Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Halas, Koushanfar land coveted MURI grants: Halas' Laboratory for Nanophotonics wins 4th MURI since 1999

Naomi Halas
CREDIT: Rice University
Naomi Halas

CREDIT: Rice University

Abstract:
Scientists from five Rice University research groups, including four from Rice's Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP), are embarking on new nanotechnology research programs related to green chemistry, energy sustainability and computer security, thanks to two new multimillion-dollar grants from the Department of Defense's Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI).

Halas, Koushanfar land coveted MURI grants: Halas' Laboratory for Nanophotonics wins 4th MURI since 1999

Houston, TX | Posted on May 13th, 2014

Naomi Halas, director of LANP, is the principal investigator on a five-year, $7.5 million MURI from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research that aims to shed light on plasmon-based photochemical and photophysical processes. The project includes funding for Rice co-principal investigators Peter Nordlander, Stephan Link and Junrong Zheng and is the fourth MURI award for LANP since 1999.

Farinaz Koushanfar, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of Rice's Adaptive Computing and Embedded Systems (ACES) Laboratory, is co-PI on another MURI from the Air Force that will analyze and upgrade security protections for nanoscale computer hardware. The project will provide more than $1 million for Rice research over the next five years.

The MURI program supports research conducted by teams of investigators that intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline. More than 360 teams applied for the 24 new MURIs awarded by the Pentagon last month.

Halas, the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a professor of biomedical engineering, chemistry, physics and astronomy at Rice, said LANP's new MURI will follow up on two breakthrough discoveries.

"Within the past 18 months, we have found that plasmonic nanoparticles can be used two distinct ways -- to induce chemical reactions through a process called photocatalysis and to convert sunlight directly into steam with extraordinary efficiency," Halas said. "The Air Force has asked us to explore the underlying physics of each of these processes so we can better understand how to use them for specific applications."

Plasmons are waves of electronic energy that slosh back and forth across the surface of tiny metallic nanoparticles. Plasmons are created when light strikes the nanoparticle, but only a specific wavelength of light will induce a plasmonic wave, and the plasmon-inducing wavelength varies for each particle, depending upon its shape, size and chemical composition. LANP nanoscientists specialize in creating plasmonic nanoparticles that are tuned to interact with particular wavelengths of light.

In their work on solar steam, LANP scientists have created nanoparticles that convert a wide spectrum of sunlight into heat that efficiently vaporizes water. The resulting energy-rich steam can be used for water remediation, sterilization, distillation, electric power generation and other applications.

In their photocatalysis research, LANP researchers showed that their light-harvesting nanoparticles can catalyze chemical reactions. The finding is important because a majority of commercial chemical processes use catalysts -- materials whose very presence spurs useful chemical reactions that would otherwise occur very slowly or not at all.

In May 2011, Halas, Nordlander and LANP colleagues showed they could couple light-harvesting nanoparticles to semiconductors in a way that plasmonic energy could be transferred from the metal to the semiconductor. Working in collaboration with MURI co-PI Emily Carter of Princeton University, they showed in late 2012 that this electronic process could be used to drive a catalytic process that broke strong chemical bonds.

"If you can break bonds, you can induce chemical reactions," said Nordlander, professor of physics and astronomy. "So that discovery showed the world that this is a process that can be generally exploited. Potentially, there are many uses, but we need to better understand the underlying physics and the chemistry. For example, we don't know the ideal size for the particles and the best way to optimize them with respect to the substrate."

Nordlander said Link, associate professor of chemistry and of electrical and computer engineering, and Zheng, assistant professor of chemistry, will work on both the photocatalysis and photothermal MURI research tracks. Link's group will examine the charge and energy transfer that take place between plasmons and molecules, and Zheng's group will use spectroscopy to measure the processes in real time.

Additional co-PIs include Princeton's Carter; Louis Brus, Columbia University; Renee Frontiera, University of Minnesota; and Christoph Lienau, University of Oldenburg, Germany.

"This is a complex problem, and we've assembled a 'dream team' to study it," Halas said. "The PIs have all worked together before in smaller groups, but this will be the first time that all of us come together to address a common problem. It's exciting, because each principle investigator brings something unique to the team."

Koushanfar is one of 10 investigators on a new MURI based at the University of Connecticut (UConn) that also includes co-PIs from the University of Maryland. The team hopes to develop a universal security theory for next-generation nanoscale computing devices that are based on technologies like memristors, nanowires and graphene.

The research has three aims: to predict the security properties and vulnerabilities of upcoming computer hardware, to evaluate how existing hardware security approaches might be incorporated into next-generation hardware and to create design methodologies that incorporate hardware security in the design phase.

"Security has mostly been an afterthought for building computing devices," Koushanfar said. "In conventional integrated circuit technology, once a design is realized and deployed, integrating security is difficult. We are truly excited to have the opportunity to investigate the security properties and vulnerabilities of next-generation nanodevices. We believe this work will lead to a paradigm shift incorporating security fully into the design and development of future generations of nanoscale computing hardware."

She said each researcher working on the MURI has unique capabilities in security analysis, nanoelectronics, counterfeit device detection, cryptography and cyberattack countermeasures.

Koushanfar's ACES Lab will focus on the development of innovative nanoscale low-power, high-performance processors and advanced security features like "unclonable" functionality and next-generation random-number generators. Rice researchers will also conduct security system analysis and explore cyberattack countermeasures.

The Department of Defense's MURI program began 25 years ago and has spurred advances in precision navigation and targeting, atomic and molecular self-assembly projects and the computing field known as spintronics.

####

About Rice University
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6.3-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for "best value" among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations on Twitter @RiceUNews.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jade Boyd
713-348-6778

Copyright © Rice University

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 Links

The list of projects selected for fiscal 2014 funding may be found at:

Related News Press

News and information

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision September 23rd, 2016

Tattoo therapy could ease chronic disease: Rice-made nanoparticles tested at Baylor College of Medicine may help control autoimmune diseases September 23rd, 2016

Nanotech Grants Options September 22nd, 2016

Coffee-infused foam removes lead from contaminated water September 21st, 2016

As You Sow’s Shareholder Inquiry on Nanomaterials Fought by Walgreens: Shareholder Proposal Addresses Recent Laboratory Tests Finding Harmful Nanomaterials in Walgreens’ Store Brand Infant Formula September 21st, 2016

Chemistry

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision September 23rd, 2016

Law enforcement/Anti-Counterfeiting/Security/Loss prevention

Nanotech Grants Options September 22nd, 2016

NIST Patents Single-Photon Detector for Potential Encryption and Sensing Apps September 16th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Tattoo therapy could ease chronic disease: Rice-made nanoparticles tested at Baylor College of Medicine may help control autoimmune diseases September 23rd, 2016

PHENOMEN is a FET-Open Research Project aiming to lay the foundations a new information technology September 19th, 2016

NIST Patents Single-Photon Detector for Potential Encryption and Sensing Apps September 16th, 2016

Electron beam microscope directly writes nanoscale features in liquid with metal ink September 16th, 2016

Announcements

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision September 23rd, 2016

Tattoo therapy could ease chronic disease: Rice-made nanoparticles tested at Baylor College of Medicine may help control autoimmune diseases September 23rd, 2016

Nanotech Grants Options September 22nd, 2016

Coffee-infused foam removes lead from contaminated water September 21st, 2016

Military

Tattoo therapy could ease chronic disease: Rice-made nanoparticles tested at Baylor College of Medicine may help control autoimmune diseases September 23rd, 2016

Nano-lipid particles from edible ginger could improve drug delivery for colon cancer, study finds September 8th, 2016

3-D graphene has promise for bio applications: Rice University-led team welds nanoscale sheets to form tough, porous material September 7th, 2016

Nanodiamonds in an instant: Rice University-led team morphs nanotubes into tougher carbon for spacecraft, satellites September 6th, 2016

Energy

Semiconducting inorganic double helix: New flexible semiconductor for electronics, solar technology and photo catalysis September 15th, 2016

New perovskite research discoveries may lead to solar cell, LED advances September 12th, 2016

NREL discovery creates future opportunity in quantum computing: Research into perovskites looks beyond material's usage for efficient solar cells September 9th, 2016

Researchers design solids that control heat with spinning superatoms: Carnegie Mellon University and Columbia University collaborators discover the cause of vastly different thermal conductivities in superatomic structural analogues September 8th, 2016

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Tattoo therapy could ease chronic disease: Rice-made nanoparticles tested at Baylor College of Medicine may help control autoimmune diseases September 23rd, 2016

Semiconducting inorganic double helix: New flexible semiconductor for electronics, solar technology and photo catalysis September 15th, 2016

Bringing graphene speakers to the mobile market (video) September 12th, 2016

Novel nanoscale detection of real-time DNA amplification holds promise for diagnostics: Research team led by Nagoya University develop a label-free method for detecting DNA amplification in real time based on refractive index changes in diffracted light September 12th, 2016

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Mexican scientist in the Netherlands seeks to achieve data transmission ... speed of light September 20th, 2016

Towards Stable Propagation of Light in Nano-Photonic Fibers September 20th, 2016

PHENOMEN is a FET-Open Research Project aiming to lay the foundations a new information technology September 19th, 2016

NIST Patents Single-Photon Detector for Potential Encryption and Sensing Apps September 16th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic