News & Highlights

News from the Center.

Electron Microscopy Without “Freezer Burn”

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 11, 2013

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Launching Student Interest in Science

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 11, 2013

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Ordering Nanoscale Dots with Molecular Honeycombs

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 11, 2013

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Improving Science Education through Professional Development

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 11, 2013

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Hands-on activities designed by scientists increase interest in science

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 13, 2012

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Making Inquiry-Driven Experiments Available to All Students

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 13, 2012

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Training the next generation of researchers

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 13, 2012

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Interacting electron ripples provide clues to superconductivity

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 13, 2012

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A Better Way to Store Information in Computer Memory

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 13, 2012

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Patterned Graphene “Scrap” Grows into Continuous “Patchwork Quilt”

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 13, 2012

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New Platforms for Studying Cancer Metastasis to Bone

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 13, 2012

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Proteins contort, then coalesce

Proteins contort, then coalesce

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Oct 6, 2011

A molecular model system for research on Parkinson’s disease In our bodies, proteins build ordered structures and coordinate chemical reactions in a tightly-regulated dance. Protein malfunction can disturb the balance of these processes. In Parkinson’s disease, a protein known as alpha-synuclein abnormally clumps, or “aggregates,” in the brain. Some data suggest that this clumping may be linked to the onset of disease symptoms. more.

Computer Simulations of Crumpling Explain High-Strength Metals

Computer Simulations of Crumpling Explain High-Strength Metals

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Sep 6, 2011

Undergraduate researcher uncovers new mechanism for aluminum alloy bending In 1903, Alfred Wilm made a super-strong alloy (mixture of metals) by adding a small amount of copper to aluminum—a relatively weak metal—and then heating the mixture in a special way. His  accidental discovery led to the high-strength aluminum alloys used in airplanes and rockets. more.

Synthetic Molecular Brushes Slipperier Than Natural Lubricants

Synthetic Molecular Brushes Slipperier Than Natural Lubricants

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Aug 6, 2011

Synthetic lubricants may be useful for arthritis or contact lenses Lubricants, such as the oil in your car, make machines work more efficiently and last longer. Many of the most efficient lubricants are found in Nature. For example, “lubricin,” a molecule found on the surface of cartilage, is exceptionally good at lubricating knees and other joints. Cornell researchers are developing new, high-performance lubricants by mimicking the designs found in Nature. more.

Interacting electron ripples provide clues to superconductivity

Interacting electron ripples provide clues to superconductivity

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Jul 25, 2011

A theoretical prediction is confirmed by atomic-scale microscopy Superconductors conduct electricity perfectly — without any energy losses — which is ideal for many energy-related applications. Unfortunately, even “high-temperature” superconductors only work at extremely cold temperatures, which limits their use. more.

Molecular Paint Assembles Like Snakes in the Grass, Not Bricks in a Wall

Molecular Paint Assembles Like Snakes in the Grass, Not Bricks in a Wall

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Jul 6, 2011

Molecular models of thin film growth uncover new complexities Many emerging technologies, including organic electronics and flexible displays, require engineers to “paint” near-perfect molecular crystals onto an inexpensive substrate, such as glass or plastic. If you have ever tried to paint on glass or plastic, you know the challenge: Many molecules don’t stick to these surfaces. more.

Molecular Wires Transmit Electricity Between Nanocrystals

Molecular Wires Transmit Electricity Between Nanocrystals

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Jun 6, 2011

Connections between “quantum dots” may enable new types of solar cells Solar cells absorb energy from light and create electricity. Today’s silicon solar cells do this very well but are too expensive for many large-scale applications. Tiny crystals of semiconducting materials (pictured at right), so-called “quantum dots,” are an exciting alternative material, as the dots can be made inexpensively and precisely tuned to absorb solar energy. more.

Twisting and turning towards new multifunctional materials

Twisting and turning towards new multifunctional materials

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: May 9, 2011

Moving oxygen atoms may be the key to new storage media Hard drives "write" information by using a magnetic field to flip tiny magnets either north pole up or north pole down. Engineers have long dreamed of making much smaller hard drives using electric fields (which are easier to miniaturize) for writing, but standard magnets can't be flipped with electricity. more.

Lending Library of Experiments Available to all K-12 Teachers

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 13, 2011

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JumpStart Program Aids Small Businesses

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 13, 2011

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Lending Library of Experiments Available to all K-12 Teachers

Lending Library of Experiments Available to all K-12 Teachers

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 6, 2011

Teachers and scientists sharing resources for K-12 science education Cornell scientists and a large number of K-12 teachers are working to improve science education. Together they have developed over 37 educational resources and over 100 lesson plans for science education. The CCMR is loaning these resources to teachers across the country — free of charge — through the CCMR Lending Library. more.

Superconductor behaves like a liquid crystal

Superconductor behaves like a liquid crystal

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Jan 18, 2011

A new theoretical idea reveals directionality in atomic-scale microscopy data Superconductors conduct electricity without any energy loss and could be ideal for many energy-related applications. Unfortunately, even "high-temperature" superconductors require very cold temperatures, which limits their use. However these high-temperature superconductors do enter a mysterious, nearly-superconducting state called the "pseudogap phase" close to room temperature. more.

Graphene Grains make Atomic Patchwork Quilts

Graphene Grains make Atomic Patchwork Quilts

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Jan 17, 2011

Stitching defects make the film weaker, but have no electronic effect Scientists can now grow single-atom-thick films of conductive carbon, or "graphene," by the yard, making this material potentially useful for large-area electronics, such as touch screens or solar cells. Unfortunately, graphene grown in the lab is not as conductive as expected. Scientists have suspected that some type of rare defect limits performance. more.

Alchemy Made Possible by Strain

Alchemy Made Possible by Strain

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Jan 17, 2011

Stretching changes boring ceramic into high-tech material When an extremely thin film—just a few atoms thick—is deposited on a material having a slightly larger spacing between its atoms, the spacing between the deposited atoms is elongated to match the spacing of the material on which it is grown. In this case, stretching drastically alters the properties of the europium titanate (EuTiO3) film. more.

The Case of the Missing Oxygen Atoms

The Case of the Missing Oxygen Atoms

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 17, 2010

Theory and experiment work together to improve high-performance electronic materials Advanced electronic materials known as perovskites have a wide range of impressive magnetic and electronic properties that could be useful in many high-tech applications; however, missing oxygen atoms have been a major problem in these materials. Even a single missing oxygen atom — or "oxygen vacancy" — can degrade the performance of nanoscale devices. more.

Watching "Atoms" Hop Yields Clue to Growth of Perfect Crystals

Watching "Atoms" Hop Yields Clue to Growth of Perfect Crystals

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 17, 2010

New technique may lead to better electronic materials Why do some materials grow near-perfect crystals with mirror-smooth faces whereas others grow rough, bumpy crystals? Scientists at Cornell University have recently gotten a glimpse of crystal growth in real time — not by watching individual atoms, but rather by freezing model atoms that can be observed directly with an optical microscope. more.

The Best Sandwiches are Not the Most Perfect Sandwiches

The Best Sandwiches are Not the Most Perfect Sandwiches

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 17, 2010

Surprises in the Atomic-Scale Chemical Structure of Next-Generation Magnetic Devices Researchers around the world are trying to develop computer memory that retains information without power — the key to "instant-on" computers. One of the leading contenders for this technology is a type of magnetic "sandwich," known as a magnetic tunnel junction, made by separating two ultrathin magnets (here, CoFeB) with a few-atoms-thick insulator (here, MgO). more.

Innovative Program puts Solar Energy Startup on the Fast Track

Innovative Program puts Solar Energy Startup on the Fast Track

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2010

Cornell scientists and facilities help company solve technical challenges To help small companies surmount technical hurdles, the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) developed the JumpStart program — an innovative, semester-long partnership funded by New York State that pairs small New York State businesses with technically-savvy Cornell faculty. more.

Scientists Working Side-by-Side with Teachers

Scientists Working Side-by-Side with Teachers

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2010

Workshops create new science lessons for the Syracuse City School District Over the past 2 years, scientists from Cornell University have partnered with teachers in the Syracuse City School District on the development of new inquiry-based science lessons. more.

"Nano-Rivers" of Electricity found in New Superconductors

"Nano-Rivers" of Electricity found in New Superconductors

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2010

Atomic-Scale Microscopy Reveals the Motion of Electrons in Complex Materials Superconductors conduct electricity perfectly — with no losses or degradation — and would seem ideal for many energy-related applications, including power lines. Unfortunately, today's superconductors (even so-called "high-temperature" superconductors) only work at very cold temperatures, which limits their use. more.

Making Electronic Devices from the World’s Thinnest Material

Making Electronic Devices from the World’s Thinnest Material

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2010

High-yield processes suitable for mass fabrication Single-atom-thick films of graphite, so-called "graphene" films, have extraordinary electronic and mechanical properties, but the films are also thinner and more delicate than a soap bubble. more.

NSF Investment in High-Tech Instrumentation Benefits Industry

NSF Investment in High-Tech Instrumentation Benefits Industry

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2010

Industrial researchers use excess capacity at Cornell To advance its research mission, the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) operates a wide range of shared instrumentation for materials processing, characterization and analysis — everything from microscopes that can image individual atoms to diamond saws that can cut the hardest materials. When not in use by academic researchers, the CCMR encourages use by outside users, both academic and industrial. more.

Tiny Facets Provide Clue to Growth of Sea Shells and Other Biocrystals

Tiny Facets Provide Clue to Growth of Sea Shells and Other Biocrystals

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2010

Strong, tough material formed when perfect crystal grows around gel Scientists have long known that materials like teeth and sea shells get their remarkable strength and toughness from the unlikely marriage of two very different substances: a strong, but very brittle, crystal and a flexible, but very weak, gel (like Jello). A sea shell made from only a crystal would not provide any protection because it would shatter on impact, whereas one made from a gel would deform. more.

Reaching High School Chemistry Students Through Their Teachers

Reaching High School Chemistry Students Through Their Teachers

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2010

Scientists and Teachers Partner to Improve Chemistry Education The Cornell Institute for Chemistry Teachers (CICT) brings high school chemistry teachers together with Cornell chemistry professors to address the challenges of high school chemistry education. Cornell chemistry faculty developed a series of lectures paired with inquiry-based laboratory experiments for the teachers. more.

Making Large Atomically-Thin Windows

Making Large Atomically-Thin Windows

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 17, 2010

Few-Atom-Thick Films may enable New Types of Microscopy Researchers at Cornell University have developed techniques to grow large areas of continuous, atoms-thick graphite films (so-called "graphene" films). The films can be suspended across large gaps and cut into arbitrary shapes with the same techniques used to fabricate computer chips. For example, the top picture shows seven 4-carbon-atom-thick films of varying width pulled taut across a gap of a few microns. more.

Tiny Facets Provide Clue to Growth of Sea Shells and Other Biocrystals

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 13, 2010

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Putting Single Molecules to the Rack

Putting Single Molecules to the Rack

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2009

Stretching Chemical Bonds to Understand How Electrons Move in Molecules The ultimate limit in miniaturizing electronics would  be to replace today's electrical components — such as resistors and transistors — with individual molecules. Before that can be done, though, scientists need a much deeper understanding of how electricity (I. e. , an electron) moves through single molecules. more.

Painting a Microscopic Picture

Painting a Microscopic Picture

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2009

A New Microscope Color-Codes Atoms in Nanostructures Most electron microscopes give basic structural information — the size and shape of small objects — but little chemical information. For example, the gray-scale image at right (labeled "HRTEM") is an image of a new fuel-cell catalyst under development by General Motors. more.

Bringing Hands-on Science to Schools Across the Nation

Bringing Hands-on Science to Schools Across the Nation

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2009

Educational modules developed in Upstate NY benefit teachers and students in Puerto Rico Over the past 10 years, researchers at Cornell University have developed hundreds of hands-on activities that bring the excitement of science into the classroom. To increase their impact, Cornell is partnering with colleagues at Arecibo Observatory and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) to bring their expertise south. more.

Quantifying the Impact of Hands-On Science Activities

Quantifying the Impact of Hands-On Science Activities

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2009

Scientists and Evaluators Form Partnership to Develop Assessment Tools At Cornell University, scientists and engineers have been developing hands-on science activities for K-12 students and presenting these activities in a wide variety of venues — local classrooms, the public library, shopping malls — and even offering the activities to teachers over the internet. more.

Visualizing Electron Motion at the Subatomic Scale

Visualizing Electron Motion at the Subatomic Scale

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2009

Understanding the arrangement of electrons can explain the behavior of complex materials Visualizing the motion and behavior of electrons at the subatomic scale is essential to understanding the properties of materials, particularly in materials which exhibit unusual and unexpected properties. For instance, the material shown above (Sr3Ru2O7), displays a very exotic form of magnetism which could someday be of technological interest. more.

Helping Organic Molecules Fall Over Step Edges

Helping Organic Molecules Fall Over Step Edges

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2009

Understanding how to grow ordered high-performance electronic materials To make thin plastic films for applications such as solar cells or flexible electronic display screens, the molecules in the film must pack tightly  and vertically like books on a bookshelf. This  packing allows current (I. e. electrons) to move easily through the molecules, creating good electronic devices. more.

Innovative Program helps find Holesale Markets

Innovative Program helps find Holesale Markets

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2009

Business Works with Cornell Program to Find New Uses for Holey Materials How do you market silicon wafers that are riddled with microscopic holes? If you are a small business in New York State (NYS), you ask the CCMR JumpStart program for help! This innovative NYS-funded program partners small businesses with specific technical problems or questions with Cornell faculty members who have the expertise needed to solve the problem in a collaborative, semester-long project. more.

Chemical Exercise Makes Nanoparticles Work Faster

Chemical Exercise Makes Nanoparticles Work Faster

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2009

Many chemical reactions, such as the conversion of alcohol into electricity in fuel cells, require the help of small pieces of metal — nanoparticles — that speed up or "catalyze" the reaction. Somewhat surprisingly, researchers at Cornell University have shown that they can improve the performance of individual gold nanoparticles with "chemical exercise. " When a nanoparticle is given a low workload (I. e. more.

Making Large Atomically-Thin Windows

Making Large Atomically-Thin Windows

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2009

Few-Atom-Thick Films may enable New Types of Microscopy Researchers at Cornell University have developed techniques to grow large areas of continuous, atoms-thick graphite films (so-called "graphene" films). The films can be suspended across large gaps and cut into arbitrary shapes with the same techniques used to fabricate computer chips. For example, the top picture shows seven 4-carbon-atom-thick films of varying width pulled taut across a gap of a few microns. more.

Collaborating with the Univ. of Tokyo to Understand the Growth of Perfect Materials

Collaborating with the Univ. of Tokyo to Understand the Growth of Perfect Materials

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2008

An interdisciplinary research group (IRG) at the Cornell Center for Materials Research has a long-standing collaboration with researchers at the Univ. of Tokyo on the growth of atomically layered materials. An ultra-high vacuum pulsed laser deposition system in Japan is used to grow atomically precise superlattices, which are then examined with high resolution electron microscopy at Cornell. In the image at right, lanthanum and strontium atoms show up as brighter and darker dots, respectively. more.

Facilities 101 gives Businesses Access to State-of-the-Art Instruments

Facilities 101 gives Businesses Access to State-of-the-Art Instruments

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2008

Like researchers at universities, engineers at high-tech companies often need state-of-the-art testing and characterization equipment, such as electron microscopes, to solve technical and manufacturing problems. This is a problem for small companies that cannot afford the often multi-million dollar investments necessary to purchase these instruments. more.

Faster Microscope for Atomic Imaging

Faster Microscope for Atomic Imaging

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Mar 16, 2008

The invention of the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) revolutionized nanoscience by allowing scientists to image individual atoms. In a regular STM, a sharp metal tip is kept a precise distance above a surface by an electronic "feedback controller" while the tip is slowly scanned back and forth across the surface. This process is illustrated at right. Keeping the tip at the correct distance from the surface requires precise measurements and thus a slow scan speed. more.

Lending Library Lets Teachers get their "Hands-On" Science Activities

Lending Library Lets Teachers get their "Hands-On" Science Activities

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 15, 2008

An interdisciplinary research group (IRG) at the Cornell Center for Materials Research has a long-standing collaboration with researchers at the Univ. of Tokyo on the growth of atomically layered materials. An ultra-high vacuum pulsed laser deposition system in Japan is used to grow atomically precise superlattices, which are then examined with high resolution electron microscopy at Cornell. In the image at right, lanthanum and strontium atoms show up as brighter and darker dots, respectively. more.

Graphene Membranes: Atomically Thin Balloons

Graphene Membranes: Atomically Thin Balloons

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 15, 2008

Membranes are fundamental components of a wide variety of physical, chemical, and biological systems. They divide space into two regions, each capable of possessing different physical or chemical properties. A simple example is the stretched surface of a balloon, where a pressure difference across the balloon is balanced by the surface tension in the membrane. The thinnest imaginable balloon would be one atom thick. more.

Studying a Single-Atom Magnet

Studying a Single-Atom Magnet

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 15, 2008

Researchers at Cornell University are trying to understand the subtle interactions between magnetic materials and electrical currents by interrogating the smallest magnet possible — a single atom. In their experiments, a single magnetic nitrogen atom (blue in the diagram) is first trapped in a protective cage made of 60 carbon atoms (C60, black in diagram). The cage is then suspended between two tiny platinum electrodes. more.

Molecular Jets Smooth the Way

Molecular Jets Smooth the Way

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 15, 2008

In the future, thin films of plastic may replace silicon as the semiconductor of choice for the production of light, inexpensive and flexible electronics and displays — so-called "organic electronics. " Unfortunately, standard methods of depositing the plastic produce rough, mountainous films as seen at right. more.

New Molecule Makes Green Plastics

New Molecule Makes Green Plastics

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 15, 2008

Plastics are a big part of everyday life, but they are also a big drain on the environment. Every day, the chemical industry converts 1. 5 million barrels of oil (8% of US consumption) into new plastic using energy-intensive chemical reactions. Chemists at Cornell University are working to develop green plastics that require much less energy to manufacture. In the summer of 2006, Mount Holyoke undergraduate Angela M. DiCiccio and Cornell chemists Ryan Jeske and Prof. more.

Shared Experimental Facilities Benefit University of Puerto Rico Students

Shared Experimental Facilities Benefit University of Puerto Rico Students

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 15, 2008

State-of-the-art electron microscopy often requires a multimillion dollar investment in equipment and special low vibration buildings, as well as continuing support from skilled facility managers who train students and maintain the equipment. Once the investment is made, as many researchers as possible should have access to the equipment. more.

LEDs Light the Way for High School Students in Puerto Rico

LEDs Light the Way for High School Students in Puerto Rico

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 15, 2008

"LED" sounds the same in Spanish as it does in English and, just like students in New York State, high school students in Puerto Rico love to learn about cutting edge technology, including how LEDs (light emitting diodes) are used in every day devices. Cornell scientists partnered with the chemistry department at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in Rio Piedras to offer hands-on LED experiments to over one hundred students from five different high schools across Puerto Rico. more.

Glowing Nanoparticles Show Promise as Biological Markers

Glowing Nanoparticles Show Promise as Biological Markers

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Feb 15, 2008

Cornell researchers have recently synthesized ultrasmall particle of silica (I. e. sand) that glow when exposed to certain types of light. Importantly, particles this small (less than 10 nm in diameter) can be easily processed by the human body. Because of this, the particles may be useful as markers to indicate where certain biological objects are located within human tissue. After the particles are imaged, they should be eliminated from the body by the kidneys. more.

Partnering with a Charter School to Reach At-Risk Students

Partnering with a Charter School to Reach At-Risk Students

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Jun 27, 2007

The Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) has been developing hands-on activities to interest students in science and technology for over a decade. To bring these resources to some of New York City’s most at-risk students, the CCMR has partnered with the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) — a pioneering, non-profit community-based organization that works to enhance the quality of life for children and families in central Harlem. more.

JumpStart helps Small Businesses

JumpStart helps Small Businesses

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Jun 27, 2007

High-tech companies are often faced with unexpected technical challenges that have to be solved before a product can be brought to market. Such problems can be deadly for small companies, which rarely have the resources to operate a large R&D lab staffed by technical experts. more.

Frozen Silicon “Trees” tell Story of Melting

Frozen Silicon “Trees” tell Story of Melting

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Jun 27, 2007

Scientists have long predicted that some crystals don’t melt all at once. Instead, the topmost layer of atoms melts before the other layers, creating a liquid that is only one atom thick. Seeing this liquid is fiendishly difficult, though. Researchers at Cornell have verified this prediction using a clever trick — they watch the melting of ultraflat silicon crystals. The silicon crystal is heated to a temperature just below its normal melting point, then cooled. more.

Developing a “Lab-on-a-Particle”

Developing a “Lab-on-a-Particle”

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: May 14, 2007

Cornell researchers have developed nanoscale particles that can be loaded with molecular “cargo,” such as a drug or other therapeutic agent. When delivered to their target, the nanoscale particles release their cargo and then sense the reaction to the release. Thesemultifunctional nanoparticles form the basis of a “Lab-on-a-Particle” — nanoscale structures that are capable of performing multiple tasks. more.

Switchable Molecules for the World’s Smallest Switch

Switchable Molecules for the World’s Smallest Switch

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: May 14, 2007

Some molecules conduct electricity; others don’t. Researchers at Cornell are working to make the world’s smallest switch out of a single molecule. To do this, they have created a molecule that can be switched from conducting to non-conducting with a flash of light. In its “normal” state, the molecule is orange and doesn’t conduct electricity. more.

Helping 4th Grade Students meet the New York State Standards

Helping 4th Grade Students meet the New York State Standards

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: May 6, 2007

Local teachers came to the CCMR with a problem. The New York State Learning Standards require 4th grade students to learn that energy and matter interact through forces that result in changes of motion. More importantly, 4th graders must learn to design and carry out experiments to illustrate this, and then organize and explain their findings in simple charts. more.

Beating the World’s Smallest Drum

Beating the World’s Smallest Drum

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: May 1, 2007

Scientists at Cornell have reached the ultimate limit in miniaturization by making a drum with a single-atom-thick drumhead. In their device, a single atomic sheet of graphite (a so-called graphene sheet) is stretched across a silicon trench. By shining a laser on the surface, the scientists can show that only one atomic layer of graphite is present. more.

CCMR reaches out to New York City teachers

CCMR reaches out to New York City teachers

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Jan 24, 2007

This March, the CCMR Educational Programs Office will coordinate with the Weill Cornell Medical College to work with New York City middle school physical science and high school physics teachers on improving their classrooms and curriculum. This event is a special one for educational outreach at Cornell because it involves the cooperation of several different offices on the main campus along with the Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University in New York City. more.

Using Templates to Conquer Disorder

Using Templates to Conquer Disorder

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Dec 5, 2006

Engineers have long dreamed of making inexpensive electronics out of thin films of organic materials, such as plastics. This dream has been met by a significant challenge —disorder. Organic films are typically composed of tiny crystals. Although each crystal is perfect, the molecules in one crystal are aligned in a different direction than those in the next crystal. This random order impedes the flow of electricity and leads to poor performance. more.

Engineering Structural Colors Using Nonspherical Building Blocks

Engineering Structural Colors Using Nonspherical Building Blocks

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Nov 23, 2006

Structural colors, not originating from pigments but rather from the interaction of light with microscopic features, can be observed in many living systems including butterfly wings, spines of marine animals, peacock feathers, and the brilliant blue facial skin of primates. Examination of the microscopic structure of these tissues reveals the attributes of a photonic crystal system –fine-scale periodic arrays which serve as color-specific mirrors. more.

Better Electronics from Silicon Corrals

Better Electronics from Silicon Corrals

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Nov 15, 2006

Today's electronic devices are so small and so sensitive that even atomic‐scale defects can degrade their performance. Controlling individual atoms on a silicon chip would seem to be a Herculean task; however, we have developed a simple method of "corraling" these defects and improving the performance of electronic devices. The image at right shows a silicon wafer with a single corral. more.

MicroWorld hits the Road!

MicroWorld hits the Road!

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Nov 8, 2006

For 10 years, rural elementary school teachers have come to Cornell to participate in MicroWorld—a one-day hands-on workshop in optical microscopy. This year, MicroWorld hit the road and traveled 200 miles to work with urban teachers in New York City. more.

Tight Nanostrings Have Better Tone

Tight Nanostrings Have Better Tone

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Nov 8, 2006

Stradivarius violins and our new nanostrings have one thing in common —they both produce very high quality tones (or vibrations). In physics, the quality of a string is a measure of the number of times the string will vibrate after being plucked. A high quality string, such as the one on a violin, will ring long after it is plucked. more.

Is It A Solid or a Liquid?

Is It A Solid or a Liquid?

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Nov 5, 2006

Every schoolchild learns that there are three states of matter —solid, liquid and gas —but we have recently synthesized a new class of "furry" nanoparticles that have the properties of both solids and liquids. The nanoparticles have a solid core, which can be made of silica (sand) or other inorganic materials, that anchors a corona of longer, ionic molecules as sketched at right. Even in the absence of solvent, these nanoparticles flow like a liquid. more.

Do not bend, fold or mutilate

Do not bend, fold or mutilate

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Nov 2, 2006

Carbon nanotubes are hollow tubes made from single sheets of carbon atoms. Along the length of the tube they can be excellent electrical conductors, and they are also the stiffest known material. However, just like a drinking straw, they can be easily deformed or pinched in a radial direction. Attaching electrical contacts to the tube has always proved challenging —some contacts are good, others a thousand times worse. more.

Inner City High School Students Investigate Time in Chemistry and Physics

Inner City High School Students Investigate Time in Chemistry and Physics

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Dec 17, 2005

What is university life like? Students in inner city high schools often have a hard time answering this question. To gain first-hand knowledge, students at McKinley Vocational High School travelled to Cornell to tour the facilities, meet students and explore the campus. During their visit, the students performed hands-on physics and chemistry experiments that explored time and frequency with CCMR faculty. more.

CAREER: Variable-Temperature Electric Force and Magnetic Resonance Force Microscopy of Organic Electronic Materials

CAREER: Variable-Temperature Electric Force and Magnetic Resonance Force Microscopy of Organic Electronic Materials

Nugget :: John A. Marohn (Dept of Chemistry), Erik M. Muller (Dept of Physics) :: Jun 28, 2005

Research Objective: We are trying to gain a better microscopic understanding of organic electronic materials - carbon based molecules that behave like semiconductors. The reason to study these materials is that they might one day be used for cheap mass-produced electronics, sensors, and solar cells. Conduction of charge in these materials in not well understood. Approach: We image trapped charge directly in these materials using electric force microscopy. more.

Silicon Carbide-based mesoporous ceramics

Silicon Carbide-based mesoporous ceramics

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Apr 1, 2005

Nanostructured polymer-inorganic hybrid materials offer enormous scientific and technological promise in areas ranging from microelectronics to the life sciences. Block copolymers are particularly interesting as structure directing agents since they allow precise control of the hybrid and, after thermal processing, of ceramic morphology. We have prepared the first ordered mesoporous high-temperature (non-oxide type) ceramic material. more.

A Micromechanical FM Radio

A Micromechanical FM Radio

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Apr 1, 2005

We have shown that very small mechanical resonators (like tiny tuning forks) can replace electrical oscillators in radio and cell phone applications, making these electronic systems even smaller. To illustrate the potential of our structures, an FM radio receiver was fabricated from one of our devices. more.

Science and the next Stradivarius?

Science and the next Stradivarius?

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Apr 1, 2005

The CCMR Small Business Outreach Program seeks to address materials issues vital to small manufacturers while building a relationship on which to leverage greater research opportunities. Allred & Associates of Auburn, New York recently received a small exploratory grant from CCMR to work with Prof. Alan Zehnder (T&AM) to characterize the company's new carbon fiber products using the CCMR shared experimental facilities. more.

New Versatile Polymers, from hard to soft to elastic

New Versatile Polymers, from hard to soft to elastic

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Apr 1, 2005

A series of new polymerization catalysts have been invented and found to be very effective in the synthesis of new block copolymers. These catalysts have the potential to make new forms of polypropylene, a commonly used polymer in many consumer and industrial products. The new polymers can be synthesized to have a wider set of properties than ordinary polypropylene, from hard to soft to elastic. more.

Plucking the World's Smallest String

Plucking the World's Smallest String

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Apr 1, 2005

Carbon nanotubes are hollow tubes made from single sheets of carbon atoms. In addition to being the stiffest material known, carbon nanotubes are extremely light and extremely small. Because of this, carbon nanotubes are potentially the ultimate building block for nanoscale mechanical devices, such as ultrasmall chemical detectors. Advances in this area have been stymied by a simple problem — the small size of nanotubes makes them difficult to work with. more.

Interactions Between Magnets and Buckyballs

Interactions Between Magnets and Buckyballs

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Apr 1, 2005

As the size of electronic devices is reduced to the nanometer scale, effects arising from quantum-mechanical interactions between electrons can be examined in direct ways that were previously impossible. more.

Bright & Stable Core-Shell Fluorescent Silica Nanoparticles

Bright & Stable Core-Shell Fluorescent Silica Nanoparticles

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Apr 1, 2005

A new class of highly fluorescent, stable nano-particles has been invented with potential applications in many technologies, including photonics and bio-imaging. Many millions of these with almost identical diameters can be produced in a simple process, enabling many applications that will be inexpensive. Nano Letters 5 (2005), 113-117. more.

High quality organic films for transistor applications

High quality organic films for transistor applications

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Apr 1, 2005

How many layers of organic molecules does it take to build a flexible transistor? Synchrotron X-ray diffraction and atomic force microscopy were used to understand the structure of very thin pentacene films and relate that to the transistor's characteristics. Surprisingly, only 5 to 6 molecular layers are needed to obtain the best performance. more.

Center and Community Join to Reach Underserved Youth

Center and Community Join to Reach Underserved Youth

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Apr 1, 2005

CCMR reaches out to underserved youth through the community-based Ithaca Youth Bureau (IYB). Located in Ithaca, NY, the Youth Bureau serves primarily African-American and low socioeconomic local children. In summer 2004, CCMR began offering hands-on science activities to students from the IYB summer camp. Professors Geoff Coates and Dotsevi Sogah (Chemistry Dept. ) launched the first series of programs. more.

Understanding how small is nano

Understanding how small is nano

Nugget :: John Sinnott :: Apr 1, 2004

False color image of the 3-D profile of a segment of a patterned aluminum line on silicon taken using CCMR's phase shift microscope. The pattern is shown in the inset photo. The line was made via thermal vapor deposition, photo-lithography and etching by students in a freshman introductory nanotechnology course at Cornell. The image is also used in a high school outreach lab that teaches how resistance depends on both material and geometry. more.

Big science helps little fish

Big science helps little fish

Nugget :: Patrick Govang, Paul Corriveau :: Apr 1, 2004

Composite polymer strands, lines and cords are difficult to design because the properties depend in a complex way on the individual properties of the components and the interactions between the components. A CCMR engineering faculty member developed a novel apparatus to study the properties of such composites (bending stiffness, fatigue, wear and friction) to allow the experimental optimization of composite formulations. more.

Devices bridge research and applications

Devices bridge research and applications

Nugget :: Jeevak Parpia, Melissa Hines :: Apr 1, 2004

The true potential of MEMS and NEMS devices can only be realized once they can be integrated into existing silicon based circuitry. The devices at left show a 50W resistor that can be used to thermally drive a high-Q radio-frequency (rf) resonator. The invention of these devices [CRF-patent appl. more.

Teachers show gains through outreach

Teachers show gains through outreach

Nugget :: Kevin Dilley :: Apr 1, 2004

CCMR is collaborating with Professors Elizabeth Shiner Klein and Gail Tooker of the State University of New York (SUNY) Cortland Education Department to develop a quantitative research evaluation of CCMR's Research Experience for Teachers (RET) programs. The initial evaluation process has gotten underway collecting data from a sample of five middle and high-school teachers who participated in the 2003 RET summer program. more.

Reaching out to El Salvador

Reaching out to El Salvador

Nugget :: Nev Singhota :: Apr 1, 2004

CCMR has recently expanded its educational programs beyond U. S. borders. Spurred by physics graduate student Christopher Deufel, a frequent volunteer in CCMR outreach programs, Citigroup Foundation awarded a grant for to bring CCMR-developed science education modules to El Salvador. CCMR provided additional funding through a donor to enable Mr. Deufel to travel to and within El Salvador. The program was initiated in January 2004. As of March 2004, Mr. more.

Improved switching performance of Si based integrated optical devices

Improved switching performance of Si based integrated optical devices

Nugget :: Michal Lipson, Michael Spencer :: Apr 1, 2004

A unique device structure in SiC was designed and simulated. This simulation predicted switching speeds on the order of 10 picoseconds, for a 20x33um2 device operated at 12V. This device would represent a significant increase in switching performance of Si based integrated optical devices. In addition these devices, which are based on resonant techniques, can be realized with an extremely small footprint. Fig. 1 shows the design of our simulated structure. more.

Structured Colloids

Structured Colloids

Nugget :: Abraham Stroock, Fernando Escobedo :: Apr 1, 2004

A new microfluidic reactor for controlling chemistry and mechanical agitation in a colloidal dispersion has been developed at Cornell. An associated new Monte Carlo method for studying the thermodynamics of non-spherical particles predicts an unusual liquid crystalline phase with "cubatic" order such that the particles have fluid-like mobility but net orientation along three orthogonal axes. more.

A Little Wax Improves Nanoscale Tuning Forks

A Little Wax Improves Nanoscale Tuning Forks

Nugget :: Source: "Controlling energy dissipation and stability of micromechanical silicon resonators with self-assembled monolayers," Joshua A. Henry, Yu Wang, and Melissa A. Hines, Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 1765-7 (2004). :: Apr 1, 2004

What do cell phones, quartz watches, and FM radios all have in common? They all need a stable frequency source, or internal clock, to operate. As every musician knows, the simplest frequency source is a tuning fork . a piece of metal that vibrates at the same pitch (or frequency) every time it is struck. In principle, tuning forks could be used to simplify cell phones and other devices; however, these high frequency applications would require nanoscale tuning forks. more.

Ultra-Small Memory Devices for Silicon Electronics

Ultra-Small Memory Devices for Silicon Electronics

Nugget :: Sandip Tiwari :: Apr 1, 2004

The devices on silicon chips that run computers continue to shrink, but we can foresee that the current designs will not work when they become much smaller. For example, small differences in the electrical charge stored in individual silicon based memory devices leads to such different device behavior that they cannot work together. more.

Bright nanoparticles that don't fade or blink

Bright nanoparticles that don't fade or blink

Nugget :: Uli Wiesner :: Apr 1, 2004

Nanometer-scale materials hold great promise for use in enabling new technological breakthroughs in the area of photonics. We have developed fluorescent silica nanoparticles with a novel design concept (CU dots) for use in photonic materials and devices. They consist of a core containing multiple organic fluorophores surrounded by a dense silica shell with sizes down to the 10 nm regime. more.

Designing atomic step patterns on Surfaces: Step pinning and wrap around . Effect of a pillar at the center of a pit

Designing atomic step patterns on Surfaces: Step pinning and wrap around . Effect of a pillar at the center of a pit

Nugget :: John (Jack) Blakely :: Apr 1, 2004

Pillars inside depressions pin the steps as they move across the surface due to evaporation-dominated step motion; the steps can wrap around the pillar and break away, resulting in an effective increase of the pillar height by one atomic layer. This allows the pillar, whose top atomic layers are disappearing, to persist over longer annealing times. more.

Liquid Nanoparticles

Liquid Nanoparticles

Nugget :: Dotsevi Sogah, Emmanuel Giannelis :: Apr 1, 2004

Nanoparticles of many materials have been prepared in the laboratory and all are very fine powders in pure form. We have discovered that nano-particles below a certain size can be transformed into pure liquids by attaching the right molecules to the surface of each particle. The addition of a second, normally liquid substance like water or alcohol is not needed. The nano-liquids will enable new applications of nano-particles to materials technologies. more.

Dimension 3100 Scanning Probe Microscope

Dimension 3100 Scanning Probe Microscope

Nugget :: CCMR Staff :: Sep 12, 2003

Shared surface characterization facility. This microscope provides a platform for conventional atomic force microscopy (AFM) along with a number of additional imaging techniques, including electric force microscopy (EFM), magnetic force microscopy (MFM) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The microscope is located in a central facility, is accessible at all hours to trained users and can be reserved via a web-based scheduling program. more.

Nano-transistors Sensitive to Vibrations in a Single Molecule

Nano-transistors Sensitive to Vibrations in a Single Molecule

Nugget :: Ralph, Sethna and McEuen, in collaboration with Soldatov (Harvard) :: Apr 1, 2003

Cornell researchers have pioneered techniques that have enabled transistors to be made from single molecules. Understanding such devices is an important challenge, because their behavior differs from conventional transistors in a number of ways. One significant difference is that molecules can vibrate and move. more.

New Silicon Nano-transistor Designs

New Silicon Nano-transistor Designs

Nugget :: Tiwari :: Apr 1, 2003

Current transistor technology is approaching limits that prevent smaller devices from being manufactured. A new approach to this problem has been pioneered at Cornell. The approach is based on manipulating the storage of charge in naturally-occurring states at the interface of a nanoscale silicon nitride layer incorporated into transistor devices. In present technologies, logic and memory are usually carried out with separate types of devices. more.

Stronger Plastics

Stronger Plastics

Nugget :: Giannelis :: Apr 1, 2003

Plastics (polymers) are often reinforced by blending other materials, such as glass fibers or clays, into the polymer to make a composite material. Cornell researchers have previously shown that dispersing layered silicates (clays) as atomically thin layers in polymers enhances the strength and lowers the flammability of polymers. A remaining challenge was to develop a process for dispersing clays in polymers that require high temperature processing, such as polycarbonates. more.

Improving the Adhesion of Metal Films to Glass

Improving the Adhesion of Metal Films to Glass

Nugget :: Baker, Pang, Wang and Hui :: Apr 1, 2003

Thin metal films are deposited on glass for use in flat panel computer displays, mirrors, optical components, etc. However, metal films are prone to peeling away from the glass. Cornell scientists have developed a new method for measuring the adhesion of metal films to glass and exploited that method to show that impurities in the film have a dramatic effect on the adhesion. more.

Nano-scale Imaging of Insulators Using Electric Currents?

Nano-scale Imaging of Insulators Using Electric Currents?

Nugget :: Umbach and Blakely :: Apr 1, 2003

Usually, insulators do not allow electrical currents to flow. Yet Cornell engineers have pioneered a technology that allows the surfaces of insulators to do just that. Why would that be interesting? When an engineer needs to determine the degree of smoothness of a solid surface at atomic scales, the choice is between atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). more.

Growing Crystals One Atomic Layer at a Time

Growing Crystals One Atomic Layer at a Time

Nugget :: Dale, Fleet, Wang, Suzuki and Brock :: Apr 1, 2003

Based on the rapid evolution of electronic and optical devices to smaller dimensions, one can readily foresee the day when many materials will need to be made from stacks of atomically thin layers of different composition. Developing the tools to control and probe the growth process of such stacks on the atomistic scale in real time is a formidable challenge. more.

Shake Those Diamonds

Shake Those Diamonds

Nugget :: Sekaric, Parpia, and Craighead, Feygelson, Houston and Butler :: Apr 1, 2003

Diamond is the hardest material known. In collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory, CCMR scientists have shown that it also can be used to make a "xylophone-like" resonator attain frequencies approaching those used in cell phone communications. A unique web-like design will enable optical readout at high frequencies. Understanding the factors that limit the frequency and the purity of the vibrations in very small mechanical resonators is the focus of this group. more.

Ordered Molecular Layers in Sensors and Light Emitting Devices

Ordered Molecular Layers in Sensors and Light Emitting Devices

Nugget :: Abruña, Houston, Malliaras, Blasini, Smilgies, Slinker, Flores and Lee :: Apr 1, 2003

Designer molecules that can be electrically stimulated to emit light can be synthesized to also be sensitive to TNT and related molecules. CCMR researchers have created globular molecules that pack efficiently on surfaces and thereby increase their light emission or sensitivity to TNT and related molecules. The researchers used X-ray reflectivity to monitor and optimize the packing process of individual molecules as they form very thin films on various surfaces. more.

Growth of Ultra-Thin Organic Films for Electrical Devices

Growth of Ultra-Thin Organic Films for Electrical Devices

Nugget :: Malliaras, Mayer and Kazimirov, in collaboration with Headrick (Vermont) :: Apr 1, 2003

Imagine electronic circuits on paper, plastic, or cloth! Organic semiconductors, like pentacene, can make this happen because they can be deposited on practically any surface. Researchers at CCMR are investigating the arrangement of pentacene molecules on various surfaces. By using X-ray radiation, it is possible to "see" how the first few layers of pentacene molecules arrange themselves on particular surfaces. more.

New Ways to Make Biodegradable Polymers

New Ways to Make Biodegradable Polymers

Nugget :: Lee, Qin and Coates :: Apr 1, 2003

The synthesis and proper disposal of most polymers pose important environmental challenges. Therefore, the synthesis of biodegradable polymers as well as reducing the use of non-renewable resources is important. CCMR researchers have developed new catalysts for the synthesis of polymers from carbon dioxide. CO2 is an ideal synthetic feedstock since it is abundant, inexpensive, nontoxic, and nonflammable. more.

Porous Magnets: Magnetic Fe-containing Ordered Thin Films

Porous Magnets: Magnetic Fe-containing Ordered Thin Films

Nugget :: Wiesner and Gruner :: Apr 1, 2003

Magnetic materials are well known for many technologically important applications. The new porous magnetic materials developed at CCMR may enable precision medical tests for early stage disease detection. For the first time, a new process for the creation of porous patterned iron oxide containing thin films has been developed. more.

Switchable Photonic Materials

Switchable Photonic Materials

Nugget :: Ober, Gruner and Thomas :: Apr 1, 2003

Optical materials are the basis of the telecommunications revolution. Photonic bandgap materials can be used in such applications to switch and direct optical signals. Oriented block copolymers are an important new class of optical material that possess a tunable photonic bandgap, are easy to process and can create conformal coatings. more.

Marvelous Magnets

Marvelous Magnets

Nugget :: Educational Programs Director, Nev Singhota :: Apr 1, 2003

As a large, interdisciplinary NSF Materials Center, CCMR offers the surrounding community a wide variety of programs and opportunities to learn about our scientific and engineering activities. During the past year, we have offered 30 separate educational outreach programs reaching approximately 36 undergraduates, 850 K-12 students, 110 parents of school children, 225 schoolteachers, and 81,000 upstate New York newspaper readers, and numerous community members. more.

Professional Development Day

Professional Development Day

Nugget :: Educational Programs Director, Nev Singhota :: Apr 1, 2003

The CCMR Educational Programs Office offers educational and training programs for K-12 science teachers. Faculty, postdoctoral associates, graduate students, and staff work with teachers in local school districts to provide teacher training. In 2003, CCMR collaborated with the Ithaca City School District to present hands-on learning modules to 140 K-5 teachers. more.

Research Experience for Teachers (RET)

Research Experience for Teachers (RET)

Nugget :: Educational Programs Director, Nev Singhota :: Apr 1, 2003

Mary Kay Hickey, high school chemistry and biology teacher, participated in the CCMR Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program during the summer of 2002. She worked with Professor D. Tyler McQuade and his group in looking at a number of fluorescent compounds in order to characterize their properties for future use in the lab and see if they can spot any interesting interactions that might have application in sensors. As a result of her research with Professor McQuade, Ms. more.

Molecular Transistors

Molecular Transistors

Nugget :: Héctor Abruña, Paul McEuen and Dan Ralph. :: Jan 1, 2002

Molecular devices might enable the manipulation of single electrons on the smallest possible device length scales. A cross disciplinary group at Cornell has demonstrated for the first time a transistor device that reaches the ultimate limit in which an electron hops on and off a single atom between two contacts. This has been achieved by nanofabricating gold (Au) electrodes separated by a very narrow gap. more.

Nanostructured Polymer- Ceramic Composites

Nanostructured Polymer- Ceramic Composites

Nugget :: Uli Wiesner and Sol Gruner :: Jan 1, 2002

For the first time, ceramic nano-dots, nano-wires, nano-sheets, nano-networks and nano-channels can all be synthesized by the same process. The process utilizes special polymers, called block co-polymers, which were known to solidify into a variety of organized nanoscale regions, whose dimensions can be controlled by changing the length of the polymer. more.

Making Waves, Nanostyle

Making Waves, Nanostyle

Nugget :: Kit Umbach, Cary Allen, Matt Daniels and Jack Blakely. :: Jan 1, 2002

Bombarding SiO2 surfaces with high speed atoms or ions at glancing angles produces quasi-periodic nanoscale surface corrugations or ripples. This unusual effect can be explained by changes in the surface flow properties (viscosity) of the SiO2 under bombardment. more.

Unraveling nucleation and growth of copper films on TiN, TaN and SiO<sub>2</sub>

Unraveling nucleation and growth of copper films on TiN, TaN and SiO2

Nugget :: Paul Ma, Todd Schroeder and Jim Engstrom. :: Jan 1, 2002

Copper is quickly replacing aluminum in microelectronic devices. In these devices, it is important to encapsulate the Cu metal wires not only for electrical isolation purposes, but also to prevent the (detrimental) diffusion of Cu into other parts of the device. This is achieved by using thin impermeable layers that are referred to as "diffusion barriers. more.

Island density increases during sputter deposition

Island density increases during sputter deposition

Nugget :: Josh Pomeroy, Oana Malis, Jim Sethna, and Joel Brock :: Jan 1, 2002

Major advances in communication technology have been made possible using techniques such as sputter deposition. This technique, for example, is used to fabricate the thin films in the read heads on a hard disk drive. In sputter deposition, the depositing atoms collide with the surface with high energies, resulting in smoother films, but how this occurs has remained a mystery. more.

Pumping Up Tiny Oscillations

Pumping Up Tiny Oscillations

Nugget :: Lidija Sekaric, Maxim Zalalutdinov, Jane Wang, Harold Craighead, Jeevak Parpia and Alan Zehnder :: Jan 1, 2002

The vibration of nanomechanical resonators (very small "tuning forks") is highly damped by the presence of air. We have shown that special methods can restore the vibrations by adding a little energy to the resonator during the part of the period where the resonator is at its maximum excursion from equilibrium. This is rather like lightly pushing a child's swing when it is at the top of its arc. more.

Carbon helps grow larger pentacene grains

Carbon helps grow larger pentacene grains

Nugget :: Michele Swiggers, Chris Johnson and George Malliaras. :: Jan 1, 2002

Imagine electronic circuits on paper, plastic, or even cloth! Organic semiconductors, like pentacene, can make this happen because they can be deposited on any surface. Researchers at the Cornell Center for Materials Research recently found a new way to improve the quality of pentacene films. By just depositing a thin layer of carbon between pentacene and the substrate, a ten fold increase in the size of the pentacene grains was achieved. more.

CCMR & Corning: Interaction with Industry

CCMR & Corning: Interaction with Industry

Nugget :: Senior researchers include: Neil Ashcroft, Dieter Ast, Shefford Baker, Jack Blakely, Rüdiger Dieckmann, James Engstrom, John Silcox, Chris Umbach. Collaborators from Corning, Inc. include Ellison, Felner and Coiler. :: Jan 1, 2002

Research 1 micron x 1 micron AFM image of an ion irradiated surface of a Corning flat panel display glass (aluminoborosilicate). The dominant repeat spacing of this large area self organized quasi-periodic surface modulation is ~ 70nm. Surface was Argon ion bombarded at 500eV at 45 degrees from the normal. These modulations may be effective for liquid crystal alignment. more.

CCMR & Loctite: Interaction with Industry

CCMR & Loctite: Interaction with Industry

Nugget :: Christopher Ober :: Jan 1, 2002

In a collaboration supported through the CCMR Polymer Outreach Program in partnership with Loctite, Cornell researchers have invented reworkable thermosets. These adhesives have been commercialized for use as removable underfills (Loctite 3567, http://www. loctite. com/new/3567release. html), the material that holds computer chips to substrates. more.

Programas Educativos

Programas Educativos

Nugget :: :: Jan 1, 2002

Professor Hctor Abrua, a member of the Cornell Center for Materials Research, explores the nature of chemical reactions using cornstarch and water with children in the Esperanza program in Ithaca, NY. Esperanza focuses on Latino students in grades Kindergarten through 6th grade; lessons are conducted in Spanish. more.

Educational Outreach

Educational Outreach

Nugget :: :: Jan 1, 2002

Ann Phinney-Foreman uses a glove box to prepare a sample of tert-butylpyridine tungsten chloride. Ms. Phinney-Foreman is a Chemistry teacher from Waverly High School in south-central New York State and worked with MRSEC Director Frank DiSalvo during the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program in the summer of 2001 at Cornell. She has been accepted as a participant in the IBM-Almaden RET program for the summer of 2002. more.

OLED's Based on [Ru(bpy)3]+2 Pendant Dendrimers

Nugget :: H.D. Abruña, G. Malliaras, and P.L. Houston. :: May 1, 2001

We have developed organic light emitting diodes (OLED's) based on polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimers generations 0-4 containing, respectively 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64 [Ru(bpy)3]+2 pendant chromophores on the periphery. (A shows the structure of dend-8-[Ru(bpy)3]). Thin films (70-100 nm) of these materials were spin-coated onto indium/tin oxide (ITO) glass and Ca electrodes (with a thin Al top layer) were vacuum deposited on top of the dendrimer film. (B shows a schematic of the cell employed). more.

Atomically Flat Si Mesas by Supersonic Beam Deposition

Nugget :: Doohan Lee, Todd Schroeder, Jim Engstrom, Jack Blakely. :: May 1, 2001

Atomically flat surfaces and interfaces are desirable for many electronic devices and multilayer structures. In this work the technique of deposition from a supersonic beam of Si2H6 has been combined with nanopatterning methods to create arrays of mesas on Si (111) which are free from atomic steps. Si is deposited on a surface patterned as in figure(1) at a rate of about one atomic bilayer per second at ~850C. more.

Mobility-Dependent Charge Injection at the Metal/Organic Interface

Nugget :: Yulong Shen, Matthias Klein, Daniel Jacobs and George Malliaras (PI). :: May 1, 2001

How can we make Ohmic contact to an organic semiconductor? Despite the tremendous technological advances in organic semiconductor devices over the past decade, we are still not able to answer this question. more.

Polyolefin-Silicate Nanocomposites: In Situ Catalyst Intercalation and Polymerization

Nugget :: J.S. Bergman, H. Chen, E.P. Giannelis, M.G. Thomas, G.W. Coates (PI) :: May 1, 2001

Polymer nanocomposites are an intriguing class of new materials composed of layered silicates intercalated by polymer chains. These hybrid materials typically exhibit dramatically improved properties compared with either their pure polymer components or inorganic constituent. Performance enhancement, such as increased modulus and barrier to gas and solvents, as well as decreased thermal expansion, depends on the spatial orientation and interactions of the polymer and silicate. more.

Colossal Magnetoresistance Thin Films and Nanostructures

Nugget :: Yan Wu, Yana Matsushita (00), Lisa Berndt and Yuri Suzuki (PI) in collaboration with Andrew Kent at New York University. :: Aug 1, 2000

Doped perovskite manganites are of interest because they exhibit colossal magnetoresistance and, perhaps more importantly, they may be half-metallic, with complete spin polarization at the Fermi level. Therefore this class of materials has been identified for potential magnetoresistive memory devices. Doped manganites also provide a model system for studying the influence of micromagnetics on the transport properties of magnetoresistive devices. more.

Kinetic Monte Carlo Simulation of Polycrystalline Copper (100)

Nugget :: Liguo Wang (graduate student), Markus Rauscher, Paulette Clancy (PI). :: Aug 1, 2000

A Kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC) simulation technique has been developed at Cornell in which a simple representation of grain boundaries can now be incorporated. Diffusion is not permitted across isotropically oriented grains and this allows us to observe a transition from columnar to dendritic (porous) growth as the angle of incidence of the beam shifts from normal to grazing angles. more.

High Spatial Resolution Electron Energy Loss Spectrometer (SREELS)

Nugget :: Nan Jiang and John Silcox (PI), J. Applied Physics 87, 3768 (2000). :: Aug 1, 2000

A scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) equipped with a parallel electron energy-loss spectrometer (PEELS) has been improved to probe electronic states and associated chemistry on a near-atomic (~2 ) spatial scale. A detailed understanding of the excellent adhesion of Cr thin films to oxide glasses has been achieved by means of these studies. A thin Cr diffusion layer (~ 50 ) is now seen at the interface, originating with the inter-diffusion between Cr and alkaline earth ions (e. g. more.

Nanosurgery on MEMS

Nugget :: Led by Alan Zehnder, Harold Craighead, and Jeevak Parpia (PI). :: Aug 1, 2000

Micro- and nanoelectromechanical devices (MEMS and NEMS) with a high potential for use in radio frequency applications, sensors, etc, have been fabricated at Cornell by state-of-art electron-beam lithography tools. A combination of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and electron microscope (SEM) is used in a new technique for accurate control and analysis of the emerging nanomechanical structures. more.

New Mechanism For Controlling Magnetic Domains

Nugget :: E. B. Myers, D. C. Ralph, J. A. Katine, R. N. Louie, and R. A. Buhrman :: May 1, 2000

Magnetic devices for information storage currently operate by using externally- generated magnetic fields to control the orientation of the magnetic north and south poles. We have demonstrated a new mechanism for controlling magnetic domains, that instead relies on the quantum-mechanical interaction between the intrinsic spins of electrons and a magnetic material. more.

Engergetic Beam Enhanced Nucleation

Nugget :: Randy Headrick, Arthur Woll, Stefan Kycia, Joel Brock (Cornell), and Ramana M.V. Murty (ANL) :: May 1, 2000

Engergetic Beam Enhanced Nucleation Gallium Nitride and has become a very important material for a variety of applications, including blue and violet light-emitting diodes, lasers, and high-power transistors. The material is created in the form of a thin-film, one hundred times thinner than a sheet of paper, that is a nearly perfect single-crystal. more.

Ultra-Low Current Scanning Tunneling Microscope

Nugget :: Jack Blakely and Kit Umbach, CCMR IRG2 Thin Films on Glass :: May 1, 2000

Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) imaging with sub-picoamp currents allows structural and electronic characterization of materials normally considered insulating, such as oxides and glasses. The image of the native oxide of silicon shows that structural features of the crystalline substrate are observable on the rough oxide surface. The IV curve indicates a surface bandgap characteristic of silicon dioxide. more.

Liquid Crystalline Semiconductors

Nugget :: Led by Prof. George Malliaras (Seed), Materials Science & Engineering, Cornell and Prof. Twieg at Kent State University. :: May 1, 2000

Organic semiconductors are attracting a great deal of attention because of their ease in processing, which is superior to that of inorganic semiconductors. However, the penalty in terms of performance remains very high. Carrier mobilities in organic materials are several orders of magnitude lower than those in Si, imposing a severe limit on the performance of organic devices. Researchers at Cornell are developing a novel family of semiconductors, with exceptionally high transport properties. more.

Tunable Micromechanical Oscillator

Nugget :: M. Zalalutdinov (Postdoctoral Associate), B. Ilic and D. Czaplewski (Graduate Students), H. G. Craighead, J. Parpia, and A. Zehnder (PIs). :: Jan 1, 2000

The movement of tiny mechanical devices is important in a number of devices such as atomic force microscopes, magnetometers, frequency filters, optical switches for telecommunications, and biological sensors. Applications have been limited, however, by the fact that the oscillators could only oscillate at fixed resonant frequencies. This has changed now because of work done at Cornell, where a cantilever, tunable from 9. 6 kHz all the way up to 37 kHz, has been demonstrated. more.

Semiconductor Technology: Smoothing the Way

Nugget :: Y-C Huang, J. Flidr, T.A. Newton and M.A. Hines :: May 1, 1999

Researchers at Cornell University have used simple chemistry to produce atomically smooth silicon surfaces. To the naked eye, the silicon wafers used by the semiconductor industry have perfect, mirror finishes. But on an atomic scale, however, these mirror surfaces are actually rough and pitted. When microprocessors are manufactured from these wafers, this atomic scale roughness is then transferred to individual transistors, where it seriously degrades performance. more.

Metal Cluster Centered Star Polymers

Nugget :: Marc Weimer, Dhandapani Venkataraman, Frank DiSalvo and Dotse Sogah. :: May 1, 1999

A variety of organic molecules (ligands) can be attached to metal clusters such as W6Cl8+4 or Mo6S8. These clusters can then be dissolved in a variety of solvents. We have designed a special ligand that imparts solubility as well as containing an initiator for the polymerization of styrene. Since there are six metal centers per cluster, up to six polymer arms can be grown by attaching up to six of these ligands. The resulting polymer is a "star" polymer. more.

Local Dynamics of Polymers

Nugget :: D. B. Zax, D.-K. Yang, R. A. Santos, H. Hegemann, E. P. Giannelis, and E. Manias :: May 1, 1999

Fluids in confined between walls only nanometers apart exhibit remarkable dynamical heterogeneities on length scales as short as a few AA, though few experimental probes are available which test the origins of these heterogeneities on a microscopic scale. Our recent experiments combine nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations to study the trilayer system formed when poly(styrene) (PS) is intercalated into a surface-modified fluorohectorite. more.

Exceptionally Ordered Hexagonal Arrays of Redox-Active Dendrimers via Metal-Initiated Self-Assembly

Nugget :: D. J. Díaz, G. D. Storrier, K. Takada, H. D. Abruña :: May 1, 1999

There is a great deal of interest in the preparation of surface structures of deliberate architecture with particular emphasis on systems capable of self-assembly. The binding of transition metals to specifically designed ligands provides an excellent platform for the preparation of such structures since both the strength and kinetics of binding can be exquisitely controlled. We have prepared terpyridine containing dendrimers (Fig. more.

Anisotropic Stress Effects in Sub-Micrometer Metal Films

Nugget :: :: May 1, 1999

Copper is replacing aluminum as the material of choice for the microscopic "metallization" wires that connect the various parts of integrated circuits together due to its lower resistivity. Unlike aluminum, however, copper is very anisotropic the elastic stiffness varies by more than a factor of two with grain orientation. Combined with the nanometer scale of these objects, this can lead to very unusual behavior which does not occur in bulk copper. more.

Snowflakes, Dendrites, and Welding

Nugget :: Professor Eberhard Bodenschatz, Department of Physics, Cornell University. :: Nov 1, 1998

Though the intricate structure of a snowflake is familiar to many, less well known is the occurrence of similar dendritic structures during the solidification process of many alloy systems. When metals are welded together it is frequently the case that the dendritic form of the solidification can determine the welds resulting mechanical properties. more.

Hard Drives and Spin Filters

Nugget :: V. Ambegaokar, P. Brouwer, R. Buhrman, H. Craighead, C. Henley, J. Parpia, D. Ralph, R. Richardson, Y. :: Nov 1, 1998

Shashi Upadyhay and Robert Buhrman in IRG4 of the Cornell Center for Materials Research have developed a new technique which, for the first time, allows measurements of the electron-spin-filtering properties of a single layer of magnetic metal. In these experiments the single layer is as thin as one atomic layer. more.

Bonding of metals to glass!

Nugget :: N. Ashcroft, D. Ast, S. Baker, J. Blakely, R. Dieckmann, J. Engstrom, H. Hui, C.-Y. Li, J. Silcox, K. Umbach. :: Nov 1, 1998

The adhesion of metal films to glass is technologically important, but not well understood at a fundamental level. To clarify it, Ashcroft and Neaton (in the Thin Films on Glass IRG of the Cornell Center for Materials Research) have calculated, ab initio, the adhesion of chromium to SiO(2) and found extensive rearrangement of the bonding at the interface. more.

Thin Film Transistors but on Glass Ceramics!

Nugget :: N. Ashcroft, D. Ast, S. Baker, J. Blakely, R. Dieckmann, J. Engstrom, H. Hui, C.-Y. Li, J. Silcox, K. Umbach. :: Nov 1, 1998

The low softening point of glass generally prevents use of the common semiconductor processing steps of diffusion and oxidation (which operate at high temperatures) to make transistors on glass substrates covered with a thin Si film. Researchers at the Cornell Center for Materials Research working with Corning Inc. more.

Patterns on Surfaces: Erosion, but with Order

Nugget :: M.V. Ramana Murty, T. Curcic, A. Judy, B.H. Cooper, A.R. Woll, J.D. Brock, S. Kycia, and R.L. Headrick :: Jul 1, 1998

Erosion of surfaces with energetic ions is an important step in many crystal growth and semiconductor processing techniques. Novel approaches are providing unprecedented control of surface structure at the atomic scale. Scientists at Cornell University have used synchrotron X-ray scattering to observe atomic layers disappearing in real time during the erosion of a single crystal metal surface with energetic ions. more.