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

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Chemistry

Molecular phenomenon discovered by advanced NMR facility: Cutting edge technology has shown a molecule self-assembling into different forms when passing between solution state to solid state, and back again - a curious phenomenon in science - says research by the University of Wa February 22nd, 2017

In-cell molecular sieve from protein crystal February 14th, 2017

Nano-level lubricant tuning improves material for electronic devices and surface coatings February 11th, 2017

Scientists determine precise 3-D location, identity of all 23,000 atoms in a nanoparticle: Berkeley Lab researchers help to map iron-platinum particle in unprecedented detail February 6th, 2017

Law enforcement/Anti-Counterfeiting/Security/Loss prevention

NUS engineers develop low-cost, flexible terahertz radiation source for fast, non-invasive screening: Novel invention presents promising applications in spectroscopy, safety surveillance, cancer diagnosis, imaging and communication February 1st, 2017

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor January 18th, 2017

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

Manchester scientists tie the tightest knot ever achieved January 13th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Molecular phenomenon discovered by advanced NMR facility: Cutting edge technology has shown a molecule self-assembling into different forms when passing between solution state to solid state, and back again - a curious phenomenon in science - says research by the University of Wa February 22nd, 2017

Announcements

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Military

'Lossless' metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices February 20th, 2017

Engineers shrink microscope to dime-sized device February 17th, 2017

Graphene foam gets big and tough: Rice University's nanotube-reinforced material can be shaped, is highly conductive February 13th, 2017

Meta-lenses bring benchtop performance to small, hand-held spectrometer: Game-changing nanostructure-based lenses allow smaller devices, increased functionality February 9th, 2017

Energy

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

Strem Chemicals and Dotz Nano Ltd. Sign Distribution Agreement for Graphene Quantum Dots Collaboration February 21st, 2017

'Lossless' metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices February 20th, 2017

In-cell molecular sieve from protein crystal February 14th, 2017

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

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Brad Ramshaw of Cornell University, as winner of the 2017 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize February 20th, 2017

Nominations Invited for $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience: Major international prize recognizes a visionary nanotechnology researcher February 20th, 2017

'Lossless' metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices February 20th, 2017

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

'Lossless' metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices February 20th, 2017

Liquid metal nano printing set to revolutionize electronics: Creating integrated circuits just atoms thick February 18th, 2017

Research opens door to smaller, cheaper, more agile communications tech February 16th, 2017

1,000 times more efficient nano-LED opens door to faster microchips February 5th, 2017

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