September 21st, 2014

ctors' message: 

 The UW Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium 

is supposed to serve as the industrial outreach arm of the federally funded MRSEC and NSEC centers. While it may be satisfactory to serve as just another news or information source and perhaps another avenue for some networking, we would like to be much more than that! We would, at the minimum, like to be your "go to" source for materials R&D news and questions, problems with your material processes, sophisticated instrumentation capabilities and also as a source for student interns and new employees. To do all these things, we are approaching this challenge from several fronts:

1. Making more connections with the other UW campuses,

2. Getting to know the manufacturing landscape better by talking to local manufacturers and attending manufacturing conferences,

3. Getting to know the local high technology industry through contacts at the university,

4. Holding shared instrument facilities days to increase exposure of the general public to our capabilities and resources,

5. Engaging students to present their work as high level questions and frameworks, rather than as intricate and complex processes, and,

6. Encouraging, you, our readers to help us stream- line the process for getting the results  you want, 
faster and easier - for this we need your questions, feedback and criticism. With your help, we can make the AMIC an even more useful resource. 



We have a Fall newsletter that has a lot of exciting information about events, features and perks offered through the university by being a member of the consortium. Please let us know how we are doing and if you would like to see the newsletter focus on a particular topic or topics.  

You should note that the upcoming annual AMIC meeting will be on this week on Friday, September 26th, 2014
(more details below!) where you can learn about current R&D and expertise from student leaders and post-doctoral researchers (some of whom may be looking for employment!) which can help your company, instrumentation highlights at our core facilities, and amazing research topics at UW Madison which will expand your horizons!
Best regards,
Felix Lu and Erin Gill



How computing is transforming materials science research

In the United States, the start of 2014 marked the end of an era-the "death" of incandescent light bulbs. Not that all 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs simultaneously stopped working on January 1, 2014, but their manufacture in the U.S. was banned for not meeting stricter energy-efficiency standards. This move follows similar initiatives being put in place around the world since 2004.

With a 135-year history, the incandescent light bulb was worked on, refined and improved by many great minds, inventors and scientists, and, most notably, popularized by Thomas Edison in 1879.

According to the Smithsonian Institute, Edison and fellow researchers tested nearly 1,600 different materials in a long, and ultimately fruitful, quest to find a long-lasting, cheap filament for light bulbs. They eventually decided on carbonized bamboo, after testing materials from coconut fiber to beard hair. 

It's the ultimate story of scientific discovery, isn't it? An idea followed by trial and error, followed by more ideas and more trial and error. However, it may be a slightly romanticized version of how science works, at least today. The mad genius struck by otherworldly inspiration working tirelessly toward a solution for the problem that plagues their mind is being replaced by computers-and it's helping speed innovation.


Read more here:


SBIR Funding Opportunities

The 2014 BIO International Convention has partnered with the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation to feature Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funded early-stage biotech companies in a newly-created Innovation Zone. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program provides U.S. federal funding to small businesses engaged in Research/R&D with the potential for commercialization. Companies are rigorously vetted through the NIH and NSF SBIR review process prior to receiving the funding. The majority of participating companies in the Innovation Zone have received SBIR Phase II grants, which provide up to $1 million dollars in funding to engage in R&D that has the potential for commercialization.
Kathy Collins, Business Development at Bioforward

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will provide $1 million in funding to entrepreneurs through a new program aimed at commercializing high-tech innovation. The program, called SBIR Advance, will be administered by the University of Wisconsin-Extension's Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) and will be accessible to young companies throughout the state.

Applications will open August 1, 2014.

Funds from the program are available to recipients of federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants. The U.S. government created the SBIR/STTR programs to stimulate domestic high-tech innovation, providing $2 billion of federal research funding each year.
"Wisconsin's early-stage companies that receive federal SBIR and STTR funds are on a path toward commercialization and the creation of high-wage jobs," said WEDC Secretary Reed Hall. "SBIR Advance will fill critical funding gaps for activities such as market research and patent development restricted under federal awards that applicants already hold. Unlike programs in some other states, SBIR Advance will provide funding upon completion of key milestones, including Lean Startup training, which significantly accelerate business development."
CTC currently helps companies with SBIR/STTR grant funding acquisition and will apply that expertise as they guide companies through SBIR Advance's business development goals.

From, solicitations open Sept 22nd, 2014



Upcoming conferences & seminars 
Manufacturing Advantage, October 1 & 2, 2014 at UW Stout.

Oct 22, KI Convention Center, Greenbay, WI

Thursday, February 27th 2014

7:00 am - 4:00 pm

Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
333 West Kilbourn Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53203


Save the date! Fall AMIC annual meeting:

The Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium is scheduled to be on

Friday, September 26th, 2014.
 Please register soon! This event gives commercial partners additional avenues to collaborate with students and faculty in advanced materials research across the UW-Madison campus. The consortium facilitates interaction with university resources through a wide range of paths, including:

  • Networking Opportunities
  • Shared instrumentation
  • Sponsored research and facilities use agreements
  • become a visiting industrial researcher at UW-Madison
  • Early access to student and postdoctoral researchers
  • Annual meeting and shared instrument facilities open house
  • Consulting opportunities
  • Opportunities for input into research directions and planning via Member Feed back Session at the annual meeting
  • Quarterly Newsletters with updated student, faculty and state of the art research; recent selected publications and highlights from the news. 
  • Access to prospective student interns
  • Invitation to an annual program review of research highlights presented by faculty, researchers, and students
  • Access to shared instrumentation in university laboratories
  • Collaboration by a visiting industrial fellow in residence in a UW-Madison laboratory. Details of the collaboration and residence period for hosted research may depend on the facility.

Featured presenters and topics will include:

For more information, please contact Felix Lu or Erin Gill.

Registration link: 
Wisconsin Center for Applied Microelectronics (WCAM)
Have you ever walked by the WCAM Cleanroom on the third floor of the Engineering Centers Building and peered inside but didn't know what you were looking at?

You are always welcome to ask the staff for a guided tour or for specific questions, but you are also welcome to browse the new posters beside selected bays which describe the instruments, their capabilities and a description of the physics behind their operation. Don't know if we can help you do a certain task? Please ask! We can pattern small features, deposit or selectively remove metal and/or dielectric layers, package devices, bond wafers, help you characterize your thin films and devices, and hopefully find solutions to your problems!
The cleanroom is class 10/100/1000, has eight bays and has almost 10,000 square feet of space dedicated to patterning, depositing, growing, and etching thin metal/dielectric films as well as packaging devices, wirebonding, wafer bonding, equipment support and a variety of characterization equipment. Parking in Lot 17 is right next door to the Engineering Centers Building and you can even look ahead to see how many spaces are left before you make your trip!

[Photo on left courtesy of Jung-Hung Seo and Professor Jack Ma]

AMIC member spotlight
Microscopy Sample Preparation Assistance Available


Steven Goodman, Ph.D. of Microscopy Innovations, LLC  (an AMIC member company) is available to provide guidance and laboratory assistance with microscope specimen preparation to users of the Center's microscopes including UW researchers and AMIC Members. This is per the mission of his appointment as Industrial Research Associate in the Materials Science Center.


Dr. Goodman states that, "Microscopy specimen preparation can easily require ten times the work of using the SEM or TEM, and requires knowledge of methods and specimens to maximize useful information. With biological and many soft material specimens, the preparation process is particularly onerous since it commonly requires sequential delivery of dozens of fluids including fixatives, stains, dehydrants, and embedments to each individual specimen.  With the advent of Microscopy Innovations™ mPrep System, this previously intensely manual and error-prone process can now be done easily, enabling even dozens of samples to be simultaneously and (optionally) automatically prepared, even with different protocols. This greatly reduces the chance for process errors and mix-ups, while also reducing costs." 


Two examples are shown: The first is an SEM image of a cross-section through wounded skin treated with Imbed Biosciences' conformal antimicrobial silver nanoparticle impregnated wound dressing (Imbed Biosciences Inc. is also an AMIC member). This biomaterial and tissue specimen was prepared using mPrep System processing, and was imaged using the Center's LEO 1530 FE-SEM.  A second example shows drug delivery nanoparticles imaged with the Materials Sciences Center's FEI Tecnai TF-30.  This micrograph is from one of 32 TEM grids simultaneously prepared with several different nanoparticle preparations for Peptimed Inc., a Madison-based early stage biopharmaceutical company.



Dr. Goodman is available to help researchers achieve high quality sample preparation at lower cost with technology and expertise that is particularly suited for specimens that include biological materials, biomaterials, tissue engineering materials, polymers, nanoparticles, thin-films, hydrogels and other soft materials. An abbreviated list of available capabilities include preparing cross-sections, orienting specimens, correlative microscopy, and most any application that requires fluidic processing for SEM, TEM, Light Microscopy, and other analytical instruments.  Contact Microscopy Innovations at



Do you want to submit a member  spotlight for your company? Please contact Felix Lu ( for more details.
Recent faculty news & publications
Robert Hamers
Chemistry Professor Robert Hamers named Steenbock Professor

University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty members Jin-Yi Cai and Robert Hamers have been named Steenbock Professors.

Endowed more than 30 years ago by Evelyn Steenbock - wife of Harry Steenbock, an emeritus biochemistry professor - Steenbock Professorships provide a group of outstanding UW-Madison faculty with 10 years of financial support for their research programs.


Hamers, the new Steenbock Professor of Physical Sciences, joined the Department of Chemistry in 1990.

His research into the unique properties of surfaces and interfaces has yielded important descriptions of the atomic and electronic surfaces of silicon, and enabled the creation of ultra-stable surfaces with applications in biological sciences and efficient chemical transformations.

A fellow of AAAS and the American Vacuum Society, Hamers is cofounder of Silatronix - a UW-Madison spin-off company commercializing electrolytes for safer lithium batteries - and is inventor on 13 patents.





UW Materials Science in the news

A multi-institutional team has resolved a long-unanswered question about how two of the world's most common substances interact.

In a paper published recently in the journal Nature Communications, Manos Mavrikakis, professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his collaborators report fundamental discoveries about how water reacts with metal oxides. The paper opens doors for greater understanding and control of chemical reactions in fields ranging from catalysis to geochemistry and atmospheric chemistry.

"It opens the doors to using hydrogen bonds to make surfaces hydrophilic, or attracted to water, and to (template) these surfaces for the selective absorption of other molecules possessing fundamental similarities to water," Mavrikakis says. "Because catalysis is at the heart of engineering chemical reactions, this is also very fundamental for atomic-scale chemical reaction engineering."

While the research fills part of the foundation of chemistry, it also owes a great deal to state-of-the-art research technology.

"The size and nature of the calculations we had to do probably were not feasible until maybe four or five years ago, and the spatial and temporal resolution of scanning tunneling microscopy was not there," Mavrikakis says. "So it's advances in the methods that allow for this new information to be born."







"The Graduate" is a running joke in the plastics industry. In that  1967 Dustin Hoffman movie, a character famously - and accurately - summarized the future in one word: "Plastics."

The movie may have been influential, but Tom Mohs, founder of the Madison plastics manufacturer Placon, says he owes nothing to it. "I was already buying my second thermoforming machine when the movie came out," says Mohs. "No, I owe it to Ron Daggett."



Madison native Ronald Daggett (1915-2004) was a Renaissance man who taught the world's first engineering plastics class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1946. Mohs, who had taken Daggett's courses while at the UW, says Daggett was the first person he contacted when entering the industry in 1966. "I decided to do some design work, and Ron offered the use of equipment and machine tools in his basement. He was very kind, helpful, continued to teach me what I needed to know."

In addition to its main plant on McKee Road in Madison, Placon also has manufacturing in Indiana and Massachusetts. All told, 600 Placon employees make packaging for customers in food, retail and medical industries.

Other Wisconsin companies have also benefited from Daggett's expertise and encouragement. Former student Robert Cervenka founded what may be the state's largest plastics firm - Phillips Plastics, now called Phillips-Medisize - in 1964.

Although the Wisconsin plastics industry employed an estimated 35,000 people in 2011 - making it the eighth-largest plastics industry in the nation - the landscape was quite different when Daggett started teaching at the UW. At the time, plastics was a trial-and-error industry, says  Tim Osswald, a professor of mechanical engineering who teaches courses on plastics that originated in "Plastics and Plastic Processing," the course first taught by Daggett in 1946.






Natural Sodium Bentonite. []



Storing industrial waste has never been a pretty job, and it's getting harder.

New techniques for refining such metals as aluminum and vanadium, for example, also yield new byproducts that have to be sealed away from human and environmental contact. And the practice of "scrubbing" the exhaust of coal-fired power plants keeps chemicals like sulfur dioxide from entering the air, but produces a more concentrated residue.

Now, many of these wastes are proving too acidic, basic or concentrated for commonly used storage materials.

That's why University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers, partnering with companies through the National Science Foundation's Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry program, set out to reinforce those materials by fusing them with polymers.


[Excerpted from]




Other Materials News
Techniques at Argonne's Electron Microscopy Center helped scientists get a complete picture of this chemical reaction. Over the course of the reaction, the nanorod on the top left is slowly covered with a growth of copper deposits from the solution. Maps showed the locations of the elements in the reaction: Ag, or yellow, representing silver; blue representing gold, Au; and Cu, copper, shown in red. Credit: Nestor Zaluzec / Argonne National Laboratory Electron Microscopy Center.

( -Scientists' underwater cameras got a boost this summer from the Electron Microscopy Center at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. Along with colleagues at the University of Manchester, researchers captured the world's first real-time images and simultaneous chemical analysis of nanostructures while "underwater," or in solution.
"This technique will allow chemists and materials scientists to explore never-before-measured stages of nanoscale chemical processes in materials," said Argonne materials scientist Nestor Zaluzec, one of the paper's authors. Understanding how materials grow at the nanoscale level helps scientists tailor them for everything from batteries to solar cells.

At 77K, back-scattered electron images taken in the wake of a propagated crack show the formation of pronounced cell structures resulting from dislocation activity that includes deformation-induced nano-twinning. Image: Ritchie group


A new concept in metallic alloy design-called "high-entropy alloys"-has yielded a multiple-element material that not only tests out as one of the toughest on record, but, unlike most materials, the toughness as well as the strength and ductility of this alloy actually improves at cryogenic temperatures. This multi-element alloy was synthesized and tested through a collaboration of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley and Oak Ridge National Laboratories (Berkeley Lab and ORNL).


"We examined CrMnFeCoNi, a high-entropy alloy that contains five major elements rather than one dominant one," says Robert Ritchie, a materials scientist with Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division. "Our tests showed that despite containing multiple elements with different crystal structures, this alloy crystalizes as a single phase, face-centered cubic solid with exceptional damage tolerance, tensile strength above one gigapascal, and fracture toughness values that are off the charts, exceeding that of virtually all other metallic alloys."



One of the most important molecules on Earth, calcium carbonate crystallizes into chalk, shells and minerals the world over. In a study led by the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)'s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), researchers used a powerful microscope that allows them to see the birth of crystals in real time, giving them a peek at how different calcium carbonate crystals form, they report in Science.

Amorphous Calcium Carbonate to Aragonite
Amorphous Calcium Carbonate to Aragonite

The results might help scientists understand how to lock carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as well as how to better reconstruct ancient climates.

"Carbonates are most important for what they represent, interactions between biology and Earth," said lead researcher James De Yoreo, a materials scientist at PNNL. "For a decade, we've been studying the formation pathways of carbonates using high-powered microscopes, but we hadn't had the tools to watch the crystals form in real time. Now we know the pathways are far more complicated than envisioned in the models established in the 20th century."




A comprehensive look at how tiny particles in a lithium-ion battery

Battery Particle Simulation
Battery Particle Simulation

electrode behave shows that rapid-charging the battery and using it to do high-power, rapidly draining work may not be as damaging as researchers had thought-and that the benefits of slow draining and charging may have been overestimated.

The results challenge the prevailing view that "supercharging" batteries is always harder on battery electrodes than charging at slower rates, according to researchers from Stanford Univ. and the Stanford Institute for Materials & Energy Sciences (SIMES) at the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)'s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

They also suggest that scientists may be able to modify electrodes or change the way batteries are charged to promote more uniform charging and discharging and extend battery life. 

"The fine detail of what happens in an electrode during charging and discharging is just one of many factors that determine battery life, but it's one that, until this study, was not adequately understood," said William Chueh of SIMES, an assistant professor at Stanford's Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering and senior author of the study.  "We have found a new way to think about battery degradation."

The results, he said, can be directly applied to many oxide and graphite electrodes used in today's commercial lithium-ion batteries and in about half of those under development.

His team described the study in Natural Materials. The team included collaborators from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sandia National Laboratories, Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology America and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


Read more at: 


MRSEC acknowledgements

If you are using an instrument that is MRSEC funded (it will say near the instrument), please remember to acknowledge this in any publications. This will serve as a metric for how often MRSEC funded instruments are used and will help continue MRSEC support in future years. Thanks! If you have any questions, please contact Felix Lu.

In This Issue
Quick Links
DIY Science

Hands-on laboratory experiences are not just for kids! Each month, a different activity encourages adult (18+) audiences to put on lab coats, goggles and gloves and get a firsthand sense of cutting-edge research.

Usually held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday evenings, these do-it-yourself labs feature different topics ranging from epigenetics to microfluidics to nanotechnology to rapid prototyping and beyond.

Saturday Science at Discovery is supported by  Morgridge Institute for Research, UW-Madison and  WARF.

Student tour groups of your facility
Industrial facilities tours?
Are you interested in showing off your facility to interested student groups? Do you want to increase exposure of what your company does to encourage higher application rates and get student interns? Hosting a tour might be a good start! Please contact Felix Lu or Erin Gill to initiate this!

Using our campus facilities
AMIC associated staff
University of Wisconsin - Madison | | |

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