science kit to help students learn about nanotechnology has been selected as
one of the top 100 technology products added to the market place for
Lab…in a Box!™ was developed by Mike Zach, associate professor of chemistry at
UW-Stevens Point, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne
National Laboratory in Illinois.
and Design Magazine’s R&D 100 awards (http://www.rdmag.com/award-winners/2014/07/2014-r-d-100-award-winners)
are seen as the “Oscars of Innovation.” This international competition
recognizes excellence in a range of industries, including telecommunications,
optics, high-energy physics, materials science, chemistry and biotechnology.
NanoFab lab simplifies nanotechnology concepts for high school and college
students. It is a shoebox-sized educational kit for easy, rapid duplication of
patterned nanowires without the need for a multimillion-dollar clean room.
is a new way to make tiny electronics and other materials used in high-tech
advanced manufacturing. Scientists believe this technology can be used in
fabricating transistors, in sensors, solar cells and as electronic components.
nonprofit EChem Nanowires Educational Foundation, Inc. developed the technology
in partnership with nanoscientist Ani Sumant of Argonne’s
Center for Nanoscale Materials. The UW System’s WiSys
Technology Foundation owns the patent.
Scientists needed to develop entirely separate techniques to
grow nanowires made from different materials in the past, Zach said. “Now we’ve
developed a universal method for growing many different materials. It controls
the location where material is deposited with a reusable template or ‘printing
press’ that speeds the process from hours or days to minutes or even seconds.”
The nanowires are created with an ultrananocrystalline diamond
(UNCD) template, which can be used an indefinite number of times. The nanowires
grow at the edge of a conducting form of UNCD.
The diamond’s properties allow it to be used like a stamp repeatedly
to create various patterns simply and inexpensively, said Sumant, UNCD
specialist in Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials.
This kit offers an opportunity for science education and
outreach, Zach said, and has been introduced in several Wausau schools. “Most
schools don’t have the resources to perform expensive nanotechnology
experiments, but our invention allows us to bring nanotechnology to the
classroom in a very tangible way.”
selected from more than 1,000 entries by a panel that considered potential
importance, potential impact to business and innovative method for solving a
A 75-second video gives a simple overview of the technique: http://youtu.be/SSJa4NlzqKs