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SLINTEC Newsletter Issue # 3 -January 2010


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Value Addition through Nanotechnology for the Sri Lankan Rubber Industry
Global Initiatives in Nanotechnology

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SLINTEC Newsletter Issue # 3 -January 2010

  1. 1. SRI LANKA INSTITUTE OF NANOTECHNOLOGY Sustainable nanotechnology 2010 ISSUE 1 | PAGE 1 News Bulletin Prof. A.P. de Silva, SLINTEC Science Advisor Visit to Sri Lanka, December 2009 NANOTECHNOLOGY NEW OR OLD? Prof. A.P. de Silva - Chair of Organic Chemistry, School of Chemistry and Chemical While the word nanotechnology is Engineering Queen’s University, Belfast, a member of the SLINTEC Advisory Team visited relatively new – the word was coined facility on 14th December 2009. Following were his observations: by the Japanese scientist Norio Taniguchi (1912-1999) in a 1974 “Though I had the happy chance to be involved at some level during the conception, seeing the institute paper on production technology that in the flesh was a brilliant experience. The state-of-the-art offices, laboratories and shared spaces create a creates objects and features on the order of a nanometer– the existence very positive first impression. A deeper positive impression was formed when I met the scientists, of functional devices and structures engineers and administrators. Ravi Fernando deserves congratulations for assembling a team of capable of nanometer dimensions is not new. scientists who are also pleasant people. This optimum blend of personality and intellect will help the Prof. Taniguchi originally stated his development of a truly creative SLINTEC. Listening to the presentations of the science team gave me idea as follows: " 'Nano-Technology' confidence that such a creative institute can arise.” mainly consists of the processing of, - 16th December 2009, Prof. A. P. de Silva separation, consolidation, and deformation of materials by one Value Addition through Nanotechnology for the Sri Lankan Rubber Industry atom or by one molecule." Nature gives us many examples and there is By Dr. U. N. Ratnayake much to learn from. Most famous is Commercial appearance of rubber products based on nanotechnology is still in their early the Lotus effect though there are stages in comparison to thermoplastic products. It is crucial to initiate R&D to apply with a many other examples. Learning from view of adding value. If not we will miss a great opportunity to uplift our rubber industry nature is a key nanotechnology through nanotechnology. It is our view at SLINTEC that we should not let this happen! research activity in many countries. Humans did at an early stage take It is important to identify areas where nanotechnology can effectively be applied to advantage of nanosized materials enhance the natural rubber production and to make value addition to our rubber products though not quite knowing about the which leads to a significant competitive edge on the global stage. Natural rubber latex 2 structure-property relationships. collection and preservation is one of area in rubber industry where nanotechnology can be Lycurgus cup is a classic example in applied to improve the productivity. Lotus effect to antimicrobial properties, well under- this regard. stood in nanotechnology could be brought into enhance productivity. Rubber compounds are used in wide range of applications, particularly in automotive tires, tubes, engine mounts etc. Reinforcing fillers play a major role in improving mechanical properties of these compounds. At present carbon black is the principal reinforcing filler along with silica. There is demand for new, less weight and environmental friendly reinforcing fillers. Layered silicate, an important nanoparticle for various applications, has shown potential for replac- ing a carbon black. Rubber nanocomposites based on other nano particles like carbon nanotubes and metal oxides etc. 2 are possibilities. Incorporation of carbon nanotubes not only results in high strength but also yield superior thermal and electrical properties. Metallic nano particles such as Al, Fe and Ti can be used to make functional (i.e. electrical, magnetic and oxidative resistant) rubber materials. Discussed above are few examples how rubber industry can benefit from This is currently to be seen in the nanotechnology. However, now is the time for scientists and industrialists British science museum. The glass to rise up to this challenge and apply this technology without delay for the makers have fabricated this glass cup upliftment of the Sri Lankan rubber industry. Imagine gloves made with using nanosized metals. The functionalized rubber from a Sri Lankan plantation with proprietary difference in new Nanotechnology is technology enabling man to mimic the Geckos feet and lets you climb the man’s ability to understand and walls like Spider Man …..burgeoning international growth by delivering manipulate – a feat that is continu- massive advances and technical excellence in surface protections. ously evolving. Our Industry Partners Changing Perspectives
  2. 2. SRI LANKA INSTITUTE OF NANOTECHNOLOGY Sustainable nanotechnology 2010 ISSUE 1 | PAGE 2 News Bulletin Global Initiatives in Nanotechnology By Dr. Shehan de Silva LAUNCH OF SLINTEC The beginnings of nanotechnology research, which was largely confined to humble lab spaces in academic institutions IP TRACKER has evolved to gain critical mass, and has achieved its tipping point. Poised squarely to transform every facet of industry known to man, and the environment we live in, it will define its own revolutionary age. That said current market applications have been more evolutionary by nature, due to the integration concerns in transitioning from the lab to process line. As the world awaits its truly nano iPod, immediate applications in nanomaterials have mushroomed on a global scale. Given the current penetration of nanotech enabled applications we are in a position to map the progress from its infancy until up to today's activities and beyond. Momentum The initial investment of $422 million by Bill Clinton through the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) set the benchmark at the time for research investment in this field. Followed by the injection of $849 million by president Bush during 2003 for the same initiative, this set the stage and demonstrated a singular vision for Nanotechnology in the U.S., which today has been observed and replicated globally. A keen observer would have noticed that Japan was in Researchers need to be dynamically fact on par or even more committed, which became apparent after the Single-wall carbon nanotubes were discovered tracking ‘What is happening in 1991 by Sumio Iijima of NEC prestige. Followed by their allocation of $900 million each year over five years. Japan’s elsewhere’. SLINTEC had developed efforts in nanoscience and nanotechnology were initiated by the Atom Technology Project, a ten-year endeavour that ‘IP TRACKER’ with collabaration of started in 1992 and was sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and managed by a quasigov- Lanka Software Foundation. This ernmental organization, which included METI’s national institutes. software helps to track Intellectual Property & Patents that are globally China’s investment commitment for the five-year plan ending in 2005 registered. At the Launch of this is $280 million; Korea’s ten-year plan ending in 2010 is $2 billion, $620 product SLINTEC handedover 50 CDs million for Taiwan’s five-year plan ending in 2007. Malaysia allocated to National Science Foundation to $23 million to its 8th five-year plan to nanotechnology. Thailand is distribute to researchers and earmarking $25 million for nanotechnology for the five-year period planners at Ministry of Science & ending in 2008. Interestingly Asia's public investment in nanotech- Technology, Universities & NSF. nology is now surpassing the public investment in nanotechnology of all its western competitor combined. Nano Quiz Trends What is this legendary sword Having achieved the tipping point (or the point of no return as the case may be with Gray Goo) there are obvious trends known as? in the nanotech industry, which warrants a second look. For example, China is committed to fundamental research in the area though it is very much the market driving forces that it is 2 interested in, in its search for its differentiator. In basic research and advanced technology, exploration and innovation are What is the new technique emphasized; In applications, the development of nanomaterials developed by metalsmiths in India is the main objective for the near future. Development of and Sri Lanka perhaps as early as bionanotechnology and nanomedical technology is a main 300BC that produced a high-carbon objective for the medium term, whereas the development of steel of unusually high purity? nanoelectronics and nanochips is a long-term objective. What is the area in Sri Lanka, where Thus, nanotechnology will facilitate the differentiation of Sri Lanka's commodity exports and the shift towards a knowl- thousands of sites that made steel edge based economy. The first movement in nanotechnology has started. This first movement in nanotechnology will using Monsoon wind were found? redefine Sri Lankan industry and establish us as the trailblazers of our age. Expect more on this from our next "Nanotechnology may well rival the development of the transistor or telecommunications in its news letter… ultimate impact." -- Charles M. Vest, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Our Industry Partners Changing Perspectives
  3. 3. SRI LANKA INSTITUTE OF NANOTECHNOLOGY Sustainable nanotechnology 2010 ISSUE 1 | PAGE 3 News Bulletin Novel Probes for Molecular Electronics: Measuring charge state of SLINTEC a single atom 8th KNOWLEDGE SEMINAR By Dr. A. R. Kumarasinghe Since the invention of scanning tunneling microscope (STM) by Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer at IBM Research Laboratory, Zurich, Switzerland, in 1981, the passion for untangling the secrets of the nature and the scientific quest for discovering new phenomena on molecular level using STM has never slowed down. STM is a powerful instrument which uses a mechanical device to sense the structure of a surface. The microscope is under high vecuum and kept exceptionally cold (Figure 1) To this extent, the principle is the same as that of braille-reading but much more detailed of the topography of the surface is obtained in STM using quantum mechanical tunneling effect of electrons. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is an offspring of STM developed by Binnig and co-workers in 1986. It employs a tiny tip to measure the attractive/repulsive force between atoms of the tip and those on a surface. In other words, AFM tip can measure forces at atomic level. Unlike for STM, AFM does not require the material to be conductive. In order to generate an image of a surface, AFM takes the advantage of atomic forces acting between two atoms when they are brought to close proximity. However in STM, as the tunneling current which is originating from the tip is used to generate an image, it requires the sample to be conductive to evade the problems arising from possible surface charging effect. Due to the sensing mechanism used in AFM, it can be applied to acquire surface information of practically almost all surfaces varying from insulators, semiconductors to metals. It can even be used to observe topographical features on biologi- Prof. A.P. de Silva’s seminar, themed cal samples with very high precision. “Useful Nanotechnologies Based on Molecular Information Handling”, A fascinating experiment briefly explained below demonstrates the specifics given above on STM and AFM. The was held at the Auditorium, Dept of experiment has been recently conducted by a group of scientists led by Gerhard Meyer at IBM’s nanoscience and Chemistry, University of Colombo. nanotechnology division in collaboration with scientists from the University of Regensburg in Germany and Utrecht The seminar attracted more than 120 University in Netherlands. Their pioneering work was published in Science, June 2009, involves measuring the people from undergraduates, gradu- amount of electric charge or the charge state on a single atom. Measuring a charge state of a single atom practically ate students, academics and industry is unthinkable as more than a billion billion electrons pass through a 60 W light bulb every second! personnel. In his lecture, he One of the paramount requirements in molecular electronics is minimizing the interaction between the molecules described his own pioneering work and the underlying substrates to ensure that the electronic properties of molecules are not disturbed. In this regard, that started in the chemistry labs of bulk insulators and thin insulating films are ideal candidates. In case of insulating substrates, it requires characteriza- University of Colombo and culmi- tion tools that do not depend on conductivity. Low-current STM is one option. However, non-contact AFM can be nated in Belfast. He noted that a used to image molecules on insulating films or bulk insulators. The group of scientists at IBM imaged and identified current 60M$ market activity based differently charged individual gold and silver atoms by measuring the tiny differences in the forces between the tip of on this work by a Swiss firm was first an AFM and a charged or uncharged atom located in close proximity below it. used in Sri Lankan Ambulance services during the days of conflict. For this experiment, they used an extension of non-contact The presentation demonstrated mode AFM, i.e., Scanning Kelving Probe Microscopy (SKPM), at what one can do if there is a will, low temperature. In SKPM the electrostatic force is measured as focus and the right attitude within a a function of applied voltage. As high stability is necessary for conducive atmosphere. The promise such measurements, they conducted the imaging process at and the potential of Chemistry in 5K(- 268 0C). In the setup of the present work, the AFM uses a Computing surpassing the current qPlus force sensor consisting of a tip mounted on one prong of systems in place were presented by a tuning fork, Prof AP based on his own concepts of Continued to next page... “Lab-as-a-Molecule” and was a preview of things to come. Our Industry Partners Changing Perspectives
  4. 4. SRI LANKA INSTITUTE OF NANOTECHNOLOGY Sustainable nanotechnology 2010 ISSUE 1 | PAGE 4 News Bulletin Novel Probes for Molecular Electronics: Measuring charge state of SLINTEC a single atom Continuation from page 3 UP COMING EVENTS the other prong being fixed. The tuning fork is actuated mechanically and oscillates with amplitudes as small as 0.02 SLINTEC 9th nm which is about one-tenth of an atom’s diameter. As the AFM tip approach the sample, the resonance frequency of KNOWLEDGE the tuning fork is shifted due to the forces acting between sample and the tip. By scanning the tip over the surface SEMINAR and measuring the difference in the frequency shift, a precise force map of the surface can be derived. For sensing the by minute differences in the force caused by the charge state switching of single atom requires an extremely stable measurement conditions. For example, difference between the force of a neutral gold atom and a gold atom charged Dr. Rohitha Jayasuriya -12 Pace University School of Law with an additional electron was found to be only about 11 x 10 N (11 piconewton) measured at the minimum Please send your reservation to distance to the tip of about half a nanometer above the atom. They claim that their measurement accuracy is better that 1 piconewton, which is roughly equal to the gravitational pull that two adults exerts on each other over a APCTT-ESCAP WORKSHOP distance of more than half a kilometer. Moreover, by measuring the variation of the force with the voltage applied & DELEGATIONS VISIT TO between the tip and the sample, the scientists were able to distinguish positively from negatively charged single SLINTEC atoms (Figure 2). This breakthrough is another crucial advance in the field of atomic-scale science. According to Leo Gross, who conducted the experiment at IBM, the impact of such innovative works lies beyond nano- scale computing as charge state and the charge distribution are critical in photoconversion (i.e., solar cells) and catalysis. “Mapping the charge distribution on the atomic scale might deliver insight into fundamental processes in these fields”. Figure 2 SLINTEC featured in Nano Globe - Nanotechnology Now - Nanotechnol- ogy Columns Sri Lanka, though with limited infrastructure built for R&D and limited funding from the government so far shows its commitment in developing nanotechnology with a unique private - public partnership and passionate scientists. The Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) was set up in 2008 with 50% funding from Sri Lanka National Science Foundation (NSF) and 5 other industry partners. Sri Lanka, a country of about 20M people primarily still an agricultural based developing economy with over 70% of its population living in the rural area. Its GDP per capita is about 2000USD (lower than Vietnam whose GDP per capita is 3340USD). Despite of its recent political instability, its Ministry of Science and Technology and National Science Foundation recognizes the importance of nanotechnology and started to establish its S&T policy to ensure Sri Lanka will not missed the upcoming revolution. I find Colombo a very clean and comfortable city, where I don't see chaos in traffic, hotels ban smoking indoor, people follow the traffic rules, very friendly towards each other and to visitors. Initiated and supported by the Sri Lanka Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) led by its Minister Prof. Tissa Vitharana, the first "Consultative Workshop on Promoting Innovation in Nanotechnology and Fostering its Industrial Application: An Asia-Pacific Perspective" was organized by the APCTT-ESCAP, Sri Lanka Ministry of Science and Technology, National Engineering Research and Development Center (NERD Center) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) on Dec 2-3, 2009 in Sri Lanka capital Colombo. The event was inaugurated by Sri Lanka traditional lighting the candles ceremony symbolizing the lighting the darkness of ignorance followed by the opening address given by the Minister Tissa Vitharana who shared his vision of nanotechnology for improving quality of life for Sri Lankans (see photo attached). Continued to next page ... Our Industry Partners Changing Perspectives
  5. 5. SRI LANKA INSTITUTE OF NANOTECHNOLOGY Sustainable nanotechnology 2010 ISSUE 1 | PAGE 5 News Bulletin SLINTEC featured in Nano Globe - Nanotechnology Now - Nanotechnol- APCTT-ESCAP WORKSHOP ogy Columns Continuation from page 4 & DELEGATIONS VISIT TO SLINTEC The event is an invitation only event with about 50 invited participants from UN Asia and Pacific member countries and one representative from each major R&D institution in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka NSF launched its Nanotechnology Initiative in 2007 and set up the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) as a private company with LKR 420 million (about USD3.7M) in 2008 with a unique public-private-partnership (PPP) structure where 50% of institute funding comes from 5 private companies including Hayleys, MAS Holdings, Brandix, Loadstar and Dialog. Within a year, the center has now nicely set up with necessary facilities needed for nanomaterials synthesis, characterization and prototyping. It recruited overseas Sri Lankan scientists and executives with passion, vision and network as well as technical and business capabilities to accelerate the nanotech incubation process in the institute. It also recruited experienced faculty members from local universities to be R&D program managers. It is aggressively seeking for industry collaboration to ensure its R&D efforts stayed focused. It has an impressive advisory board including distin- guished scientists such as Prof. Ravi. P. Silva (UK), Prof. A.P. de Silva (UK), Prof. Gehan Amaratunga (UK) and Prof. Kumar Wichremasinghe (USA). The institute is also very active in seeking international cooperation to ensure its interna- tional competitiveness. It signed recently a research agreement with Ritsumeikan University (Japan), research group of Prof. Susumu Sugiyama, a well-known MEMS expert in Japan. "We are very fortunate to have a team of passionate and talented scientists and management focusing on application development of nanotechnology and we follow our milestones very seriously. We exploit Sri Lanka rich natural resources such as titanium, graphite and other activated carbon towards nanomaterials application. We aim to deliver sustainable nanotechnology for global competitiveness of Sri Lankan industry and the world will see the label `Made in Sri Lanka` in future high-tech products enabled by nanotechnology", CEO Mr. Ravi Fernando shared with us during the conference delegation visit at SLTINTEC(see photo attached). The research areas of the institute include Textile & apparel, Solid tires, Fertilizer, Rubber gloves, Activated carbon, Nano materials, and Biosensors. Details of the institute can be found at its website. I am most impressed by the Sri Lanka nanotechnology policy is its emphasis on private - public partnership (PPP) and incorporating responsible development and regulatory framework. Instilling Cultural Values... 1st Jan, Celebration X’mas Celebration Our Industry Partners Changing Perspectives