July 7th,

Erin Gill and Felix Lu 

ctors' message: 



Summer is in full swing, and we have been talking to many complementary groups both on and off campus and looking for potential opportunities that may benefit our industrial partners. Some of these include ideas for training certifications and research partnerships as well as ideas towards the planning of upcoming events (see below). We have received some thoughtful feedback from a few of you but we are always appreciative of more feedback from our industrial colleague and partners. Please don't be shy about this. We love chatting about these issues or just getting to meet you face to face!   


Several networking opportunities and news worthy events to get the academic and industrial scientists and engineers together; to close the loop between academia and industry for talented graduates and student interns, and to find opportunities to share resources and expertise:


1. The Wisconsin Science and Technology Symposium (sponsored by WISYS) meeting in July 26-28th in River Falls, Wisconsin. 


"Join the brightest minds in the Badger State this summer in River Falls! This two-day event is the year's signature networking opportunity for University of Wisconsin researchers, students and industry professionals. Ideas fly. Collaborations spark. What will you take home?


Registration Deadline: July 22, 2015

Registration for the 8th Annual Wisconsin Science & Technology Symposium is $50 for the eighth year in a row. This cost covers your attendance at the event and all meals. We will be hosting a dinner cruise on Monday, July 27th, which will cost $15. Scholarships are once again available to students; please contact Caitlin Washburn at cwashburn@wisys.org to register."  



2. The Office of Corporate Relations (OCR) is hosting a campus open house on August 19th, 2015. Join us for our Corporate Open House on Wednesday, August 19 - a day dedicated to you. Connect with business and industry liaisons from across campus, learn about existing opportunities and collaborations, and discover what's possible when you work with UW-Madison.

The day features:

  • Opportunities to connect with units and departments ready to collaborate and partner with business and industry
  • RED talks highlighting some of the best and brightest research happening at UW-Madison
  • Moderated sessions with business partners on how UW-Madison gave them a competitive advantage in the areas of recruitment, business development, and sponsored research

3. the annual AMIC meeting and Facilities days open house on Friday, September 11, 2015. 


Join us for the annual meeting where our industrial partners and affiliates interact with the cutting edge research topics to increase innovation  and find solutions to complex materials related challenges. We are also planning to hold a Facilities Days Open House to showcase our core facilities for soft and hard materials characterization and microfabrication. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact Felix Lu or Erin Gill



4. the Regional Materials and Manufacturing Network (RM2N) kick off meeting in September 21-22 at UW Eau Claire.  


You may have heard about the Regional Industrial Network and the Regional Materials and Manufacturing Network (RM2N) - if not, come join us to learn more about how this new network will help coalesce resources and capabilities in the region by engaging startups, small and large manufacturers, and harnessing the network and cutting edge research and instrumentation within the University of Wisconsin system!  


5. the Breakthroughs in Research and Education Workshop (BREW) in mid-October. (more details on this later).


Feel free to join us where MRSEC research and development and educational outreach overlap and where synergies are discovered and developed. The Interdisciplinary Education Group within the Wisconsin MRSEC is world renowned for it's breadth, depth and efforts to bring science and discovery to the public. This is where the ideas and synergies start! Educating our students to not only be inquisitive but to ask the right questions and know where the relevant resources are located or can be found, is arguably the origin of merging the educational and research arms of the MRSEC. Find out how you can bring in your industrial expertise or draw upon your experience or academic background to enrich this event!  



 As always, if you have questions, suggestions or comments, please let us know!



Best regards,


Felix Lu and Erin Gill,

Co-Directors, UW AMIC





UW News

From left to right: William Aquite, Tim Osswald, graduate students Neil Doll and Christian Schafer, and Natalie Rudolph holding objects created using additive manufacturing technology. Photo Credit: Scott Gordon.


An endowed professorship played a big role in establishing UW-Madison as a leader in additive manufacturing teaching and research.

Tim Osswald, who holds the Kuo K. and Cindy F. Wang professorship, says the professorship's annual discretionary funding gives him the resources to explore uncharted research directions that have the potential to yield high-impact breakthroughs. Because it's very difficult to secure outside funding for these types of projects, the funding from the professorship is essential for jump-starting the initial research.

"The professorship brings funding where there is none," Osswald says. "No big funding agency is going to fund me in an area where I haven't published. But if I'm interested in a new area and think I can contribute, this professorship gives me the freedom to start a research project in that area and see if I get promising initial results without first having to get funding from an outside agency."

If the early research is encouraging, Osswald can then write proposals to secure outside funding and continue the research.

Osswald says funding from the professorship was instrumental in kick-starting additive manufacturing research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. When he was interested in developing a technique to make powders for use in additive manufacturing, funding wasn't available from outside agencies. So he used funds from the professorship to build and research a die system to make powders.

"We were able to try out the idea, and it worked," he says. "The project really took off, and it has actually created a whole research area here. It brought us into additive manufacturing and also expanded our research into other areas."


Read More: http://www.engr.wisc.edu/news/archive/2015/May14e.html
Upcoming Events

Wisconsin Science and Technology Symposium (WSTS), July 26-28, 2015, River Falls

Join the brightest minds in the Badger State this summer in River Falls! This two-day event is the year's signature networking opportunity for University of Wisconsin researchers, students and industry professionals. Ideas fly. Collaborations spark. What will you take home?

Registration Deadline: July 22, 2015

Registration for the 8th Annual Wisconsin Science & Technology Symposium is $50 for the eighth year in a row. This cost covers your attendance at the event and all meals. We will be hosting a dinner cruise on Monday, July 27th, which will cost $15. Scholarships are once again available to students; please contact Caitlin Washburn at cwashburn@wisys.org to register.

Join us for our Corporate Open House on Wednesday, August 19 - a day dedicated to you. Connect with business and industry liaisons from across campus, learn about existing opportunities and collaborations, and discover what's possible when you work with UW-Madison.

The day features:

  • Opportunities to connect with units and departments ready to collaborate and partner with business and industry
  • RED talks highlighting some of the best and brightest research happening at UW-Madison
  • Moderated sessions with business partners on how UW-Madison gave them a competitive advantage in the areas of recruitment, business development, and sponsored research

The Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium (AMIC) annual meeting, Sept. 11, 2015, UW Madison campus

Join us for the annual meeting of the UW-AMIC. You don't have to be a member of the consortium to attend. All are welcome. The agenda is being developed but topics include student/faculty research topics of interest to industry, B2B networking time, student-industry networking, interactions with university partner groups as well as instrumentation and facilities tours.

The Regional Materials and Manufacturing Network (RM2N)

Save the date (Sept 21-22, UW Eau Claire) - for the 2015 Regional Materials and Manufacturing Network (RM2N) Symposium!

Please join us for the kick off meeting that brings together materials science colleagues, students from campus member affiliates, and industry representatives.

Program includes :
a student poster session,
networking opportunities,
research and industrial talks.

Discussions will include how the RM2N network can better engage Wisconsin industry/manufacturers and the UW system schools and put us in a better position to take advantage of local expertise, instrumentation and other resources, and how this can work to benefit all
Susann Ely

More details to come! Please contact Susann Ely  ( sely@wisc.edu) if you have further questions or visit wiscmat.org

North Central Tour
July 13 - July 18, 2015

Tuesday, July 14 in Chicago

UIC Forum, 725 Roosevelt Road, Meeting Rooms D,E,&F, Chicago, IL 60607

Contact Information:
Christopher Valera, Events and Communications Coordinator

University of Illinois EnterpriseWorks Chicago,

The SBIR Road Tour is a national outreach effort to convey the non-dilutive technology funding opportunity provided through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The SBIR/STTR programs annually provide $2.5 billion in funding to small advanced technology firms to spur new technological discoveries and facilitate the commercialization of innovations. Together they represent America's Largest Seed Fund.

Local innovation supporters in communities who have historically underutilized the opportunities provided through the SBIR/STTR programs have invited representatives of America's Largest Seed Fund to engage the small advanced technology community, including women and minority-owned research and development businesses. Every SBIR Road Tour stop represents a coveted opportunity to meet directly with Federal and State Program Managers who seed a wide spectrum of innovative ideas, while learning about your state sponsored innovation support infrastructure.

So, if you're an Innovator, Entrepreneur, Researcher, or Small Technology Firm, don't miss this opportunity, register today.




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

New instrumentation
  Wide Bandwidth Spectroscopic Ellipsometers 

The MRSEC has ordered a set of J.A. Woollam Co. spectroscopic ellipsometers. The V ariable Angle Spectroscopic Ellipsometer (VASE) will have a light source covering wavelengths from 193 nm to 2500 nm, and the IR-VASE model, will cover the spectrum from 1.7 microns to 30.0 microns (333 to 5880 cm-1). Availability is anticipated to be in the Fall of 2015.

From the Woollam website:

Why a VASE?
  • Maximum Data Accuracy
  • The VASE features a rotating analyzer ellipsometer (RAE) combined with our patented AutoRetarder® for unparalleled data accuracy.
  • High Precision Wavelength Selection

The HS-190™ scanning monochromator is designed specifically for spectroscopic ellipsometry. It optimizes speed, wavelength accuracy, and light throughput, while automatically controlling selection of wavelengths and spectral resolution.

Flexible Measurements
The V-VASE features a vertical sample mount to accommodate a large variety of measurement geometries including reflection, transmission, and scattering.



Why an IR-VASE?
  • Non-destructive Characterization
  • The IR-VASE offers non-contact measurements of many different material properties including thickness optical constants, material composition, chemical bonding, doping concentration, and more. Measurements do not require vacuum and can be used to study liquid/solid interfaces common in biology and chemistry applications.  
No Baseline or Reference Sample Required Ellipsometry is a modulation technique that does not require scans or reference samples to maintain accuracy. Even samples that are smaller than the beam diameter can be measured because the entire beam does not need to be collected.
Highly Accurate Measurement Patented calibration and data acquisition procedures remove effects of imperfect optical elements to provide accurate measurements of Ψ and Δ.

General Description

Modern ellipsometers are complex instruments that incorporate a wide variety of radiation sources, detectors, digital electronics and software. The range of wavelength employed is far in excess of what is visible so strictly these are no longer optical instruments.   


Single-wavelength vs. spectroscopic ellipsometry

Single-wavelength ellipsometry employs a monochromatic light source. This is usually a laser in the visible spectral region, for instance, a HeNe laser with a wavelength of 632.8 nm. Therefore, single-wavelength ellipsometry is also called laser ellipsometry. The advantage of laser ellipsometry is that laser beams can be focused on a small spot size. Furthermore, lasers have a higher power than broad band light sources. Therefore, laser ellipsometry can be used for imaging (see below). However, the experimental output is restricted to one set of and values per measurement. Spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) employs broad band light sources, which cover a certain spectral range in the infrared, visible or ultraviolet spectral region. By that the complex refractive index or the dielectric function tensor in the corresponding spectral region can be obtained, which gives access to a large number of fundamental physical properties. Infrared spectroscopic ellipsometry (IRSE) can probe lattice vibrational (phonon) and free charge carrier (plasmon) properties. Spectroscopic ellipsometry in the near infrared, visible up to ultraviolet spectral region studies the refractive index in the transparency or below-band-gap region and electronic properties, for instance, band-to-band transitions or excitons.

[Source: Wikipedia]

 Quartz Crystal Microbalance

The MRSEC has procured a Biolin Qsense E4 QCM-D which will reside in the Soft Materials Laboratory in Engineering Hall. Availability is anticipated to start in July, 2015.


From the Biolin website:


The Q-Sense E4 is a 4-channel quartz crystal microbalance for rapid analysis of molecular interactions at surfaces. Four sensors enable four simultaneous measurements performed in parallel or series. The E4 can be used with the optional open, humidity, window and electrochemistry modules that enable applications with specific measurement requirements, as well as combining QCM-D measurements simultaneously with other techniques.

Features & Benefits
  • 4-sensor chamber enables high throughput and increases reproducibility.
  • Chambers are specifically designed for controlled flow measurements.
  • All parts exposed to liquid are easily removed to simplify individual cleaning.
  • Complete software package for convenient presentation and analysis of data.
  • The latest electronics and software ensure maximum sensitivity.
  • Complement with Q-Sense E1 to enable combinational measurements with e.g. electrochemistry, ellipsometry or microscopy.
Applications Product details

Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation monitoring, QCM-D, analyses surface interactions at the nanoscale. QCM-D is a label-free and real-time technology, providing information about mass change as well as structural changes.

The Q-Sense E4 is a real-time analytical instrument for studies of molecular events occurring on surfaces. The E4 measures mass and viscoelastic properties of molecular layers as they build up or change on the sensor surface. Q-Sense E4 instruments play a key role in areas such as materials, protein and surfactant research.

The Q-Sense E4 is a complete turnkey instrument including everything needed to quickly get started and produce high quality data. The instrument has four flow modules, each holding one sensor enabling four parallel measurements. There are several optional modules enabling combination measurements, such as electrochemistry QCM-D. Our product offering includes all hardware, software, support and training to get you started quickly and help you interpret your results.  

If you have any questions about these instruments, please contact Felix Lu ( fplu@wisc.edu) or call me at (608) 262-6099.

UW Materials Science in the news
Chemical phase map shows how the electrochemical discharge of iron fluoride microwires proceeded from 0% discharge (left), to 50% (middle), to 95% (right). Image: Linsen Li

  In a move that could improve the energy storage of everything from portable electronics to electric microgrids, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison and Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers have developed a novel x-ray imaging technique to visualize and study the electrochemical reactions in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries containing a new type of material, iron fluoride.
Chemistry Professor Song Jin

"Iron fluoride has the potential to triple the amount of energy a conventional lithium-ion battery can store," says Song Jin, a UW-Madison professor of chemistry and Wisconsin Energy Institute affiliate. "However, we have yet to tap its true potential."

Graduate student Linsen Li worked with Jin and other collaborators to perform experiments with a state-of-the-art transmission x-ray microscope at the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven. There, they collected chemical maps from actual coin cell batteries filled with iron fluoride during battery cycling to determine how well they perform. The results are published in Nature Communications.

"In the past, we weren't able to truly understand what is happening to iron fluoride during battery reactions because other battery components were getting in the way of getting a precise image," says Li.

By accounting for the background signals that would otherwise confuse the image, Li was able to accurately visualize and measure, at the nanoscale, the chemical changes iron fluoride undergoes to store and discharge energy.

Thus far, using iron fluoride in rechargeable lithium ion batteries has presented scientists with two challenges. The first is that it doesn't recharge very well in its current form.

"This would be like your smart phone only charging half as much the first time, and even less thereafter," says Li. "Consumers would rather have a battery that charges consistently through hundreds of charges."

By examining iron fluoride transformation in batteries at the nanoscale, Jin and Li's new x-ray imaging method pinpoints each individual reaction to understand why capacity decay may be occurring.

"In analyzing the x-ray data on this level, we were able to track the electrochemical reactions with far more accuracy than previous methods, and determined that iron fluoride performs better when it has a porous microstructure," says Li.


[Read more:


Through his work with Teel Plastics, which manufactures plastic profiles, pipes and tubing, Tim Osswald and his graduate students have solved sophisticated problems and developed a broader understanding of the plastics industry.


For University of Wisconsin-Madison plastics engineer Tim Osswald, the Wisconsin Idea is about taking the extra step: taking research out of the lab.

Through his work with Baraboo, Wisconsin company Teel Plastics, which manufactures a variety of plastic profiles, pipes and tubing, Osswald, the Kuo K. and Cindy F. Wang professor of mechanical engineering, and his graduate students have solved sophisticated problems and developed a broader understanding of the plastics industry.

Specifically, they've helped Teel develop new polymer blends and optimize pipe manufacturing practices.

Mechanical Engineering Professor Tim Osswald

Osswald, who is also on the company's technical advisory board, says Teel is an ideal example of how companies in Wisconsin have used the university as a resource. Yet their relationship is far from a one-way street: Teel's challenges allow Osswald and his students to confront relevant and contemporary issues in industry.

"We want to keep our feet on the ground and we do that by knowing exactly what the needs are of the industry," he says. "So I think that keeps us in the forefront, because we know what's needed out there."


[Read more:
Thermal Spray Technologies uses a supersonic spray process to deposit a coating just a few thousandths of an inch thick at temperatures in the thousands of degrees. Here, the coating will alter the electrical properties of an innovative surgical device. Photos: David Tenenbaum


SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. - A company spawned by an experiment on lawn mower blades has mushroomed into a national leader in high-temperature coatings that alter the surface properties of metal.

The coatings can change the electrical conductivity of metal or make it resist corrosion or wear. Instead of hardening an entire part that sorts wheat from chaff in a farmer's combine, Thermal Spray Technologies (TST) sprays on a layer just a few thousandths of an inch thick at temperatures in the thousands of degrees. This can, in some cases, raise a part's lifetime from 200 hours to 1,000 hours.

Thermal spray refers to several technologies used to heat and spray fine particles onto a surface where they congeal to form, in effect, a ceramic or metallic skin.

Ceramics can be tough and corrosion resistant, which means they can solve myriad problems in manufacturing. TST serves manufacturers of oil, gas and agricultural equipment, motorcycles and surgical instruments. The firm also coats valves and pumps for the food industry, parts for bicycles, and air cleaners at power plants.

TST traces its roots to Dick Wilkey, president of Fisher-Barton in Watertown. In 1984, Wilkey contacted Frank Worzala, a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, looking for a graduate student to develop a new coating technology.



Read more:

East Wash development including StartingBlock entrepreneurial hub grows in scale

It started as a dream to create an entrepreneurial hub, somewhere in the central city.

Now, StartingBlock Madison will be the anchor for a project that has grown to a proposed two towers of commercial space in the 800 block of East Washington Avenue - some of it, to be occupied by American Family Insurance - plus a city-owned parking ramp that might be built a block away.

The total project cost could top $60 million.

"This will be an exciting project for the city of Madison," said Scott Resnick, the new executive director of StartingBlock.

But it still has some hurdles to cross.

The StartingBlock concept has been under discussion for

The East Washington Avenue corridor could soon be getting a new huge development. Gebhardt Development getting ready to submit to the city plans to build two large office buildings, including space for the StartingBlock Madison entrepreneurial hub, on the 800 block of East Washington Avenue, which is at right of this picture. Read more: http://host.madison.com/business/east-wash-development-including-startingblock-entrepreneurial-hub-grows-in-scale/article_31423284-1664-5f38-bc31-a122fb98e5fd.html#ixzz3fEylIoPB

about two and a half years. It will occupy about 50,000 square feet of space and serve as home to the Sector67 maker space, gener8tor business accelerator, Capital Entrepreneurs mentor group, and presumably, a flock of young businesses looking to take advantage of the array of resources.

Last fall, StartingBlock became part of a proposal by Gebhardt Development to build a 10- to 12-story building with up to 140,000 square feet of space and four floors of parking.




Read more:   http://host.madison.com/business/east-wash-development-including-startingblock-entrepreneurial-hub-grows-in-scale/article_31423284-1664-5f38-bc31-a122fb98e5fd.html#ixzz3fEwmv9eM
Other Materials News
A new film of carbon nanotubes cures composites for airplane wings and fuselages, using only 1% of the energy required by traditional, oven-based manufacturing processes. Image: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

  Composite materials used in aircraft wings and fuselages are typically manufactured in large, industrial-sized ovens: Multiple polymer layers are blasted with temperatures up to 750 F, and solidified to form a solid, resilient material. Using this approach, considerable energy is required first to heat the oven, then the gas around it, and finally the actual composite.

Aerospace engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have now developed a carbon nanotube (CNT) film that can heat and solidify a composite without the need for massive ovens. When connected to an electrical power source, and wrapped over a multilayer polymer composite, the heated film stimulates the polymer to solidify.

The group tested the film on a common carbon-fiber material used in aircraft components, and found that the film created a composite as strong as that manufactured in conventional ovens-while using only 1% of the energy.

The new "out-of-oven" approach may offer a more direct, energy-saving method for manufacturing virtually any industrial composite, says Brian L. Wardle, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.

"Typically, if you're going to cook a fuselage for an Airbus A350 or Boeing 787, you've got about a four-story oven that's tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure that you don't need," Wardle says. "Our technique puts the heat where it is needed, in direct contact with the part being assembled. Think of it as a self-heating pizza. ... Instead of an oven, you just plug the pizza into the wall and it cooks itself."



[Read more:


Ball-and-stick diagram of potassium tert-butoxide, a common chemical that can replace precious metals in certain kinds of reactions.

Of what use is a newborn baby? This rhetorical question, variously attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Michael Faraday and Thomas Edison, is meant to suggest that a novel discovery or invention whose ultimate utility is not yet known should be viewed as a bouncing bundle of potential.

Along these lines, the eight-minute video Element 19 can be considered a sort of birth announcement. It heralds what Caltech's Resnick Sustainability Institute, which produced the video and funded the work it describes, calls a breakthrough in sustainable chemistry.

The baby in this metaphor is a catalyst that, unlike its cousins that pervade modern industry, is based not on precious metals like gold and platinum, but rather on something you can get out of a banana: potassium. The father (or perhaps more accurately if we ignore the gender problem, the mother) is a Caltech grad student named Anton Toutov, who reports that the delivery was long and difficult.

This new technology is already capable of manufacturing chemicals used in pharmaceuticals, agriculture and cosmetics in a much more environmentally friendly way than traditional methods. The catalyst requires little or no processing with petrochemicals and operates at much lower temperatures than standard catalytic methods, both of which keep its carbon footprint tiny. It can reduce air pollution from certain kinds of transportation fuels and, unlike the precious-metal processes it replaces, it produces no toxic waste. But like a baby, its ultimate accomplishments may be yet to come.

Magic trick

The story began in the Caltech laboratory of professor Robert Grubbs, co-recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, where postdoc Alexey Fedorov was leading an experiment in chemically breaking apart a tough kind of plant matter called lignin. Success could lead to the ability to turn waste material from paper mills and farms into carbon-neutral biofuels, among other uses. Toutov, who at the time was still hoping to be accepted as a Ph.D. candidate, was working with him.

They noticed that, in addition to the chemical reaction they had intended, another reaction-thought to require the assistance of a precious-metal catalyst-had taken place without one. Performing the role of a precious metal, apparently, was a very un-precious compound of potassium. For chemists, it was like seeing David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear.

[Read more:


Sandia National Laboratories researchers Jon Ihlefeld, left, and David Scrymgeour use an atomic force microscope to examine changes in a material's phonon-scattering internal walls, before and after applying a voltage. The material scrutinized, PZT, has wide commercial uses. Photo: Randy Montoya

Modern research has found no simple, inexpensive way to alter a material's thermal conductivity at room temperature.

That lack of control has made it hard to create new classes of devices that use phonons-the agents of thermal conductivity-rather than electrons or photons to harvest energy or transmit information. Phonons-atomic vibrations that transport heat energy in solids at speeds up to the speed of sound-have proved hard to harness.

Now, using only a 9-V battery at room temperature, a team led by Sandia National Laboratories researcher Jon Ihlefeld has altered the thermal conductivity of the widely used material PZT (lead zirconate titanate) by as much as 11% at subsecond time scales. They did it without resorting to expensive surgeries like changing the material's composition or forcing phase transitions to other states of matter.

PZT, either as a ceramic or a thin film, is used in a wide range of devices ranging from computer hard drives, push-button sparkers for barbecue grills, speed-pass transponders at highway toll booths and many microelectromechanical designs.

"We can alter PZT's thermal conductivity over a broad temperature range, rather than only at the cryogenic temperatures achieved by other research groups," said Ihlefeld. "And we can do it reversibly: When we release our voltage, the thermal conductivity returns to its original value."

The work was performed on materials with closely spaced internal interfaces-so-called domain walls-unavailable in earlier decades. The close spacing allows better control of phonon passage.

"We showed that we can prepare crystalline materials with interfaces that can be altered with an electric field. Because these interfaces scatter phonons," said Ihlefeld, "we can actively change a material's thermal conductivity by simply changing their concentration. We feel this groundbreaking work will advance the field of phononics."

The researchers, supported by Sandia's Laboratory Directed Research and Development office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation, used a scanning electron microscope and an atomic force microscope to observe how the domain walls of subsections of the material changed in length and shape under the influence of an electrical voltage. It is this change that controllably altered the transport of phonons within the material.

[Read more:


Metallic glass nanorods, shown here, are fabricated by sputtering, using a self-shadowing mechanism. A vast range of chemical compositions can be realized with this method, over large macroscopic areas

Metallic glass, a class of materials that offers both pliability and strength, is poised for a friendly takeover of the chemical landscape.

Yale Univ. engineers have found a unique method for designing metallic glass nanostructures across a wide range of chemicals. The process will enable the fabrication of an array of new materials, with applications for everything from fuel cells to biological implants.

"It's a huge step for nanofabrication," said Jan Schroers, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Yale, and co-author of a paper published online in Nature Communications. "You really now have the entire toolbox to change how you make these glasses for other chemistries."

Schroers and his team at Yale have spent years refining processes for designing metallic glass nanostructures-complex, multicomponent alloys that are constructed at the nanoscale-within a limited number of alloy systems. Those materials can be molded much like plastic and already are being used in a variety of manufacturing applications, from watch parts to phone casings.

In the new paper, Schroers demonstrates a method for applying metallic glass nanostructures to a broad range of glass-forming alloys. The process involves depositing the material into the mold in vapor form, resulting in the ability to control the size, shape, and composition of alloys at the nanoscale.

"Controlling size and reaching the smallest ~10 nm dimensions-1/10,000 of the diameter of a human hair-is something that we have demonstrated before," Schroers said. "However, we could only do this for one, very specific chemistry. With our new method we can fabricate nanostructures similar in size but with even higher complexity in shape and realize all this in a very wide range of alloys."



Researchers use numerical simulations to predict different patterns that may form as viscous threads fall onto a moving belt. Image: P.T. Brun

Drizzling honey on toast can produce mesmerizing, meandering patterns, as the syrupy fluid ripples and coils in a sticky, golden thread. Dribbling paint on canvas can produce similarly serpentine loops and waves.

The patterns created by such viscous fluids can be reproduced experimentally in a setup known as a "fluid mechanical sewing machine," in which an overhead nozzle deposits a thick fluid onto a moving conveyor belt. Researchers have carried out such experiments in an effort to identify the physical factors that influence the patterns that form.

Now a group of mathematicians at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge Univ. and elsewhere have developed a simple model to predict patterns formed by viscous fluids as they fall onto a moving surface.

The researchers looked at four patterns-sinusoidal waves, repeating and alternating loops and straight lines-and observed that the pattern formed depends on the ratio between the fluid's speed on impact and the speed of the conveyor belt. The team found that this ratio influences a fluid's shape, or curvature, just before hitting the surface, which in turn determines the pattern that forms.

The team used its model to create simulations of viscous flow; these simulations matched the patterns produced in previous experiments by others.

The simple geometrical model may be easily integrated into computer graphics simulations to create realistic videos of viscous liquids like honey and oil. The model may also be used to optimize manufacturing processes for products such as nonwoven materials-synthetic fabrics that are manufactured through an injection process that sprays polymers onto a conveyor belt, in patterns meant to resemble woven textiles.




Researchers have demonstrated a new process for the expanded use of lightweight aluminum in cars and trucks at the speed, scale, quality and consistency required by the auto industry. The process reduces production time and costs while yielding strong and lightweight parts, for example delivering a car door that is 62% lighter and 25% cheaper than that produced with today's manufacturing methods.

In partnership with General Motors, Alcoa and TWB Company LLC, researchers from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)'s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have transformed a joining technique called friction stir welding, or FSW. The technique now can be used to join aluminum sheets of varying thicknesses, which is key to producing auto parts that are light yet retain strength where it's most needed. The PNNL-developed process also is ten times faster than current FSW techniques, representing production speeds that, for the first time, meet high-volume assembly requirements. The advancement is reported in the May issue of the Journal of Materials.

"We looked at the barriers preventing the use of more lightweight alloys in cars, picked what we felt was a top challenge, and then formulated a team that represented the entire supply chain to tackle it," said Yuri Hovanski, the program manager at PNNL and lead author. "The result is a proven process that overcomes the speed, scale and quality limitations of FSW that previously were showstoppers for the auto industry."

The two-phase, six-year project is funded by the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy with in-kind partner contributions from each of the participating companies.

Aluminum can't take the heat
To create door frames, hoods and other auto parts, sheets of metal are welded together end-to-end into a "tailor-welded blank" which is then cut into appropriate sizes before being stamped into the final shape. This process allows a high degree of customization. For example, a thicker gauge of metal can be used on one side of a car part, where extra strength is needed, joined via a weld to a thinner gauge on the side where it's not.

Conventional laser welding works great to join varying thicknesses of steel, but can be problematic when applied to aluminum due to the reactivity of molten aluminum to air. Instead, manufacturers today must create several components from single sheets that are then riveted together after being stamped, resulting in additional production steps and more parts that drive up cost and weight.

"Reducing the weight of a vehicle by 10% can decrease fuel consumption by 6%-8%, so the auto industry is very interested in a welding technique such as FSW that is aluminum friendly," Hovanski said.

Mixed, not melted
A friction-stir welding machine looks and acts like a cross between a drill press and a sewing machine. Lowered onto two metal sheets sitting side-by-side, the "drill bit," or in this case pin tool, spins against both edges. As it travels along, the pin creates friction that heats, mixes and joins the alloys without melting them. By auto industry production standards, however, the process was too slow-just one-half meter welded per minute-which is why the technique has been used only in niche applications, if at all.




Repairing cracks in concrete structures is a time consuming, costly but necessary business. TU Delft is researching how the self-healing capacity of concrete structures can be improved by using calcite-precipitating bacteria and what conditions are necessary for these bacteria to thrive.

Crack prevention
Although concrete is the world's most used building material, it has a serious flaw: it can easily crack when under tension. If these cracks become too large, they will lead to corrosion of the steel reinforcement, which not only results in an unattractive appearance, but also jeopardizes the structure's mechanical qualities. That is why engineers often use a larger than necessary amount of steel reinforcement within a concrete structure in order to prevent the cracks from becoming too large. This extra steel has no structural use and is an expensive solution as steel prices are high. Another way to deal with cracks is to repair them, but this can be extremely difficult in underground or liquid retaining structures. The ultimate solution would be self-healing concrete, which is exactly what TU Delft researchers are working on.

By embedding calcite-precipitating bacteria in the concrete mixture, it is possible to create concrete that has self-healing capacities. As the pH value of concrete is very high, only the so-called alkaliphilic bacteria are able to survive. We have mixed several of these bacteria into a cement paste and after a month found the spores of three particular bacteria where still viable.

Practical use
The use of bacterial concrete can in theory lead to substantial savings, especially in steel reinforced concrete. It will also mean durability issues can be tackled in a new and more economical way when designing concrete structures. Bacterial concrete is ideal for constructing underground retainers for hazardous waste, as no humans would have to go near it to repair any occurring cracks. For residential buildings, however, it does seem the traditional repairing of cracks will remain the most economically attractive solution for now.

Currently, our research focuses on creating the right conditions for the bacteria to produce as much calcite as possible and on optimizing the distribution of food for the bacteria. In addition, we are also looking at the self-healing ability of bacterial concrete and how this is affected by the various deterioration mechanisms involved, such as sulfate attacks or temperature fluctuations. All of our research is done at the TU Delft's Microlab, where fracture testing equipment as well as numerical tools for structure information and fracture modeling are available.

The Self Healing Concrete project is part of the TU Delft wide Self-healing Materials research programme at the Delft Center for Materials (DCMat). Furthermore, we collaborate with the Biotechnology section at the Faculty of Applied Sciences and the South Dakota School of Mines in the United States.



The proposed thermoelectric device consists of many parallel nanowires with an external gate voltage that can be tuned to optimize the efficiency and power output for different temperature differences between the leads and different loads. Credit: Muttalib and Hershfield. ©2015 American Physical Society

(Phys.org)-Currently, up to 75% of the energy generated by a car's engine is lost as waste heat. In theory, some of this waste heat can be converted into electricity using thermoelectric devices, although so far the efficiency of these devices has been too low to enable widespread commercialization.

Now in a new study, physicists have demonstrated that a thermoelectric device made of nanowires may achieve a high enough efficiency to be industrially competitive, potentially leading to improvements in fuel economy and other applications.

The scientists, Khandker A. Muttalib and Selman Hershfield, both physics professors at the University of Florida in Gainesville, have published a paper on the new thermoelectric device in a recent issue of Physical Review Applied.

In addition to recovering energy from the waste heat in combustion engines in vehicles, thermoelectric devices could also perform similar functions in the engines of ships, as well as in power plants, manufacturing refineries, and other places that produce large amounts of waste heat.

In their paper, the scientists explain that using bulk materials in thermoelectric devices has turned out to be inherently inefficient, but nanoengineered materials appear to be more promising. The new device consists simply of two large leads at different temperatures connected by several noninteracting, very thin nanowires. Each nanowire transmits current from the hotter lead to the colder lead, and many nanowires in parallel can scale the power up to high levels.

One of the biggest challenges facing thermoelectric devices is that the conditions that optimize a device's efficiency and power output are different for different temperature gradients between the two leads as well as for different electrical loads (how much power is being consumed at a given moment). Because of this complexity, the optimum device for a particular temperature gradient and load may not work nearly as well for a different temperature gradient or load.


A. The new patent includes a compact programmable NANOrotator that allows the fabrication of "smart" tips. B. Coaxial "smart" tips serve as novel x-ray detectors, shown before (left) and after (right) nanofabrication. Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

A new patent blazes a path forward for a way to simultaneously determine the physical structure and chemical makeup of materials close to the atomic level using a combination of microscopy techniques.

Synchrotron light sources are used for material characterization in condensed matter physics, materials science, chemistry, biology, and energy science. However, even with the best synchrotron X-ray microscope available to date, direct chemical imaging cannot be reached below a spatial limit of about 10 nanometers. Now, scientists can chemically fingerprint surfaces to potentially overcome this spatial limitation and open new routes to develop the next generation of materials.

Comprehensive understanding of nanoscale systems requires tools with both the ability to resolve nanometer structures as well as the direct observation of chemical composition and magnetic properties. X-ray microscopy methods provide the desired chemical and magnetic sensitivity, but the spatial resolution, or the ability to "see" tiny structures, is limited.

On the other hand, scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) achieves the requisite high spatial resolution; however, it has a fundamental drawback - it is chemically blind. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have advanced a new technology that pairs the powerful capabilities of x-ray analysis and STM. This long-standing goal has become reality through the development of "smart" nanofabricated coaxial multilayer probes that serve as detectors in the microscope as well as a programmable nanomanipulator to fabricate these.

Further, a specialized electronic filter was invented that allows scientists to obtain simultaneous topographic and chemical information on surfaces, giving the chemical fingerprint of the material while also providing a detailed, clear image of the physical structure. The researchers expect that the new patent will ultimately enable the study of the electronic, chemical, and magnetic properties in individual atoms.


Representation of the helium ion beam form creating an atomic-scale Josephson junction in a crystal of yttrium barium copper oxide, which is a high-transition-temperature ceramic superconductor. The inset depicts what the device looks like on the macroscopic millimeter scale. Credit: Meng Ma/UCSD

Physicists at UC San Diego have developed a new way to control the transport of electrical currents through high-temperature superconductors-materials discovered nearly 30 years ago that lose all resistance to electricity at commercially attainable low temperatures. 

Their development, detailed in two separate scientific publications, paves the way for the development of sophisticated electronic devices capable of allowing scientists or clinicians to non-invasively measure the tiny magnetic fields in the heart or brain, and improve satellite communications.

"We believe this new approach will have a significant and far-reaching impact in medicine, physics, materials science and satellite communications," said Robert Dynes, a professor of physics and former chancellor of UC San Diego. "It will enable the development of a new generation of superconducting electronics covering a wide spectrum, ranging from highly sensitive magnetometers for biomagnetic measurements of the human body to large-scale arrays for wideband satellite communications. In basic science, it is hoped it will contribute to the unravelling of the mysteries of unconventional superconductors and could play a major role in new technologies, such as quantum information science."

The research team headed by Dynes and Cybart, summarized its achievements in this week's issue of Applied Physics Letters. Another paper outlining the initial discovery was published online April 27 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

The developments breathe new life into the promise of electronics constructed from ceramic materials that become superconducting-that is, lose all resistance to electricity-at temperatures that can be easily achieved in the laboratory with liquid nitrogen, which boils at 77 degrees Kelvin or 77 degrees above absolute zero.



Snapshot of correlation of particle structure and dynamics at density of 0.97. Disks are colored according to the following criteria: white, low mobility and high order; black, high mobility and low order; cyan, low mobility and low order; and magenta, high mobility and high order. Credit: John Russo, Hajime Tanaka

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-06-glass-transition.html#jCp

A University of Tokyo research group has demonstrated through computer simulations that the enhancement of fluctuations in a liquid's structure plays an important role as a liquid becomes a solid near the glass-transition point, a temperature below the melting point. This result increases our understanding of the origin of the glass transition and is expected to shed new light on the structure of liquids, thought until now to have been uniform and random.

Normally, a liquid changes to a solid when its temperature becomes lower than the melting point. However, some materials remain liquid even below the melting point, finally solidifying with further cooling (supercooling) at what is called the glass-transition point. Despite intensive research over the years, its physical mechanism has remained elusive. One possibility is that increasing structural order develops in a supercooled liquid upon cooling, increasing the size of that structure and thus slowing down the dynamics and leading to the glass transition.

Because the structure of liquids that undergo a glass transition is disordered, it was difficult to detect fluctuations of such a structure, but a new method has been proposed recently. This method does not depend on the type of liquid structure and has attracted much attention as it may enable extraction of structure size, which is key to understanding slow dynamics, for all liquids.

The research group of Professor Hajime Tanaka and Project Research Associate John Russo at the Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo, were only able to retrieve the separation distance of two particles using this method, finding instead that this method fails at extracting the correlation between more than two particles (many-body correlations) which are key for understanding the glass transition. In a liquid composed of disk-shaped particles that do not deform no matter how much force is applied (a hard disc liquid), it is apparent that the dynamics of the liquid are dominated by a hexagonal lattice structure that is impossible to extract using this method.




An infrared image showing the temperature difference between the new surface (centre) and an existing cool roof used in testing. Picture by the research team
In summary: 
  • A UTS research team is claiming a first in super cool roof technology with a surface that stays cooler than the ambient air temperature even under full summer sun
  • The development has implications for reducing both the heat island effect in urban areas and peak power demand from air-conditioning

Sydney materials scientists are claiming a breakthrough in cool roof technology with a surface they've developed that will stay cooler than the ambient air temperature, even under the mid-summer Australian sun.

The development, with major implications for reducing the heat load in urban areas and consequently cutting energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, is reported in the latest edition of the journal Advanced Science.

The study by Dr Angus Gentle and Emeritus Professor Geoff Smith from the University of Technology Sydney has reported results from a "coated polymer stack" - a combination of specially chosen polyesters on a silver layer.

"We demonstrate for the first time how to make a roof colder than the air temperature around it, even under the most intense summer conditions," Professor Smith said.

"Roofs heat up by absorbing sunlight, so darker roofs can get very hot. Even white roofs still absorb enough sunlight to warm up by 9 degrees Celsius to 12 degrees Celsius.

"This new surface, however, stayed 11 degrees or more colder than an existing state-of-the-art white roof nearby because it absorbs only 3 per cent of incident sunlight while simultaneously strongly radiating heat at infrared wavelengths that are not absorbed by the atmosphere.

"Furthermore the plastic materials used for the demonstration were available commercially and potentially suited to use on basic roofing."

Professor Smith said that cooling a roof below ambient air temperature had up until now been "an elusive target".

"Cool roofing reduces the severity of the urban heat island problem in towns and cities and helps eliminate peak power demand problems from the operation of many air conditioners," he said.

"The added feedback benefits from cool roofs are not yet widely appreciated, but recent reports have shown they are substantial. Examples include ventilation with cooler air and higher performance of rooftop air-conditioning installations."


"This new surface, however, stayed 11 degrees or more colder than an existing state-of-the-art white roof nearby because it absorbs only 3 per cent of incident sunlight while simultaneously strongly radiating heat at infrared wavelengths that are not absorbed by the atmosphere.

"Furthermore the plastic materials used for the demonstration were available commercially and potentially suited to use on basic roofing."

Professor Smith said that cooling a roof below ambient air temperature had up until now been "an elusive target".

"Cool roofing reduces the severity of the urban heat island problem in towns and cities and helps eliminate peak power demand problems from the operation of many air conditioners," he said.

"The added feedback benefits from cool roofs are not yet widely appreciated, but recent reports have shown they are substantial. Examples include ventilation with cooler air and higher performance of rooftop air-conditioning installations."






Stanford Univ. scientists have invented a low-cost water splitter that uses a single catalyst to produce both hydrogen and oxygen gas 24 hrs a day, seven days a week.

The device, described in Nature Communications, could provide a renewable source of clean-burning hydrogen fuel for transportation and industry.

"We have developed a low-voltage, single-catalyst water splitter that continuously generates hydrogen and oxygen for more than 200 hrs, an exciting world-record performance," said study co-author Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford and of photon science at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

In an engineering first, Cui and his colleagues used lithium-ion battery technology to create one low-cost catalyst that is capable of driving the entire water-splitting reaction.

"Our group has pioneered the idea of using lithium-ion batteries to search for catalysts," Cui said. "Our hope is that this technique will lead to the discovery of new catalysts for other reactions beyond water splitting."

Clean hydrogen
Hydrogen has long been promoted as an emissions-free alternative to gasoline. Despite its sustainable reputation, most commercial-grade hydrogen is made from natural gas, a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming. As an alternative, scientists have been trying to develop a cheap and efficient way to extract pure hydrogen from water.

A conventional water-splitting device consists of two electrodes submerged in a water-based electrolyte. A low-voltage current applied to the electrodes drives a catalytic reaction that separates molecules of H2O, releasing bubbles of hydrogen on one electrode and oxygen on the other.

Each electrode is embedded with a different catalyst, typically platinum and iridium, two rare and costly metals. But in 2014, Stanford chemist Hongjie Dai developed a water splitter made of inexpensive nickel and iron that runs on an ordinary 1.5-V battery.

Single catalyst
In the new study, Cui and his colleagues advanced that technology further.

"Our water splitter is unique, because we only use one catalyst, nickel-iron oxide, for both electrodes," said graduate student Haotian Wang, lead author of the study. "This bifunctional catalyst can split water continuously for more than a week with a steady input of just 1.5 V of electricity. That's an unprecedented water-splitting efficiency of 82 percent at room temperature."






An infrared image showing the temperature difference between the new surface (centre) and an existing cool roof used in testing. Picture by the research team

How do Saharan Silver Ants remain cool in one of the warmest climates on the planet? A group of research engineers has found the answer to that question, adding that its findings could lead to the development of flat optical components with excellent cooling properties.    

The multinational project was a joint collaboration between Columbia University, the University of Zürich and the University of Washington. The team discovered the ants rely on a coat featuring unique hair that helps them control a broad range of electromagnetic waves, including visible and near-infrared. Different spectral bands call for different physical mechanisms to reduce body temperature.   

"This is a telling example of how evolution has triggered the adaptation of physical attributes to accomplish a physiological task and ensure survival, in this case to prevent Saharan silver ants from getting overheated," says Nafgang Yu, an assistant applied physics professor at Columbia Engineering. "While there have been many studies of the physical optics of living systems in the ultraviolet and visible range of the spectrum, our understanding of the role of infrared light in their lives is much less advanced. Our study shows that light invisible to the human eye does not necessarily mean that it does not play a crucial role for living organisms." 

Yu and his team initially set out to discover what role the ant's coat plays in helping it cool down. Once they concluded that infrared light plays an important role, they broadened their net. Their discovery could help improve optical components for cooling purposes.  





By studying iron extracted from cores drilled in rocks similar to these in Karijini National Park, Western Australia, UW-Madison researchers determined that half of the iron atoms had originated in shallow oceans after being processed by microbes 2.5 billion years ago. Credit: Clark Johnson



Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago.

That's the upshot of a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The findings have meaning for fields as diverse as mining and the search for life in space.

Clark Johnson, a professor of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and former postdoctoral researcher Weiqiang Li examined samples from the banded iron formation in Western Australia. Banded iron is the iron-rich rock found in ore deposits worldwide, from the proposed iron mine in Northern Wisconsin to the enormous mines of Western Australia.

These ancient deposits, up to 150 meters deep, were begging for explanation, says Johnson.

Scientists thought the iron had entered the ocean from hot, mineral-rich water released at mid-ocean vents that then precipitated to the ocean floor. Now Johnson and Li, who is currently at Nanjing University in China, show that half of the iron in banded iron was metabolized by ancient bacteria living along the continental shelves.

The banding was thought to represent some sort of seasonal changes. The UW-Madison researchers found long-term swings in the composition, but not variations on shorter periods like decades or centuries.

The study began with precise measurements of isotopes of iron and neodymium using one of the world's fastest lasers, housed in the UW-Madison geoscience department. (Isotopes, forms of an atom that differ only by weight, are often used to "fingerprint" the source of various samples.)





In this illustration, phagemid plasmids infect a targeted bacteria. Image: Christine Daniloff and Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT (plasmid illustration courtesy of the researchers)


The global rise in antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to public health, damaging our ability to fight deadly infections such as tuberculosis.

What's more, efforts to develop new antibiotics are not keeping pace with this growth in microbial resistance, resulting in a pressing need for new approaches to tackle bacterial infection.

In a paper published online in Nano Letters, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Harvard Univ. reveal that they have developed a new means of killing harmful bacteria.

The researchers have engineered particles, known as "phagemids," capable of producing toxins that are deadly to targeted bacteria.

Bacteriophages-viruses that infect and kill bacteria-have been used for many years to treat infection in countries such as those in the former Soviet Union. Unlike traditional broad-spectrum antibiotics, these viruses target specific bacteria without harming the body's normal microflora.

But bacteriophages can also cause potentially harmful side effects, according to James Collins, the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science in MIT's Dept. of Biological Engineering and Institute of Medical Engineering and Science, who led the research.

"Bacteriophages kill bacteria by lysing the cell, or causing it to burst," Collins says. "But this is problematic, as it can lead to the release of nasty toxins from the cell.

These toxins can lead to sepsis and even death in some cases, he says.


A gentler burst
In previous research, Collins and his colleagues engineered bacteriophages to express proteins that did not actually burst the cells, but instead increased the effectiveness of antibiotics when delivered at the same time.

To build on this earlier work, the researchers set out to develop a related technology that would target and kill specific bacteria, without bursting the cells and releasing their contents.

The researchers used synthetic biology techniques to develop a platform of particles called phagemids. These particles infect bacteria with small DNA molecules known as plasmids, which are able to replicate independently inside a host cell.

Once inside the cell, the plasmids are engineered to express different proteins or peptides-molecules made up of short chains of amino acids-that are toxic to the bacteria, Collins says.

"We systematically tested different antimicrobial peptides and bacterial toxins, and demonstrated that when you combine a number of these within the phagemids, you can kill the great majority of cells within a culture," he says.

The expressed toxins are designed to disrupt different cellular processes, such as bacterial replication, causing the cell to die without bursting open.





The image shows corrosion of a silver-gold alloy spontaneously resulting in the formation of nanoscale porous structures that undergo high-speed cracking under the action of a tensile stress. It helps demonstrate a discovery by an Arizona State University research team about the stress-corrosion behavior of metals that threatens the mechanical integrity of engineered components and structures.


Potential solutions to big problems continue to arise from research that is revealing how materials behave at the smallest scales.

The results of a new study to understand the interactions of various metal alloys at the nanometer and atomic scales are likely to aid advances in methods of preventing the failure of systems critical to public and industrial infrastructure.

Research led by Arizona State University materials science and engineering professor Karl Sieradzki is uncovering new knowledge about the causes of stress-corrosion cracking in alloys used in pipelines for transporting water, natural gas and fossil fuels - as well as for components used in nuclear power generating stations and the framework of aircraft.

Sieradzki is on the faculty of the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

His research team's findings are detailed in an advance online publication on June 22 of the paper "Potential-dependent dynamic fracture of nanoporous gold" on the website of the journal Nature Materials.




A sprayable foam could help first responders stop bleeding from major injuries at an accident site or combat zone.
Credit: American Chemical Society


Traumatic injuries, whether from serious car accidents, street violence or military combat, can lead to significant blood loss and death. But using a material derived from crustacean shells, scientists have now developed a foam that can be sprayed onto an open wound to stop the bleeding. They report their successful tests on pigs in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

For some serious injuries to arms and legs, medics can apply pressure to keep bleeding in check. But for major trauma to the torso, particularly when it affects vital organs, compression can make the situation worse. Currently, first responders have no way to stop this kind of bleeding, which is a leading cause of death among young adults and the most common cause of death from combat-related injuries. Srinivasa R. Raghavan, Matthew B. Dowling and colleagues wanted to find a simple way to treat these wounds quickly.

The researchers developed a sprayable foam made of modified chitosan, a biopolymer derived from the shells of shrimp and other crustaceans that is already being used in other types of non-foam wound dressings. In tests on pigs, the spray reduced blood loss by 90 percent.

The authors acknowledge funding from the National Science Foundation.





Microscale kirigami pattern on a nanocomposite sheet


The Japanese art of "kirigami", or paper cutting, has been used by scientists in the US to make electrically conductive composite sheets more elastic, increasing their strain from 4% to 370%, without significantly affecting their conductivity. The team has so far demonstrated its new technique by making stretchable plasma electrodes, but adds that its work could have a variety of applications, from reconfigurable structures to optoelectronic devices. The principles could also be used to design other composite materials that retain a specific property under mechanical strain.

Composite materials allow engineers to combine multiple materials with different properties to achieve a combination of properties not found in nature. One common tactic is to combine a strong elastic material with another that has a desired property, such as high electrical conductivity, but which is brittle. Unfortunately, microcracks can form in brittle regions, and stress then concentrates around their edges, allowing the material to fail. Using a composite with only a small proportion of brittle material can allow composites to stretch to many times their original length, but their functional properties are often drastically altered as they do so. "There is always a trade-off there," explains Nicholas Kotov of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. "We want to have the cake and we want to eat it too."

Cuts and notches

Kotov, together with Sharon Glotzer and colleagues at the University of Michigan, stressed carbon-nanotube/polymer composites designed to be electrically conductive, finding that they primarily deformed by the stretching of their internal fibres, before rupturing at around 5% strain. They then used photolithography to make a series of strategically placed cuts in the materials, according to the rules of kirigami. When they stressed the cut materials, the researchers found that they initially deformed in the same way. However, as the stress rose further, they began to absorb the extra strain energy by opening up the network of cuts, deforming out of the plane of the material and forming a "secondary elastic plateau" as the cuts gradually rotated with increasing load to align themselves with the applied stress.




If you used any instruments in the Materials Science Center, Soft Materials Laboratory, or the Wisconsin Center for Applied Microelectronics, please remember to acknowledge MRSEC funded instruments and facilities in any publications (DMR-1121288). 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
Core facilities

The Soft Materials Lab

The Soft Materials Lab, housed in the basement of Engineering Hall, has a wide spectrum of instruments for characterizing soft materials.  The lab  is managed by Anna Kiyanova who is available to answer all of your characterization questions. Some of the instrumentation in the SML is listed below:

Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC)

Dynamic Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)

Thermo-Gravimetric Analyzer (TGA)

Dynamical Mechanical Analyzer (DMA)


FTIR, PM-IRRAS, Fast Mapping Raman, Spin coater, Environmental SEM, Filmetrics F20 Reflectometer, Oxygen Plasma Asher, Contact Angle imager, atmospheric & vacuum ovens

Anna Kiyanova
(608) 263-1735

  The Materials Science Center (MSC)

The Materials Science Center has a wide spectrum of electron, optical and physical charaterization instruments, some of which are listed below. The MSC is fully staffed with highly experienced instrument expertise to help you with your sample characterization and data interpretation.


(S)TEMs with EDS/EELS & Cryo Capable

Atom Probe

XPS with Cluster Gun


Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope

Raman Microscope with multiple excitation sources


ZYGO optical Profilometer


Tabletop SEM

UV-VIS spectrometer



Sample Preparation facilities

sputter coaters/ion mills


Dr. Jerry Hunter
(608) 263-1073

The WCAM is a full spectrum micro/nano fabrication facility for processing and integrating devices in Silicon, III-V, group four, glass, plastic, materials. On site, fully-qualified and highly experienced staff are available to help you with your process development and answer questions. Processing capabilities include:

Photo/nanoimprint Lithography

wet/dry etching

metal /dielectric deposition

dielectric film growth

MEMS processing (critical point drying, wafer bonding and alignment, etc.)

packaging (wire bonding, die attach, dicing, curing)

Dan Christensen
(608) 262-6877

Wisconsin GEO-Science materials characterization facility

The materials characterization facility in the Geology dept has some complementary instrumentation along with materials experts to help you with your charaterization and sample prep challenges! A partial list of instruments is listed below:

Electron Microprobe Analysis
XRD (with Cobalt source)

and many more!

Dr. John Fournelle
Dept of Geology & Geophysics
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1215 W. Dayton St
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 262-7964 (office) 265-4798 (lab) 262-0693 (fax)  

DIY Science

Explore the Geology Museum and take a peek into Wisconsin's deep history!

On your visit yo
u can touch rocks from a time when there were volcanoes
in Wisconsin; see corals, jellyfish and other sea creatures that used to
live and swim where we now walk; and stand under the tusks of a mastodon
while imagining yourself in the Ice Age.  Also on display at the Geology
Museum are rocks and minerals that glow, a model of a Wisconsin cave,
dinosaurs and meteorites.

Our mineral, rock and fossil collections have the power to educate and
inspire visitors of all ages.  Come see for yourself!

Science Cafes

What is a science café?

Science cafés are live grassroots events held in casual settings like coffeehouses and pubs that are open to everyone, organized locally and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist on a particular topic. Science cafés have been held in communities across the globe for years.

To learn more, visit  sciencecafes.org 

Who should attend?
Everyone! S cience cafés are free and open to the public.
No prior scientific knowledge is needed, so anybody can participate.
What would I do at a science café?
Science cafés start with a presentation by a scientist or group of scientists about the evening's topic. Then the conversation about the topic begins. A science café is not a formal lecture-audience members are encouraged to ask questions and participate in the discussion.

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
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