For technology synthesizing Boron Nitride Nanotubes
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has won seven 2015 R&D 100 awards. This year’s winners include a high-capacity anode for rechargeable batteries, a technique to synthesize the lightest, strongest material ever made, and a new way to analyze and visualize mass spectrometry data.
The technologies may lead to advances in healthcare, transportation, and energy production, to name a few possible applications.
Presented by R&D Magazine, the R&D 100 Awards recognize the year’s top 100 technology products from industry, academia, and government-sponsored research, ranging from chemistry to materials to biomedical breakthroughs. The seven awards this year brings the total of Berkeley Lab’s R&D 100 wins to 80, plus two Editors’ Choice Awards.
The Zettl Research Group, headed by Professor Alex Zettl is among the awardees, for developing Extended Pressure Inductive Coupled Plasma-synthesized Boron Nitride Nanotubes (EPIC BNNTs). Pictured here (L to R) are those responsible for the R&D 100 award "EPIC" research are Dr. Willi Mickelson, graduate student Aidin Fathalizadeh, graduate student Thang Pham, and Alex Zettl (PI).
The EPIC plasma system
Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNT), first synthesized in 1995 by the Zettl group, are the world’s lightest, strongest insulating fibers. Unfortunately, a constraint that has severely limited the scientific study and industrial application of BNNTs is the lack of availability of the synthesized materials.
Researchers in the Zettl group have developed and demonstrated a high-throughput, scalable BN nanostructure synthesis process using a novel extended pressure inductively coupled (EPIC) plasma system. The incredibly versatile EPIC plasma system has thus far has achieved a record output of over 35 grams per hour for pure, small diameter, highly crystalline BNNTs.