Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Young inventors' research transforms the marketplace

Brian Schulkin, an IGERT trainee and doctoral student in physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has invented an ultralight, handheld terahertz spectrometer called the Mini-Z. He is the winner of the first-ever $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize.

Credit: Rensselaer/Kris Qua
Brian Schulkin, an IGERT trainee and doctoral student in physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has invented an ultralight, handheld terahertz spectrometer called the Mini-Z. He is the winner of the first-ever $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize.

Credit: Rensselaer/Kris Qua

Abstract:
Interdisciplinary study gives birth to new products and processes; August is National Inventors' Month

Young inventors' research transforms the marketplace

Arlington, VA | Posted on August 7th, 2007

What do a portable imaging device, a material for cardiac stents and a process for creating strong and flexible plastics have in common? All are inventions that have been developed by trainees in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program (IGERT).

IGERT is an NSF-wide program that was developed to meet the challenges of educating U.S. scientists and engineers who will pursue careers in research and education. It aims to bring together interdisciplinary backgrounds, deep knowledge in chosen disciplines, and technical, professional and personal skills that will build leaders and creative agents for change.

Brian Schulkin, an IGERT trainee participating in a project called "Terahertz Science and Technology--a Studio-Based Approach" at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, won the first-ever Lemelson-Rensselaer $30,000 student prize for inventing an ultralight, hand-held terahertz spectrometer. The device has applications in medical, aerospace, security and other fields. Terahertz rays, or "t-rays" are based on the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is defined by frequencies from 0.1 to 10 terahertz--just between infrared light and microwave radiation. Though they can pass through clothing, wood, plastic and other materials, t-rays are not harmful to health in the way that x-rays are. Until now, a major challenge has been the size and weight of t-ray devices.

Schulkin successfully developed a system approximately the size of a laptop computer. Dubbed the Mini-Z, it does not require any peripheral equipment. The Mini-Z has already proven its ability to detect cracks in space shuttle foam, image tumors in breast tissue, and spot counterfeit watermarks on paper currency.

Nanotechnology, chemistry and engineering come together in Blake Branson's work at the Interdisciplinary Program for Research and Education in the Nanosciences project at Vanderbilt and Fisk Universities.

Branson has patented a new process for creation of composite materials that are hard, strong and relatively lightweight. The process uses chemistry to disperse nanoscale diamond particles into various plastics. The exceptionally hard and stiff diamond particles enhance the material properties of the plastics. Mechanical tests have shown the new material to have increased tensile strength and stiffness as well as increased hardness even when the diamond particles make up only a small fraction of the composite material's weight.

Possible applications for the process include the manufacture of improved safety goggles and panels in armored vehicles. Not only can more protection be provided without adding additional weight, but the use of nano-diamond is potentially much more economical than other nano-carbon fillers such as carbon nanotubes.

Lisa Kemp and Nick Hammond are participants in a joint IGERT project at the Universities of Mississippi and Southern Mississippi called "Entrepreneurship at the Interface of Polymer Science and Medical Chemistry." They have worked on "bio-transformable" materials that could be implanted in the body and provide controlled release of medications. The materials are intended to provide rigid support initially, followed by a transformation into a flexible material that closely mimics the physical properties of the surrounding natural tissue.

Among other applications, these materials would address the shortcomings of existing technology for cardiac stents, whose current design carries a risk of clotting and clogging (thrombosis). Kemp and Hammond created a business plan for which they won a second place award in the National FedEx Technology Business Plan Competition last year. The company they created, Ablitech, Inc., is currently funded by a Phase I NSF Small Business Innovation Research grant, and two patents are being filed for the technology.

"I owe a lot to the IGERT program and the different disciplines it brings together," says Kemp. "We may have different languages and think differently about the science we do. But now we can communicate and be more innovative than we would have been individually."

Since its inception in 1998, NSF has granted to proposing university faculties a total of 196 IGERT awards, each of five years duration. The awards enable these universities to offer stipend support and tuition allowances to graduate students to engage in research and educational training in critical interdisciplinary areas of science and engineering.

####

About National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of $5.92 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to over 1,700 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 42,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 10,000 new funding awards. The NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contacts
Maria C. Zacharias
NSF
(703) 292-8070


Program Contacts
Judith Giordan
NSF (703) 292-5038


Related Websites
IGERT program page:
http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=12759

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Academic/Education

Biosensors Get a Boost from Graphene Partnership: $5 Million Investment Supports Dozens of Jobs and Development of 300mm Fabrication Process and Wafer Transfer Facility September 18th, 2014

Malvern technology delivers Malvern reliability in multi-disciplinary lab at Queen Mary University London September 9th, 2014

State University of New York Trustees Unanimously Approve SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) as New Name for Merged SUNY CNSE / SUNYIT September 9th, 2014

New Vice President Takes Helm at CNSE CMOST: Catherine Gilbert To Lead CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology Through Expansion And Relocation August 29th, 2014

Materials/Metamaterials

Big Results Require Big Ambitions: Three young UCSB faculty receive CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation September 18th, 2014

Wear-resistant ceramic powder maximises component lifespan in high-stress applications: Innovnano’s nanostructured 3YSZ offers improved tribological performance for manufacturing components September 18th, 2014

Next-Gen Luxury RV From Global Caravan Technologies Will Offer MagicView Roof and Windshield Using SPD-SmartGlass Technology From Research Frontiers: Recreational Vehicle Manufacturer Global Caravan Technologies (GCT) Features 28 Square Feet of MagicView™ SPD-SmartGlass September 17th, 2014

Nanoribbon film keeps glass ice-free: Rice University lab refines deicing film that allows radio frequencies to pass September 16th, 2014

Announcements

Wear-resistant ceramic powder maximises component lifespan in high-stress applications: Innovnano’s nanostructured 3YSZ offers improved tribological performance for manufacturing components September 18th, 2014

IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting To Celebrate 60th Anniversary as The Leading Technical Conference for Advanced Semiconductor Devices September 18th, 2014

FEI Opens New Technology Center in Czech Republic: FEI expands its presence in Brno with the opening of a new, larger facility September 18th, 2014

Biosensors Get a Boost from Graphene Partnership: $5 Million Investment Supports Dozens of Jobs and Development of 300mm Fabrication Process and Wafer Transfer Facility September 18th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE