nascent industry of carbon-based nanomanufacturing will benefit from a new
cooperative venture between scientists at Rice University and its Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science
and Technology and scientists at the National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Md.
announced a $2.7 million, five-year cooperative research agreement to study how
nanoparticles – particularly fullerenes (aka buckyballs), nanotubes and
graphene – operate and interact with other materials at the molecular, even
payoff will be grand," said Rice engineering professor Matteo Pasquali,
the principal investigator of the new cooperative agreement to advance methods
of measurement and characterization of nanomaterials. The goal is to enable the
manufacture of high-end products that incorporate carbon-based nanomaterials
for enhanced optical, electrical, mechanical and thermal properties.
this agreement, we're building and expanding on several successful years of
collaboration between NIST and Rice," said Pasquali, a professor of
chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry at Rice. "Up to now,
the research has focused primarily on the separation, spectroscopy and rheology
of carbon nanotubes, but we will now go further to enable products and devices
to be manufactured that include many types of carbon nanomaterials."
lot of the research we've already done we can map onto the long-term goal of
benefiting U.S. manufacturing," he said.
range of products that could benefit from advanced nanomaterials is vast,
Pasquali said. The new research will help kick start advances in energy, health
care, materials science and national security.
look forward to leveraging our combined scientific, engineering and standards
leadership in nanomaterials to help the U.S. lead in the race toward
commercialization and manufacturing,” said Kalman Migler, leader of the
Complex Fluids Group of the Materials Science and Engineering Division at NIST.
opportunity to work closely with Rice faculty will quicken the pace of
realizing carbon-based nanoelectronics," said Angela Hight Walker, project
leader in the Semiconductor and Dimensional Metrology Division at NIST.
and Hight Walker are technical leads from NIST on the joint project.
Rice grant will be administered by Pasquali and his colleagues, Vice Provost
for Research Vicki Colvin, the Kenneth S. Pitzer-Schlumberger Professor of
Chemistry and a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and
Junichiro Kono, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of
physics and astronomy.
agreement builds on two earlier cooperative research agreements and a series of
NIST workshops at which industry, government and academic researchers were
polled about obstacles that remain in the path of efficient manufacturing with
nanoscale carbon, from production of components to integration.
agreement allows Rice to hire a team of postdoctoral associates and researchers
who will study ways to disperse and characterize nanomaterials for specific
uses, control and measure nano-network structures and create systems for
in-line measurements during manufacturing. The new team will be primarily based
at NIST headquarters in Maryland, where they will work closely with NIST
scientists while also drawing on Rice expertise as they develop new
at the nanoscale has become one of the most-studied materials by labs around
the world since the discovery of the buckyball at Rice in 1986, which brought
the Nobel Prize to Rice's Richard Smalley and Robert Curl. Since then,
nanocarbon has taken on new forms with the discovery of the carbon nanotube in
the late '90s and graphene, the single-atomic-layer form of carbon that won a
Nobel for its discovers two years ago.
lab has deep experience working on the dispersal and characterization of carbon
nanotubes and graphene, which group members are working toward extruding
into fibers that could become essential components in the advanced
energy grid envisioned by Smalley.
lab focuses on the physics and applications of carbon nanomaterials, with
recent breakthroughs on the fabrication of devices based on aligned carbon
nanotubes and graphene to control terahertz waves. "We've been working
closely with NIST scientists Ming Zheng, Jeffery Fagan and Angela Hight Walker
on the chirality separation and spectroscopy of single-wall carbon
nanotubes," Kono said. "Their successful enrichment of armchair
carbon nanotubes has led to a significant advancement in our understanding of
the electronic and optical properties of these one-dimensional metals."
Colvin's group has expertise in how nanoparticles
interact with the environment and living systems and has recently demonstrated
nano-based technology to remove
arsenic from drinking water in Mexico.