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Program Highlights for year 2006

Patterning of Large Arrays of Organic Semiconductor Single Crystals

Field-effect transistors made of single organic crystals are ideal for studying the charge transport characteristics of organic semiconductor materials. Their outstanding device performance, relative to that of transistors made of organic thin films, makes them also attractive candidates for electronic applications such as active matrix displays and sensor arrays.

A New Organic-Inorganic Heterojunction: GaN-Pentacene

Organic semiconductor materials have shown promise in recent years for use in low-cost electronics applications such as photovoltaics, chemical sensors, and flat-panel displays.

Light Used as a Magnetic Hammer

Scientists in the University of Nebraska MRSEC are using very short light pulses from a femtosecond laser to perturb magnetic materials and to probe their behavior at times after the perturbation. The light pulses are only about 100 millionth-billionths of a second long.

Active Nanophotonic Materials and Devices

The recent decade has seen an explosion of optical communication. Yet much of the information processing is conducted electronically since there have been few truly tunable optical devices. Ferroelectric materials offer a potential solution. They possess interesting nonlinear properties that can be used to design and fabricate unique active tunable nanophotonic devices.

Microtubules in Capped Channels: The Persistence of Circulation

In eukaryotic cells, kinesin motor proteins transport intracellular cargo along microtubules, 25 nm protein filaments that form the cell cytoskeleton.

Catalytic Pumping: Electrokinesis arrested

In 2004, a Penn State MRSEC team showed that bimetallic platinum/gold nanorods could swim at speeds up to 20 microns per second by catalyzing the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. Nickel stripes added to the motors allowed them to be steered using weak magnetic fields as a "remote control". Microgears formed from platinum and gold rotated in hydrogen peroxide solutions.

Magnetic Frustration by Design: Spins Can't Always Get What They Want

Frustration is not only a state of mind, but also a state of matter wherein the interactions among different subunits cannot all be satisfied.

Molecular Rulers: A Marriage of Molecules and Metal

Molecules come in well-defined lengths: Penn State MRSEC researchers have invented a technique called "Molecular Rulers," in which molecular layers of precisely defined widths coat preexisting structures and form templates for patterning new structures with ever-smaller dimensions.