchers used.

They made the cubic GaN by using lithography and isotropic etching to create a U-shaped groove on Si(100). This non-conducting layer essentially served as a boundary that shapes the hexagonal material into cubic form.

Ultimately, researchers believe their cubic GaN method may lead to LEDs free from a "droop" phenomenon that has plagued the LED industry for years. For green, blue, or ultra-violet LEDs, their light-emission efficiency declines as more current is injected, which is characterized as "droop."

Source: University of Illinois
Image: University of Illinois

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2016 AIMCAL Web Coating & Handling Conference

2016 AIMCAL Web Coating & Handling Conference (2016 WCHC USA)

October 9-12
The Peabody, Memphis, Tenn.

Register Now

Conference Highlights

  • Comprehensive Agenda - Combined conferences allow attendees to choose from over 100 presentations with a single registration 
  • Optional Short Courses - Six optional short courses available to enhance your conference experience
  • TableTop Receptions - Two informal receptions featuring over 75 tabletop exhibits from top suppliers, converters and consultants 
  • Expert Participants - Opportunities to speak with some of the top technical professionals in the industry on your particular areas of interest 
  • Networking Opportunities - Conference designed to facilitate excellent networking opportunities through meals, breaks and optional activities surrounding the technical sessions 
  • Optional Activities - Scramble golf tournament, Dr. Bernard Henry Memorial 5k Fun Run, Graceland tour, and local activities

Learn More   >

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.

Housing deadline is 10/12 and the Symposium pre-registration deadline is 10/17.

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.

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

Exhibit Open: Nov 29 – Dec 1

Conference Details and Registration   >


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

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