News & Highlights


09-10/12/2017 - During this weekend, the NbD Unit was very happy to host OIST's very first Skill Pills+ session! Both undergraduate and postgraduate students from Japanese universities, and OIST's own PhD students attended two days full of nanoparticles. Zaki, Alex, and Panos explained the basic principles of nanoparticle deposition and characterization, nanodevice fabrication, molecular dynamics simulation, and gas sensing; it was an intense two day program, which included both seminars and hands-on sessions where the participants actually performed experiments and got a feeling of how it is to do research at our unit. We were particularly happy to interact with our guests from Japan, and hope to see some of them eventually join OIST's Graduate School, as they all did exceptionally well! (UPDATE: our contribution to the first Skill Pills+ program is now featured as a main story on Tida, in the article: "Skill Pills+ Workshop a Huge Success Thanks to Sowwan Unit"!)

06/12/2017 - Today we held another small farewell party, as it was Jerome Vernieres' last day with our Unit. Jerome has traveled a journey of more than four years with us that took him directly out of his PhD study at CNRS, Toulouse, and transformed him into a mature postdoctoral scholar with outstanding expertise in nanoparticle deposition; as such, a Research Officer position is awaiting him back in Europe. We will be in touch with Jerome in the future, as the best is yet to come in our collaboration. Good luck, Jerome, and au revoir! 

29/11/2017 - Today, Mukhles Sowwan gave an oral presentation on "Gas phase design and synthesis of mono-metallic, bi-metallic and tri-metallic nanoparticles" at the MRS Fall Meeting 2017, emphasizing the possibility to control the size, chemical composition, and shape of nanoparticles by tuning several parameters that affect plasma confinement. Looking forward to the MRS Spring Meeting 2018, and the "Nanomaterials and Devices by Cluster Beam Deposition" symposium.

09/11/2017 - Apart from being the last day of our mini symposium, today was also an important day for our unit for a completely different reason, as it was Vidyadhar Singh's last day with us. Our symposium guests had the chance to join us in a small farewell party we held during the symposium social event, and sense the gratitude NbD will always feel for Vidya's contribution to our research. Vidya has been an integral part of the unit since its conception, helped set up the unit and its equipment, and has proven to be the powerhouse of NbD for six years. We feel happy and proud to know that a great future awaits him in his native India, as both family and a faculty position await him there. We wish him all the best, and we are sure that he will be in touch, both as a collaborator and as a friend!

09/11/2017 - Our recent article "Tuning the onset of ferromagnetism in heterogeneous bimetallic nanoparticles by gas phase doping" just went online in the Physical Review Materials website. It is a continuation of our previous studies on this bimetallic system, where we show how we can tune the Curie temperature for various technological applications using a simple, single-parameter method, i.e. by suitably choosing the initial composition of our nanoalloys. Congratulations, Murtaza and everyone!

7-9/11/2017 - This week, we held our mini symposium, "Nanoclusters in Action", and had a chance to discuss both about our recent research but also about that of prominent scientists in the field of cluster beam deposition. It has been an exciting three days of fruitful discussions in a very friendly environment, and we are looking forward to seeing most of our guests in the forthcoming MRS Spring Meeting, where we are organizing the symposium "Nanomaterials and Devices by Cluster Beam Deposition". More details about "Nanoclusters in Action" can be found here (UPDATE: photo gallery added).

19/10/2017 - Disseminating our research to the public, acting as OIST's ambassadors at the same time, has always been a priority for the NbD Unit. "Φαινόμενον" (i.e. "Phenomenon") is the  journal of the Physics Department of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. As a result of our ongoing collaboration with this department, NbD Unit's Panos Grammatikopoulos, an alumnus of AUTh Physics himself, wrote an article for this month's issue entitled: "Τα νανοσωματίδια και οι ιδιότητές τους" (i.e. "Nanoparticles and their properties"), where he explains the basics of nanoparticle science and summarizes research performed by our Unit.

17/10/2017 - Our recent article "Nanoscale heterogeneity of multilayered Si anodes with embedded nanoparticle scaffolds for Li-ion batteries" was just included in the latest issue of Advanced Science, proposing a versatile synthesis approach for Li-ion battery anodes composed by intercalated layers of amorphous-Si thin films and Ta nanoparticles. More importantly, our article was awarded an inside front cover feature! Congratulations, Marta and everyone!

13/10/2017 - The internal seminar series is an institution at OIST where researchers, typically post-docs but also faculty and students, gain professional experience presenting their research to a general scientific audience. It also provides an opportunity for members of the OIST community to learn about their colleagues' work. Today, NbD Unit's Jerome Vernieres presented his findings on "Gas-phase synthesis of Fe-based nanoparticles" before a full house.

06/10/2017 - In exactly one month from today, the NbD unit will be happy to host the "Nanoclusters in Action" mini symposium, which will bring together a group of distinguished leaders in the field of cluster beam deposition, as well as any member of the OIST family who wants to participate and learn about the latest developments in applications of nanoclusters, or the scaling up of cluster production in order to meet industrial needs. As of today, the dedicated website for the symposium is online; please, feel free to check it out and find out about our invited speakers, their talks, and other useful information. We are looking forward to seeing many of you in November!

29/09/2017 - OIST is introducing a new educational scheme, the Skill Pills+, which provides a unique opportunity for students in Japan to learn about research conducted at OIST directly from active researchers. Today, the Graduate School announced the inaugural Skill Pills+ nanocourse, which will be, very appropriately, conducted by the NbD Unit, this coming December. In it, we will introduce to the participants concepts related to designing and modeling of nanoparticles. Further details, as well as the online application form, can be found on the dedicated website. We are looking forward to welcoming you to our lab and, hopefully, inspiring you for your future studies! 

27/09/2017 - It is becoming a tradition that participants of the annual Coherent Quantum Dynamics Summer School visit our lab during their tour around OIST. Today was that day for 2017, and we were happy to communicate with them, show them around our lab, and give them a brief introduction to our research.

22/09/2017 - Oftentimes in this blog we mention that the NbD Unit wishes to keep contact and close collaboration with previous unit members. Today, our paper "Hydrogen flux through size selected Pd nanoparticles into underlying Mg nanofilms" appeared online in Advanced Energy Materials "Early View" section, culminating a project led by our alumnus Sushant Kumar while he was still a NbD Unit  postdoctoral scholar. Our new study demonstrates how our previously proposed Pd nanoportal configuration enables hydrogen diffusion into underlying Mg films, and facilitates the determination of the apparent diffusion coefficient with a view to hydrogen storage applications. Congratulations, Sushant and everyone!

06/09/2017 - International science and business media outlets such as Science Newsline, World Industrial Reporter, Nanowerk,, Science Daily, newelectronics, Materialsgate, AZO Nano, and Innovations Report have reported the news article "Supercharging Silicon Batteries", based on our recent publication "Nanoscale heterogeneity of multilayered Si anodes with embedded nanoparticle scaffolds for Li-ion batteries" in Advanced Science.

01/09/2017 - Congratulations to both our former student interns, Sachie Yukawa and Theodore Bouloumis, who got admitted to OIST's graduate school in the academic year 2017-18! They had both promised to return to Okinawa, and we are happy to see that they kept their promise. We wish them productive, enjoyable, and fulfilling Ph.D. studies. Ganbatte kudasai!

23/08/2017 - "Nanostructured semiconductors: amorphisation and thermal properties", a new book by Pan Stanford Publishing was released today, edited by Konstantinos Termentzidis, containing an invited chapter, "Nanoparticle formation via magnetron sputtering with inert gas aggregation" by NbD Unit's Panos Grammatikopoulos and Mukhles Sowwan. The book is devoted to nanostructured materials containing both amorphous and crystalline phases, with a particular focus on their thermal properties. In its second part (that contains the invited chapter 16) engineering advances in the nanofabrication of crystalline/amorphous heterostructures are demonstrated, and adequate experimental measurement methods are analyzed.

09/08/2017 - Our recently accepted article, "Nanoscale heterogeneity of multilayered Si anodes with embedded nanoparticle scaffolds for Li-ion batteries" just appeared online in the "Early View" section of Advanced Science. In it, we are proposing a multilayered configuration prototype consisting of amorphous Si layers interspersed with Ta nanoparticle scaffolds which determine the structure and resultant mechanical properties of the Si films. Congratulations to Marta and everyone; more to come, soon!

09-14/07/2017 - Mukhles Sowwan, the director of the NbD Unit, participated in the "Clusters & Nanostructures" Gordon Research Conference that took place in Mount Holyoke College, MA, USA, as an invited speaker, presenting recent advances on gas sensors based on nanocluster-nanowire based devices. Panos Grammatikopoulos also attended and gave an oral presentation on using nanoparticle coalescence as a tool to design specific nanostructures. The Gordon Research Conferences provide an international forum for the presentation and discussion of frontier research: the 2017 conference on Clusters & Nanostructures focused on the interplay of fundamental knowledge, new experimental methods, and technological integration, with a view to novel applications.

29/06/2017 - Today we held a small farewell party for Soumen Giri, who is leaving the Unit at the end of this month to return to his home country, India. Soumen had a warm smile for everyone at the party, to reciprocate the warm wishes he received for his future endeavors. Good luck, Soumen, stay in touch, and come visit us any day!

28/06/2017 - Our latest article, "Thermal oxidation of size-selected Pd nanoparticles supported on CuO nanowires: the role of the CuO-Pd interface" has just appeared online in the "Just Accepted Manuscripts" section of ACS Chemistry of Materials. Our study combines in situ TEM characterization, ex situ experiments, and DFT calculations to elucidate the oxidation mechanism of the Pd nanoparticles and illustrate the crucial effect of the CuO-Pd interface. Congratulations, Stephan and everyone!

22/06/2017 - The NbD Unit would like to give a very warm welcome to Saori Chappell, the Unit's new Research Administrator. Saori san has undertaken her duties in a very busy period for the Unit, but she is already coping admirably. Welcome, Saori, we are all looking forward to supporting you in supporting the Unit!

21/06/2017 - Today is a very special day for the Unit, as it was Yumi san's last day with us... Yumi has taken care of the Unit for the last four years, making sure that in every job that must be done there is an element of fun! Her contribution to the Unit as a whole, and her support to each one of its members' well-being has been invaluable. We are sorry to see her go, but very proud of her decision to move on. We will miss her, and we hope that she'll take every opportunity to come and visit us again.

08/06/2017 - Our recent communication "In situ chemoresistive sensing in the environmental TEM: probing functional devices and their nanoscale morphology" now features in the latest issue of Nanoscale. Moreover, our research on nanoparticle decorated single SnO2 nanowire devices is further highlighted, as it was awarded coverage on the inside back cover of the issue. Congratulations, Stephan and everyone!

01/05/2017 - New beginnings: the NbD Unit would like to introduce our three new members, Lin Weng, Eric Danielson, and Nan Jian, who arrived at OIST just before the Golden Week holiday. Welcome, all, and good luck! We are looking forward to working with you!

30/04/2017 - End of an era: the end of April brought big changes to the NbD Unit, as it coincided with the departures of Stephan Steinhauer and Kengo Aranishi. Stephan and Kengo have both left their mark to the Unit and their presence will be missed; however, their working projects are still under way and we will keep frequent communication and close collaboration. Good luck to both of them in their new scientific adventures, and, as always, it is "auf wiedersehen", not "tschüß"! 

21/04/2017 - Today was the last day of Theodore Bouloumis' three-month internship with our unit, so we held a small farewell lunch party. Theo studied the growth mechanism and the mechanical properties of Si thin films on various substrates using Atomic Force Microscopy. He is going back to Greece for a few months, but has promised to return to Okinawa soon, so, "καλό ταξίδι, Θοδωρή, τα ξαναλέμε σύντομα!".

23/03/2017 - Our recent communication "In situ chemoresistive sensing in the environmental TEM: probing functional devices and their nanoscale morphology" just went online in Nanoscale: Accepted Manuscripts section, reporting in situ chemoresistive sensing in the environmental TEM with a single SnO2 nanowire device, and studying the impact of surface functionalization with heterogeneous nanocatalysts.

21/03/2017 - Mukhles Sowwan, the director of the NbD Unit, presented a "Smart gas sensing platform for biomedical applications" as the keynote speaker in the "Nanotechnology for detection, diagnosis, imaging & sensing" symposium of the 8th International Congress of Nanotechnology in Medicine & Biology, held between the 20th-22nd March, in Krems, Austria. The congress was organised by Techkonnex, Danube University Krems, and the Medical University of Graz, and provides a forum to discuss current, emerging and future trends of the converging fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and medicine.

16/03/2017 - Our recent article "Gas phase synthesis of multifunctional Fe-based nanocubes" just got included in the current issue of Advanced Functional Materials. The article was awarded a frontispiece feature, "in recognition of excellent results".

15/03/2017 - The news article "Shaping the future" based on our publication "Gas phase synthesis of multifunctional Fe-based nanocubes" in Advanced Functional Materials has been covered in various scientific media outlets such as Nano Magazine,, Innovations Report, Nanowerk, Terra Daily, AZO Nano, etc.

05/03/2017 - New book on "Gas-phase synthesis of nanoparticles", published by Wiley-VCH and edited by Yves Huttel of the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid, was released, containing invited book chapter on "Coating", written by NbD Unit's Panos Grammatikopoulos and Mukhles Sowwan.The book presents an overview of the gas-phase synthesis method, covers the historical aspects and principles behind it, as well as the modifications resulting in differenct specialised techniques and the post-growth treatment that can be applied to nanoparticles.

28/02/2017 - New letter "Probing electron beam effects with chemoresistive nanosensors during in situ environmental transmission electron microscopy" was just published in Applied Physics Letters, proposing a new method that enables the a priori identification and quality measurement of undesirable beam effects, and paving the way for future developments related to their mitigation.

22/02/2017 - NbD Unit's Stephan Steinhauer participated in the Frontiers in Theoretical and Applied Physics conference, held at the American University of Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates, with an invited lecture on "Gas phase design and synthesis of nanoparticles for nanotechnology and biomedical applications". The conference was endorsed by the American Physical Society, the Materials Research Society, the Institute of Physics and the International Astronomical Union-Office of Astronomy for Development.

21/02/2017 - Our recent paper "Gas phase synthesis of multifunctional Fe-based nanocubes" features in the Micro-/Nanotechnology Section of Advanced Science News, with an article entitled "There is no step two: simultaneous synthesis and application of nanoparticles". The article emphasises the possibility to synthesise nanocubes and fabricate gas sensor devices in an easy, one-step process, but also focuses on more general research activities of our Unit.

26/01/2017 - Our new article "Gas phase synthesis of multifunctional Fe-based nanocubes" just went online in Advanced Functional Materials: "Early View" section.

24/01/2017 - Celebrities! The NbD Unit made its nationwide prime time TV debut in popular NHK program "Sarameshi" ("Workers' lunch")...

19/01/2017 - Last week, the 4th International Conference on Small & Medium Business was held in Zanpa, Okinawa, organised by the Convergence Society for SMB and the Korea Convergence Society. NbD Unit's Vidyadhar Singh attended and gave a lecture as an invited speaker, titled "Hybrid semiconductor-metal nanoparticles design by gas-phase synthesis".

04/01/2017 - The NbD Unit welcomes the New Year bidding farewell to Jean-Gabriel Mattei, who is returning to his home country, France, to continue his research career at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Ingénieurs de Caen. Good luck, Jean-Ga! Au revoir!