Birck Nanotechnology Center

News Archive

Purdue exhibit helps mark NanoDays

April 2, 2008 - Purdue's "Nano in Your Neighborhood" exhibit on display in Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering is helping to celebrate NanoDays.

NanoDays is a weeklong event established by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network to raise public awareness of nanoscale science and engineering through community-based educational outreach. This year's NanoDays started March 29 and runs through April 6.

"Nano in Your Neighborhood," designed by the Purdue Agricultural Communication department and Purdue nanotechnology experts, is an interactive exhibit that relates emerging science to everyday life.

Visitors of the exhibit will walk through a fictional neighborhood that focuses on six themes introducing them to different areas of nanotechnology. The neighborhood features elements like a university, manufacturing company, mega-mart, medical center, farm and drive-in, each of which explores related areas of nanotechnology.

Throughout the exhibit visitors will find videos, hands-on and flip panel displays, interactive games, a "Jumbotron video and more.

More details on NanoDays are available at

Transparent Computer Monitors? Engineers Make First 'Active Matrix' Display Using Nanowires

 ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2008) — Engineers have created the first "active matrix" display using a new class of transparent transistors and circuits, a step toward realizing applications such as e-paper, flexible color monitors and "heads-up" displays in car windshields.

The transistors are made of "nanowires," tiny cylindrical structures that are assembled on glass or thin films of flexible plastic. The researchers used nanowires as small as 20 nanometers - a thousand times thinner than a human hair - to create a display containing organic light emitting diodes, or OLEDS. The OLEDS are devices that rival the brightness of conventional pixels in flat-panel television sets, computer monitors and displays in consumer electronics.

"This is a step toward demonstrating the practical potential of nanowire transistors in displays and for other applications," said David Janes, a researcher at Purdue University's Birck Nanotechnology Center and a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. [Read More]

World-Class Nanoelectronics Research Center Launched by Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI)

March 25, 2008 - Governor Mitch Daniels joined executives from IBM, Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today to announce plans to open a $61 million nanoelectronics research center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The collaboration is designed to create new research opportunities that will lead to development of atomic-scale technologies and drive future breakthroughs in computing.

Officially billed as the Midwest Academy for Nanoelectronics and Architectures (MANA), the center will link Notre Dame and Purdue University with the development resources of national laboratories and the trillion-dollar per year technology industry. Together, the team of academia and business will work to develop and exploit a new class of semiconductor materials and devices -- nanoelectronics -- that stretches beyond today’s state-of-art chip technologies.

“For Indiana, this means national leadership in a central technology of the future, and we’d be excited to welcome it anywhere in our state. But it’s a special thrill to see it come to Notre Dame, which now enters new dimensions of research prominence and contributions to its home state through the partnership with Purdue,” said Daniels. [Read More]

Simpler way of building three-dimensional structures using DNA nanotechnology

March 18, 2008 - A large variety of two- and three-dimensional nanostructures have been constructed using DNA nanotechnology. Most of the construction methods require many different specially designed DNA molecules. Purdue University researchers have published a new DNA nanotech method that uses essentially one tile that self-assembles into a variety of larger three-dimensional shapes. Roger Highfield, Science Editor of the Telegraph (UK) describes the accomplishment:

… A team of scientists has created a versatile strategy for building three dimensional structures on the nanometre (billionth of a metre) scale by coaxing strands of DNA to [form] a basic building block that can then assemble spontaneously into complex three dimensional shapes over distances of around ten to twenty billionths of a metre.

…A variety of patterns and nanostructures have already been made from DNA, or alternatively DNA has been used as a glue to stick gold particles together, by making DNA molecules that interact just in the right way.

But larger and more complex three-dimensional structures are difficult to make using existing fabrication methods, which would require the use of hundreds of different DNA strands.

Today, in the journal Nature, Dr Chengde Mao of Purdue University, Indiana, and colleagues overcome this problem by programming DNA to fold first into a basic structural unit, akin to a basic building block that can be used to make more complicated shapes. [Read More]

New Materials Power Nanoscale Manufacturing

March 14, 2008 - Coupled with new manufacturing methods, next-generation device, packaging and substrate materials are being developed to meet the technical challenges of fabricating and assembling nanoscale ICs. These advanced materials include nanoparticles, fabricated or self-assembled nanostructures such as carbon nanotubes (CNT) and semiconductor or metallic nanowires, as well as composites containing at least one nanoscale component.
CNTs may be used in various parts of both active and passive devices as well as packages, for added strength, improved thermal conductivity, and reduced weight, as well as providing higher-speed conductors. Although multi-walled CNTs are also being developed, semiconducting single-walled CNTs with diameters of around 1nm are thought by many to be major candidates for replacing silicon as a semiconductor in nanoelectronics.

Recently, researchers at Purdue University's Birck Nanotechnology Center devised a method for growing densely-packed CNTs on chips in order to enhance heatflow at critical points where chips connect to heatsinks. The method - using microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition - outperforms conventional thermal interface materials, and does not require a clean-room environment, making it a potentially low-cost approach.

Materials aside from carbon are also being examined, such as graphene, and even silicon continues to hold promise in some areas. Graphene is theoretically capable of scaling down much further than silicon, to circuits only a few atoms across, in part because of its extreme strength and stability. Its conductive properties work differently from other conductors: electrons move at the same high speeds, regardless of their energy. Those high speeds mean that graphene-based transistors could theoretically switch faster than silicon-based transistors. [Read more]

Purdue joins researchers in India for bionanotechnology, pharmaceuticals symposium

March 10, 2008 - Researchers from Purdue University will join colleagues from the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology in India next week for a symposium on advancements in bionanotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

"Bionanotechnology and Pharmaceuticals: A Glimpse into the Future" is expected to draw more than 100 researchers and students from across the globe for the conference on March 13-14 in Hyderabad. Lectures, a panel discussion on transforming pharmaceutical manufacturing, and a poster session for students and researchers are planned.

"Pharmaceuticals and other aspects of health care are major beneficiaries of the nanotechnology revolution sweeping our world today," said conference speaker Craig Svensson, dean of Purdue's College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences. "Novel formulations, tissue engineering and tools of nanoscience are changing our world's health-care system. The symposium will foster new links and new possibilities in the next frontier of health and medicine." [Read More]

Purdue leads center to simulate behavior of micro-electromechanical systems

March 7, 2008 - The National Nuclear Security Admin

About the BNC

The BNC leverages advances in nanoscale science and engineering to create innovative nanotechnologies addressing societal challenges and opportunities in computing, communications, the environment, security, energy independence, and health.


Birck Nanotechnology Center
1205 W State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2057