A Week in Review: 3/25/12 to 3/31/12

A quick recap of AFRL and AFOSR news mentions over the past week.

March 26, 2012

Liquid-Like Compound May Lead to Better Thermoelectrics
In the continual quest for better thermoelectric materials—which convert heat into electricity and vice versa—researchers have identified a liquid-like compound whose properties give it the potential to be even more efficient than traditional thermoelectrics.
http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news-Liquid-Like-Compound-Could-Lead-to-Better-Thermoelectrics-032312.aspx?xmlmenuid=51

March 27, 2012

Simple, cheap way to mass-produce graphene nanosheets
Mixing a little dry ice and a simple industrial process cheaply mass-produces high-quality graphene nanosheets, researchers in South Korea and Case Western Reserve University report.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/cwru-scw032312.php

Exceptional Jet Fuel Produced From High-Quality Cellulosic Sugars
Virent and Virdia, formerly HCL CleanTech, announce the successful conversion of cellulosic pine tree sugars to drop-in hydrocarbon fuels within the BIRD Energy project….Virent used Virdia’s biomass-derived sugars to produce gasoline and jet fuel, the latter being sent to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for analysis where it passed rigorous testing.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/exceptional-jet-fuel-produced-from-high-quality-cellulosic-sugars-2012-03-26

March 28, 2012

Nanolithography: Named one of “100 Scientific Discoveries that Changed the World” by National Geographic
The recently published National Geographic special issue titled “100 Scientific Discoveries That Changed the World,” leads off with a research program that began in 1997 when the Air Force Office of Scientific Research funded a Northwestern University researcher by the name of Chad Mirkin. AFOSR took a chance on a process called Dip-Pen Nanolithography (DPN), and what Dr. Mirkin himself noted, was “a far out idea and a paradigm shift in scanning probe microscopy,” but indeed, proved to be an idea that changed the world.
http://www.wpafb.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123295086

Nanotechnology: Moving Beyond Small Thinking

Featured

The recently published National Geographic special issue titled “100 Scientific Discoveries That Changed the World,” leads off with a research program that began in 1997 when we funded a Northwestern University researcher by the name of Chad Mirkin. AFOSR took a chance on a process called Dip-Pen Nanolithography (DPN), and what Dr. Mirkin himself noted, was “a far out idea and a paradigm shift in scanning probe microscopy,” but indeed, proved to be an idea that changed the world.

Highlighted in the Journal of Science, January 1999, DPN is a technology that builds nanoscale structures and patterns by drawing molecules directly onto a substrate. This process was achieved by employing an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), the tip of which has the innate capability to precisely place items and draw lines at the nanoscale level. The AFM was basically an extremely small paint brush. Mirkin’s fundamental contribution was recognizing that it could be used to print structures on a surface through materials, rather than through an energy delivery process–the latter being the approach taken by all previous researchers.

DPN has led to the development of powerful new nanofabrication tools, ways of miniaturizing gene chips and pharmaceutical screening devices, methods for making and repairing photomasks used in the microelectronics industry, and high-throughput methods for discovering structures important in biology, medicine, and catalysis. Since 1997 Dr. Mirkin has authored over 480 manuscripts, holds over 440 patents and applications, and is the founder of four companies, which specialize in commercializing nanotechnology applications.

Professor Chad Mirkin recently spoke at two AFOSR events on the following topics A Chemist’s Approach to Nanofabrication: Towards a “Desktop Fab” and Nanotechnology: Moving Beyond Small Thinking.

A Chemist’s Approach to Nanofabrication: Towards a “Desktop Fab”

Nanotechnology: Moving Beyond Small Thinking