The Nature of Nano

December 11, 2013

Northwestern University, Chicago Campus, Hughes Auditorium
303 East Superior Street, Chicago, IL, USA


From tennis rackets to sunscreen, from stained glass windows to computer memory, the applications of nanoscale materials research are all around us. New television displays, cell phones and other digital devices incorporate nanostructured polymer films known as light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs. Applications utilizing nanotechnology abound in the energy field, from cheaper flexible solar panels to improved catalysis for fuel production and lighter, more efficient batteries. Medical applications are also showing promise, in the areas of imaging and diagnostics.

Working on new discoveries at the nanoscale, researchers at the Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) are creating new materials, methods and technologies to address some of the world’s greatest challenges in energy security, lightweight but durable materials, high-efficiency lighting, information storage, environmental stewardship and advanced medical devices.

At a very small, or “nano” scale, materials behave differently. The study of nanomaterials is much more than miniaturization – scientists are discovering how changes in size change a material’s properties. Research efforts over the past decade have enabled us to make single nanoparticles – current research efforts are focused on putting different nanoparticles together to make devices and turn nanoscience into nanotechnology. For instance, by reducing the distance that electrons have to move, nanomaterials will produce batteries with greater efficiency.

Material scientist Dr. Amanda Petford-Long is the Director of Argonne’s Nanoscience and Technology Division, and will present current research efforts and advances in nanotechnology, and highlight the societal implications of CNM’s research. Dr. Petford-Long has 25 years of experience in transmission electron microscopy applied to magnetic and optical nanostructures and is interested in structure-property correlations in ferroic nanostructures, and use of in situ TEM techniques to understand domain and transport behavior in these materials.

The program will also feature a Chicagoland-area technology venture that is using novel nanotechnology and engineering applications emerging from CNM for a variety of industrial and medical uses: AKHAN Technologies, a company recently recognized with an R&D 100 award—also known as the “Oscars of invention”–for its Miraj Diamond™ Platform.
AKHAN Technologies, in collaboration with Argonne National Lab, has developed an energy-efficient semiconductor process that combines two newly-developed diamond-technologies, low-temperature nanocrystalline diamond deposition developed at Argonne’s CNM, and an efficient semiconductor doping process (doping, or introducing impurities into semiconductors, allows them to behave more like conductors, such as metals) to create cheaper, better electronics that rely on integrated circuits—transformational to telecommunications, consumer electronics, defense, and aviation electronics.

The high performance of modern electronic devices are at a point where many believe the existing device structures are reaching their physical limit. As an increasing number of electronic devices are beginning to fail due to heat-related issues, the limitations of silicon are becoming apparent. From a clean energy standpoint, the problem is more pronounced: cooling costs are now a large part of the overall systems cost in many electronics applications. Approximately half of the 120 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity consumed by data centers worldwide goes directly to cooling costs. And convection-based cooling fans, which are standard to many applications, are a major source of electronics waste that are not easily recycled. Diamond conducts heat 22 times more efficiently than silicon, and 5 times more efficiently than copper, which is the predominant heat sinking material. The semiconductor properties of diamond allow for faster devices, which are more than 1,000 times thinner than current devices, cost competitive, and run cooler, allowing for the next generation of consumer electronics.

This Lecture is Free & Open to the Pubic

Reception and registration at 5pm, presentation begins at 6pm. Discounted parking will be made available to the first 50 attendees at the 222 E. Huron St. garage; ask for a ticket at the registration desk upon arrival to the program.

THIS PROGRAM WILL ALSO BE LIVE STREAMED. Tune in on December 11 at 6pm CST to:

Dr. Amanda K. Petford-Long is the Director for the Nanoscience and Technology Division and Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials, a Department of Energy national user facility that provides capabilities explicitly tailored to the creation and characterization of new functional materials on the nanoscale. She holds a D.Phil in Materials Science from University of Oxford (1985) and a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from University College, London (1981). The Center’s portfolio includes research on Electronic & Magnetic Materials & Devices, Nanobio Interfaces, Nanofabrication, Nanophotonics, Theory & Modeling, and X-Ray Microscopy.

Dr. Petford-Long’s research interests include the dependence of magnetic, transport and optical properties of layered ferroic films on microstructure and fabrication parameters. The physical properties of the films have been correlated with microstructure, magnetic domain structure and composition profile, determined using a range of high-resolution electron-microscopy and position-sensitive atom probe techniques, including Lorentz microscopy for imaging magnetic domains. She has published over 270 papers in the scientific literature.

Adam Khan is Founder and Chief Executive of AKHAN Technologies. Previous to AKHAN Technologies, Mr. Khan studied both physics and electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago before pursuing research on the graduate level. Mr. Khan has worked in a variety of positions in various topics in Condensed Matter research with an emphasis on applied physics research. Mr. Khan has assisted in research in Nanoscopic and Strongly Correlated Electron Systems, (spin-spin interaction [Kondo Systems], Unconventional Superconductor Systems [High Tc]), in addition to conducting Principal Investigator (PI) research in various topics in diamond systems ranging from Ion Beam Materials Research to Advanced Electron Device Fabrication (micro/nanoelectronic, optoelectronic) in Nanocrystalline Diamond Systems. Mr. Khan’s more recent work has also addressed the effects of impurities in diamond semiconductor systems, developing a first time model to address deep state propensity of dopants resulting in the first time fabrication of shallow n-type diamond. Mr. Khan’s professional memberships include the American Physical Society (APS) and industrial membership at the Stanford NanoFabrication Facility (SNF) at Stanford University. In addition to his peer-reviewed research, Mr. Khan is the listed inventor on the Miraj Diamond™ Patent Suite. Mr. Khan’s unique knowledge, dedication, and entrepreneurial innovation will continue to advance AKHAN Technologies’ position in the global diamond semiconductor market.