Advanced Materials & Processes

NOV-DEC 2013

Covers developments in engineering materials selection, processing, fabrication, testing/characterization, materials engineering trends, and emerging technologies, industrial and consumer applications, as well as business and management trends

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industry news briefs The worldÕs thinnest sheet of glass, a discovery by scientists at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and the University of Ulm, Germany, will appear in the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records. The pane of glass, so thin that its individual silicon and oxygen atoms are visible via electron microscopy, was identified in the lab of David A. Muller, professor of applied and engineering physics and director of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science., Pinshane Huang and David Muller with a model that depicts the atomic structure of glass. Courtesy of Jason Koski. Applied Materials Inc., Santa Clara, Calif., and Tokyo Electron Ltd., Japan, will create a combined organization for semiconductor and display manufacturing technology via an all-stock combination that values the new company at approximately $29 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the middle to second half of 2014. The company will have a new name and dual headquarters in Tokyo and Santa Clara. B6 Sigma Inc., a subsidiary of Sigma Labs Inc., Santa Fe, N.M., is part of a team of companies, universities, and national labs to be awarded a $5 million grant by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md. The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, Youngstown, Ohio, is designated as project leader and Edison Welding Institute, Columbus, Ohio, will guide collaborative efforts to develop in-process sensing and monitoring capabilities so that tolerances are consistently achieved. 10 EMERGING TECHNOLOGY Center for Integrated Quantum Materials receives NSF funding The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $20 million to fund the Center for Integrated Quantum Materials. During the next five years, the multi-institution center will support science and education programs that explore the unique electronic behavior of quantum materials. Materials such as graphene will be examined. "As we move into a post-silicon age, quantum materials are an emerging technology with great promise for science and engineering and for the overall economy through new products and business opportunities," says Robert M. Westervelt, Mallinckrodt Professor of Applied Physics and Physics at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., who will lead the center. "The scientists collaborating on this project have a vision of future quantum materials and quantum devices—new devices and systems that were not conceived to be possible 10 years ago." The Harvard-led center will draw on expertise in materials synthesis, nanofabrication, characterization, and device physics by partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Museum of Science in Boston, and Howard University in Washington, D.C. For more information: Robert Westervelt, 617/4953296,, New evidence supports top-down theory of buckyball formation A new NSF grant to the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) will advance the study of integrated quantum materials. One research initiative will involve nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond, which can store information written and read out using light, as shown in this illustration. Courtesy of Marko Loncar, Harvard SEAS. Researchers at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Roanoke, report the first experimental evidence that supports the theory that a so-called "buckyball" is the result of a breakdown of larger structures rather than being built from the ground up. Known as fullerenes, these spherical carbon molecules show promise for use in medicine, solar energy, and optoelectronics. However, finding applications is difficult because no one knows how they are formed. Two theories compete regarding their molecular mechanisms. The first is the "bottom-up" theory, which says the carbon cages are built atom by atom. The second theory takes a "top-down" approach, suggesting that fullerenes form when larger structures break into constituent parts. After years of debate, researchers led by Professor Harry Dorn have discovered the missing link: Asymmetrical fullerenes that are formed from larger structures appear to settle into stable fullerenes. The medicinal promise of metallofullerenes stems from the atoms of metal caged within them. Because the metal atoms are trapped in carbon, they do not react with the outside world, making their side-effect risks low. For example, one particular metallofullerene with gadolinium at its core has been shown to be up to 40 times better as a contrast agent in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans than options now available. When Dorn and his colleagues determined the structure of one particular metallofullerene by using nuclear MRI and single crystal x-ray analysis, they made a surprising discovery—the asymmetrical molecule could theoretically collapse to form nearly every known fullerene and metallofullerene. This insight supports the theory that fullerenes are formed from graphene when key molecular bonds begin to break down. For more information: Harry Dorn, 540/526-2049,, ADVANCED MATERIALS & PROCESSES • NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2013 Harry Dorn of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute poses with models of buckyballs. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

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