A NIMS research team developed a new mass analysis technique that operates under a completely different principle from that of conventional mass analysis techniques.
- An ICYS-MANA researcher, Kota Shiba, International Center for Young Scientists (ICYS), National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), and Genki Yoshikawa, a Group Leader of the Nanomechanical Sensors Group, International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA), NIMS, developed a new mass analysis technique that operates under a completely different principle from that of conventional techniques. The new technique can be performed even with a hand-held paper strip, applying gas flow to the strip at a constant flow rate, causing the strip to deform, and calculating the molecular weight of the applied gas based on the principle that the amount of deformation (deflection) varies according to molecular weight of the applied gas. The technique enables users to measure molecular weights of gaseous samples in the air in real time. The principle behind the technique appears to be very simple, but no one had reported it before. This discovery can be a breakthrough for the development of much smaller and inexpensive mass analysis devices than conventional ones.
- Mass analysis is a technique for analyzing molecular weights of samples, and this scientific method drew much public attention when Dr. Koichi Tanaka won a Nobel Prize in 2002. Conventionally, the molecular weight of a sample is measured by first ionizing the molecules through, for example, irradiation of electrons in a vacuum. Then, an electric or magnetic field is applied to these ions and their molecular weights are measured based on the principle that the ions travel in different directions according to their molecular weights. As also demonstrated by Dr. Tanaka’s research, this basic principle still remains valid in essence today since the time when the first mass analyzer was constructed in early 20th century. Although the molecular weights of samples can be accurately measured by conventional mass analyzers, it had been difficult to make these devices smaller due to the requirements of vacuum condition and ionization.
- The research team recently discovered a principle unused in conventional mass analysis, and developed a new kind of mass analysis technique based on the principle, which enables users to easily measure the molecular weights of gases in real time without a vacuum condition or ionization. The new principle indicates that when gaseous molecules flow toward a one-end-fixed elastic object, they cause the object to deflect, and the amount of deflection varies depending on the weight of the molecules. The team in fact experimentally confirmed that when gases were flowed toward a silicon micro-cantilever and a paper business card, the amount of deflection produced in these objects varied depending on the molecular weights of the applied gases. Figure illustrates that the molecular weights of gaseous samples were determined simply by flowing the gases toward the micro-cantilever and measuring its deflection. The team also successfully developed an analytical model of the relationship between the amount of deflection and the molecular weight of gases through the combination of basic principles in fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and structural mechanics. In this manner, the team theoretically proved the validity of the proposed principle. Subsequently, the invented technique was named as “aero-thermo-dynamic mass analysis (AMA).”
- Based on these results, the research team intends to develop mobile mass analysis devices and apply them to various fields including health management, environmental monitoring, and disaster prevention. The team will also promote the use of AMA in the industrial sector through the integration with other techniques, such as gas chromatography, for process management etc.
Prints Made on Flexible Substrates. Technique May Be Applicable to the Development of Wearable Devices
A research team consisting of a NIMS MANA group and Colloidal Ink developed a printing technique for forming electronic circuits and thin-film transistors (TFTs) with line width and line spacing both being 1 μm. This study was supported by a Grant for Advanced Industrial Technology Development from NEDO.
(Spontaneous Patterning of High-Resolution Electronics via Parallel Vacuum Ultraviolet; Xuying Liu, Masayuki Kanehara, Chuan Liu, Kenji Sakamoto, Takeshi Yasuda, Jun Takeya, Takeo Minari; Advanced Material, DOI: 10.1002/adma.201506151
- A research team consisting of MANA Independent Scientist Takeo Minari, International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA), NIMS, and Colloidal Ink developed a printing technique for forming electronic circuits and thin-film transistors (TFTs) with line width and line spacing both being 1 μm. This study was supported by a Grant for Advanced Industrial Technology Development, provided by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). Using this technique, the research team formed fully-printed organic TFTs with a channel length of 1 μm on flexible substrates, and confirmed that the TFTs operate at a practical level.
- Printed electronics—printing techniques to fabricate electronic devices using functional materials dissolved in ink—is drawing much attention in recent years as a promising new method to create large-area semiconductor devices at low cost. Because these techniques enable the formation of electronic devices even on flexible substrates, they are expected to be applicable to new fields such as wearable devices. In comparison, conventional printing technologies allow the formation of circuits and devices with line widths only as narrow as several dozen micrometers. Accordingly, they are not applicable to the creation of minute devices suitable for practical use. Thus, there were high expectations for developing new printing techniques capable of consistently fabricating circuits with line widths of several micrometers or less.
- In this study, the research team developed a printing technique capable of forming metal circuits with line width being 1 μm on flexible substrates. Using this technique, they fabricated minute organic TFTs. The principle of this printing technique is as follows: First, form hydrophilic and hydrophobic micro-patterns on the substrate by irradiating it with parallel vacuum ultraviolet (PVUV) at a wavelength of 200 nm or less. Then, coat only the hydrophilic patterns with metal nanoparticle inks. The use of a PVUV light source (Ushio Inc.) enabled us to focus emitted light on much smaller targets than conventional light sources. Moreover, the use of DryCure-Au—metal nanoparticle ink that can form a conductive film at room temperature developed by Colloidal Ink—enabled us to form devices and circuits at room temperature during the entire process. As a result, we are able to fully prevent distortion of flexible substrates by heat, and form and laminate circuits within the accuracy of several microns. In addition, we precisely tuned the gate overlap lengths of the printed organic TFTs fabricated by this technique, which was previously impossible due to accuracy issues. As a result, a practical mobility level of 0.3 cm2 V-1 s-1 was accomplished for the organic TFTs with the channel length of 1 μm.
- In future studies, we will aim to apply the technique in various fields such as large-area flexible displays and sensors. Since the process we developed is applicable to bio-related materials, the technique may also be useful in medical and bioelectronics fields.
- This study was published in the online version of Advanced Materials on May 17, 2016.
NIMS developed new display sheets that can be cut into any shape with scissors.
A research group led by Masayoshi Higuchi, the leader of the Electronic Functional Macromolecules Group, Research Center for Functional Materials, NIMS, developed new display sheets that can be cut into any shape with scissors. As you can cut this display into any shape you like, and attach it on the surfaces of things that has complex shapes such as clothing and buildings, the display is expected to meet diverse display needs, which cannot be achieved by conventional display technologies.
Common displays (including LCD and OEL) that are capable of showing letters and images are equipped in most of the electronic devices we use in our everyday life. Also, there are increase in demand for displays that can present information in a variety of forms, such as digital signage and wearable devices. However, it is impossible to cut these conventional displays into various shapes because it is necessary to seal the contents of both LCDs and OELs, for example, as the LCDs contain liquid and OELs are susceptible to water, oxygen and other impurities. Moreover, since these displays require continuous power supply to maintain their functions, they must be connected with a power source or a drive. Due to these requirements, it had been difficult to develop cuttable displays using existing technologies.
The research group developed display sheets that can be cut into any shape with scissors, using a polymer with electrochromic properties (organic/metal hybrid polymer). This polymer can be sprayed onto a flexible substrate to form a coating layer stable against moisture and oxygen. In addition, the new display requires only a few seconds of electrical input to switch visual information, and the display will last even after power supply is discontinued. Accordingly, we successfully developed a sheet type display device capable of functioning while being detached from a power source and after being cut into a shape.
Success May Promote Solar Heat Utilization Based on Plasmon Resonance of Ceramic Materials
A research team in Japan discovered through numerical calculations that nanoparticles of transition metal nitrides and carbides absorb sunlight very efficiently, and confirmed experimentally that nitride nanoparticles, when dispersed in water, quickly raise water temperature.
A research team of Satoshi Ishii, MANA scientist, and Tadaaki Nagao, group leader, Nano-System Photonics Group, International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA), National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), discovered through numerical calculations that nanoparticles of transition metal nitrides and carbides absorb sunlight very efficiently, and confirmed experimentally that nitride nanoparticles, when dispersed in water, quickly raise water temperature. These nanoparticles may be applied for heating and distillation of water through efficient sunlight use.
Sunlight is one of the most promising renewable energies. The examples of sunlight use are power generation using solar cells and water heating through photothermal conversion, a process in which absorbed sunlight is converted into heat. Water and air heating accounts for 55% of household energy consumption. If sunlight can be converted into heat very efficiently, it is possible to heat water and air without using electricity, leading to reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Absorption of sunlight using conventional solar heat collector panels and heat collector tubes results in loss of heat through conduction. For this reason, nanoparticles that can directly heat media including water when they are dispersed in the media are attracting attention.
National Institute for Materials Science (物質・材料研究機構 Busshitsu-zairyō kenkyū kikō?) is an Independent Administrative Institution and one of the largest scientific research centers in Japan.
NIMS is dedicated to materials research with strong emphasis on the synthesis, characterization and applications of metals, semiconductors, superconductors, ceramics, and organic materials in their bulk and nanoscaled forms. The applications cover a wide range including electronics, optics, coatings, fuel cells, catalysts, and biotechnologies. As to characterization, techniques associated with electron microscopy, high-energy particle beams and high magnetic fields are particularly developed. Most research is experimental though at least one research center is devoted to theoretical modeling.
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National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) research articles from Innovation Toronto
- High Efficiency Solar Water Heating Achieved with Nanoparticles – June 14, 2016
- High-efficiency, high-reliability perovskite solar cells getting ready for mass production – September 14, 2015
- A repulsive material – December 31, 2014
- World’s first commercial nanostructured bulk metal
- Researchers have developed a coating method which accelerates bonding with bone by 3 times.
- On-Demand Synaptic Electronics: Circuits That Learn and Forget
- Better Medicine Delivery: Targeting drugs with hydrogels