Argonne National Laboratory Center for Nanoscale Materials U.S. Department of Energy

Amanda Petford-LongFall has arrived and as I look out of my office window at CNM, the trees are changing color and the air is noticeably cooler. Our users and staff have had a busy summer, and it has been a pleasure to welcome so many visitors to the CNM. I am particularly happy that we are continuing our association with the Illinois Math and Science Academy as two of their high school students are working as users in the Nanofabrication & Devices Group.

During the week after the Labor Day holiday, we held our third planned maintenance period to complete a number of essential activities. The most critical of these was installation of an emergency backup transformer for the building. This required shutdown of all power for a short period, and all systems were restored successfully. In addition, an upgrade to the gas monitoring software for the clean room was installed. Our next maintenance period will occur during the first week in January 2013, so please plan your visits to CNM accordingly.

On the staffing front, we welcome Debi O'Rourke as Assistant Division Director, to replace Tom Burt who now oversees finances for the APS upgrade project. I am very grateful to Tom for all the hard work that he did to keep CNM finances running so smoothly.

On September 15, CNM participated in Argonne's Energy Showcase open house event. This was a wonderful opportunity for the CNM to share its research with over 12,000 members of the local community. The CNM tent housed five exhibits covering many areas of energy science including solar energy, nanoelectronics with diamond-coated devices, the Hard X-Ray Nanoprobe for examining materials at the nanoscale, computer modeling of materials for energy storage and nanocatalysis, and nanobio materials for energy applications. More information about the event, including photos, can be found here.

I wish you all a successful Fall, and look forward to welcoming you to the CNM.

Amanda Petford-Long
CNM Division Director

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Call for Proposals Deadline: October 26, 2012

The system is now open for submissions. We look forward to the possibility of hosting your exciting and innovative nanoscience and nanotechnology projects. (More >>)

Call for Mini-Surveys and Publications

The CNM is busily collecting responses to a mini-survey of user experiences as well as 2011 and 2012 CNM-related publications. Guidance for these items was distributed to the user community in an e-mail on September 13. If you did not receive the guidance, please e-mail the CNM User Office.

CNM Users Meeting, May 6-9, 2013
Save the Date!

The third annual combined APS/CNM/EMC Users Meeting will be held May 6-9, 2013 at Argonne National Laboratory. More than 500 people register for these cross-cutting meetings, which include 40-50 vendor exhibits, workshops, poster sessions, and short courses. Planning is already under way to develop thematic and facility-specific workshops at the next meeting, which will highlight, promote, and stimulate user science from these three user facilities. Your suggestions for workshop topics are welcome; please send them to the CNM User Office.

CNM Closed to Users December 24, 2012-January 6, 2013

Argonne National Laboratory, including the Center for Nanoscale Materials, will close for the holidays on December 24, 2012, and will reopen on January 2, 2013. Neither the CNM building nor CNM staff (including administrative support) will be available to users during the holiday shutdown. In addition, a CNM Preventive Maintenance Period is in effect for January 2-6, 2013, inclusive of the weekend. During this time, the CNM will not be available for user activities in laboratories or on the High-Performance Computing Cluster; administrative support will be available. Please plan your work visits and schedules accordingly.

To better ensure reliable instrument availability at CNM, defined maintenance periods occur three times per calendar year. These periods are used to perform preventive maintenance on the scientific instruments and their support equipment. The facility's operating infrastructure systems also undergo preventive maintenance that will help avoid unplanned shutdowns. The maintenance periods occur at these times:

  • First week in January following the December holiday break
  • Last week in May before the Memorial Day holiday break
  • First week in September following the Labor Day holiday break

NUFO Meets in Santa Fe; Testifies before House Science Committee

The annual meeting of the National User Facilities Organization (NUFO) was held in Santa Fe on June 18-20. The meeting's themes were strengthening the relationship between academic research and user facilities and leveraging resources to better communicate the importance of scientific work conducted at national user facilities. A new social media outreach working group is exploring ways to work with Laboratory media personnel, while the NUFO Steering Committee is continuing the dialogue with governmental liaisons.

On June 21, 2012, NUFO Chair Tony Lanzirotti spoke before the subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, for a session devoted to Department of Energy user facilities. Other speakers included SLAC Director Persis Drell, Suzy Tichenor from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Steve Wasserman from Eli Lilly, and Ernest Hall from GE Global Research. A press release and webcast of the session are available.

User Notes

Acknowledgment of the use of DOE user facilities in scientific publications and technical presentations is vital for their future sustainability. An acknowledgment statement must be included in all published reports of work conducted at CNM. (Review the guidance.)

We are excited to chronicle the scientific advancements of CNM's users by your user activity reports. Completion of these reports for expired projects is required for consideration of new proposals.

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Nanoscale Imaging of Strain using X-Ray Bragg Projection Ptychography

The theoretical and experimental framework of a new coherent diffraction strain imaging approach was developed in the X-Ray Microscopy Group in collaboration with Argonne's Materials Science Division, together with users from IBM. This new technique, called Bragg projection ptychography, is capable of imaging lattice distortions in thin films nondestructively at spatial resolutions of <20 nm using coherent nanofocused hard X-rays. This work marks a significant step forward in the development of nondestructive coherent X-ray diffraction imaging techniques for the study of nanoscale lattice features in real materials under real conditions. This study, in which structural subtleties were resolved in a device prototype arising from both intrinsic size effects and extrinsic boundary conditions, paves the way for nondestructive studies of structure in materials at nanometer length scales where prediction, measurement, and control of strain is difficult.

S. O. Hruszkewycz et al., "Quantitative nanoscale imaging of lattice distortions in epitaxial semiconductor heterostructures using nanofocused X-ray Bragg projection ptychography," Nano Letters, 12, 5148-5154, DOI: 10.1021/nl303201w (2012).

Ptychographic method

(Top) Focused beam coherent X-ray nano-diffraction patterns collected from SiGe-on-SOI prototype device edge and (bottom) projected strain field reconstructed by ptychographic methods.

Three-Dimensional Coherent X-Ray Surface Scattering Imaging

Lensless X-ray coherent diffraction imaging (CDI) has a theoretical imaging resolution that is limited only by the X-ray wavelength. Most CDI methods use transmission geometry, but this is not suitable for nanostructures that are grown on opaque substrates or for objects that are comprised of only surfaces or interfaces. Attempts have been made to perform CDI experiments in reflection geometry, both optically and with X-rays, but the reconstructions result in planar images with less success in the third dimension. Users from the Advanced Photon Source, working with the Nanofabrication & Devices Group, have developed coherent surface scattering imaging in grazing-incidence geometry that takes advantage of enhanced X-ray surface scattering and interference near total external reflection. Reconstruction of substrate-supported non-periodic surface patterns is accomplished in three dimensions with nanometer resolution in the direction normal to the substrate, promising to elucidate structures in substrate-supported materials, buried nanoelectronics, and nanophotonic materials.

T. Sun et al., "Three-dimensional coherent X-ray surface scattering imaging near total external reflection," Nature Photonics, 6, 588 (2012)

CDI scattering measurement

Scattering pattern from a nanofabricated gold structure; (inset) reconstructed three-dimensional exit surface wave amplitude of 36-nm-thick gold nanostructure (measured 36.9 nm experimentally +/- 2.7 nm).

Graphene Decoupling of Organic/Inorganic Interfaces

By using cryogenic ultrahigh-vacuum scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), the Electronic & Magnetic Materials & Devices Group uncovered exceptionally weak molecule–surface interactions in fullerene C60 deposited onto epitaxially grown graphene on silicon carbide (SiC) substrates. The first layer of C60 molecules self-assembles into well-ordered close-packed islands. In situ STM revealed a highest occupied molecular orbital—lowest unoccupied molecular orbital gap of 3.5 V, which is close to the value of solid- and gas-phase C60. This finding indicates a significantly smaller amount of charge transfer from the C60 to the graphene as compared with C60 adsorbed onto metallic surfaces. Interface effects usually dominate the properties of adsorbed molecules. Here, however, a perfect two-dimensional material (graphene) has completely decoupled the organic system from the charged interface states of the SiC surface reconstruction. Improving molecule-based organic photovoltaics and biosensors relies on minimal substrate–molecule interaction to preserve intrinsic molecular functionalities, which was achieved in this case via an inert graphene "barrier" layer.

J. Cho et al., Nano Lett., 12, 3018 (2012) DOI: 10.1021/nl3008049

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self0assembled monolayer

Three-dimensional-rendered STM image of C60 self-assembled monolayer at domain boundary of graphene and bare SiC(0001); each C60 molecule is 1 nm in diameter.

Views of Nanostructured MnO2 Evolution for Battery Applications

Single-crystal α-MnO2 nanotubes were synthesized by microwave-assisted hydrothermal synthesis of potassium permanganate in hydrochloric acid. The growth mechanism including the morphological and crystalline evolution was studied with time-dependent X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, and controlled synthesis. The users, from Argonne's APS X-Ray Science and Chemical Sciences & Engineering divisions, working with the Nanophotonics Group, also then incorporated the MnO2 nanostructures into air cathodes of lithium-air batteries as electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction and evolution reactions. Characterization reveals that the electrodes are comprised of single-crystalline α-MnO2 nanotubes that exhibit higher stability than those made of α-MnO2 nanowires and δ-MnO2 nanosheet-based microflowers, in both charge and discharge processes.

T. Truong et. al., "Morphological and Crystalline Evolution of Nanostructured MnO2 and Its Application in Lithium-Air Batteries," ACS Nano, 6 9, 8067-8077 (2012) DOI: 10.1021/nn302654p

MnO2 morphologies

Montage displaying various MnO2 morphologies.

Nanometrology System for Ptychographic Hard X-Ray Imaging

A new interferometric displacement system was recently installed at the Hard X-Ray Nanoprobe (HXN) beamline that enables advanced nanoscale imaging capabilities. Hard X-rays are well suited to probing internal strain fields without sectioning or otherwise modifying the object. However, most traditional X-ray diffraction microscopy techniques simply average scattering from internal structure; thus, they result in a depth-integrated average strain measurement that is laterally limited by the spatial resolution of the probe (~50 nm for the HXN). X-ray coherent diffraction imaging (CDI) or "Bragg ptychography," under development by CNM's X-Ray Microscopy Group and Argonne's Materials Science Division, is based on recording X-ray speckle patterns with a coherent beam and using iterative phasing algorithms to obtain a real-space image at a resolution well below the probe size. The internal strain distribution within solid-phase nanomaterials is uniquely related to the nanoscale behavior of such diverse physical phenomena as ferroelectricity, piezoelectricity, electronic/magnetic transport, and multiferroicity. The new interferometry system integrates a high-speed AttoFPSensor 6-axis nanoscale interferometer from Attocube Systems into the nanoprobe instrument. The current capabilities allow scanning probe position measurement at 250-pm lateral resolution with 2- to 5-nm repeatability at sampling rates of 500-kHz bandwidth. This represents a nearly tenfold increase in both position resolution and measurement speed at the HXN. Contact Martin Holt for more information.

nanoscale signal stability

Nanoscale signal stability of a titanium cavity cooled to -269C; 68% of position measurements lie within 286 pm at 100 Hz bandwidth over 12 hr. (Courtesy of Attocube Inc.)

GPU Nodes for Carbon

The performance of the Theory & Modeling Group's computing cluster Carbon recently was enhanced. A rack of 28 nodes, each with one C2075 NVIDIA Tesla Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), was added. The nodes are available to users for basic use while further integration and testing are ongoing. The new nodes increase the cluster's overall compute capacity by about 20-30%. A GPU is a parallel processor originally developed for graphics rendering that has been adapted to perform numeric processing tasks in hundreds of threads concurrently. That is many times more than a conventional CPU can offer, at lower cost and operating power per floating point operation. The challenge is that applications must be adapted to use the new capabilities, and only certain algorithms are suitable. One particularly well-fitting computational method is classical molecular dynamics (MD). A simulation using one GPU can run 25-40 times faster than on a conventional CPU node. Several MD applications have options for efficient GPU support, among them LAMMPS and NAMD. These and other applications available on Carbon, such as nanophotonics packages and some quantum chemistry methods, will be upgraded in the coming weeks. Even users whose applications cannot run on GPUs will benefit from the upgrade because more conventional nodes will be available. For more information, contact Michael Sternberg.

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TiO2 nanotubes

TiO2 nanotubes in lithium-ion battery anodes (blue/red) after transition from amorphous to cubic phase due to exposure to lithium ions (green). S. Sankaranarayanan, M. Chan, and H. Yildirim (Theory & Modeling) are performing these modeling studies on Carbon.

Kathleen Carrado Gregar

Kathleen Carrado Gregar, CNM's User and Outreach Programs Manager, was elected to the 2012 class of Fellows of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The ACS Fellows Program recognizes members for their outstanding achievements in and contributions to the chemical sciences. The ACS citation recognizes Katie's more than 20 years of experience as a productive research chemist in nanocatalysis and nanocomposites and her ACS service as National Councilor and Chair of the Energy & Fuels Division, as well as her effective management of user and outreach programs at a Department of Energy Nanoscale Science Research Center. (More>>)

Debi O'Rourke

Debi O'Rourke transferred to CNM from Argonne's Biosciences Division in September as Assistant Division Director. Debi completed her BA in Business Management at Lewis University's College of Business in January 2001 and has been at Argonne since 1977 in a variety of roles. At CNM, Debi will be responsible for the administration of financial operations, procurement, human resources, and preparation and coordination of division budget proposals and reporting documents.

Hayk Harutyunyan

Hayk Harutyunyan joined the Nanophotonics Group in August as a CNM Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow. Hayk obtained his PhD in Applied Physics from the University of Pisa and worked as a postdoc at the University of Rochester with Lukas Novotny on nonlinear optical nano-antennas and also developed a new dark-field microscopy method. At CNM, Hayk will work with Gary Wiederrecht studying nonlinear phenomena for nanoscale optical switches.

Edward Barry

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Edward Barry joined the CNM in July as the recipient of the Joseph Katz Named Postdoctoral Fellowship. Ed was a research assistant at Harvard's Rowland Institute before completing his PhD at Brandeis University in 2010. After a brief postdoctoral appointment at Brandeis, Ed began postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago with Heinrich Jaeger before joining CNM. He will work in the field of nanoparticle self-assembly with Xiao-Min Lin of the Electronic & Magnetic Materials & Devices Group.

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