FY2016 Annual Report

Nanoparticles by Design Unit
Associate Professor Mukhles Sowwan


FY2016 commenced with the "Nanocluster synthesis, characterization, and applications" workshop organized by the NbD Unit at OIST. The participation of pioneers and leading figures from all over the world in the field of cluster beam deposition verified the success of the workshop. Our strategic goal to define and boost the research field of nanocluster beam deposition, and the NbD Unit's prominent role in it were further promoted by the unanimous decision that Mukhles Sowwan should propose and co-ordinate a symposium on nanoparticles in the forthcoming MRS Spring meeting (April 2018). Moreover, an invited book chapter on Wiley's "Gas phase synthesis of nanoparticles" solidified the unit's position among the key players in the field.

Further, we continued our research along directions set during previous years. Our Advanced Functional Materials, APL, and Nanoscale articles on nanocubes, gas sensing, and nanoparticle coalescence, respectively, complemented and advanced research published previously. Simultaneously, we emphasized the commercialization aspect of our work by filing three more patent applications.

1. Staff

  •  Dr. Panagiotis Grammatikopoulos, Staff Scientist (Unit Leader)
  •  Dr. Marta Haro Remon, Staff Scientist (from 1/8/2016)
  •  Dr. Vidya Dhar Singh, Postdoctoral Scholar
  •  Dr. Jerome Vernieres, Postdoctoral Scholar
  •  Dr. Kengo Aranishi, Postdoctoral Scholar
  •  Dr. Stephan Steinhauer, Postdoctoral Scholar
  •  Dr. Soumen Giri, Postdoctoral Scholar
  •  Dr. Alexander James Porkovich, Postdoctoral Scholar (from 1/8/2016)
  •  Dr. Zakaria Ziadi, Research Technician (from 1/5/2016)
  •  Ms. Sachie Yukawa, Student Intern (until 4/4/2016)
  •  Mr. Theodore Bouloumis, Student Intern (from 25/1/2017)
  •  Mr. Joel Perez Urquizo, Rotation Student
  •  Ms. Yumi Takahashi, Research Administrator

2. Collaborations

2.1 Theoretical Modeling of Nanocluster Growth, Coalescence and Structure

  • Type of collaboration: Joint research
  • Researchers:
    • ​Prof. Kai Nordlund, University of Helsinki, Finland
    • Dr. Flyura Djurabekova, University of Helsinki, Finland
    • Prof. Joseph Kioseoglou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

2.2 Nanoparticle Deposition for Hydrogen Storage Applications

  • Type of collaboration: Joint research
  • Researchers:
    • Prof. Bruce M. Clemens, Stanford University, USA
    • Prof. Chris Pursell, Trinity University, USA

2.3 Magnetic Nanoparticle Investigations

  • Type of collaboration: Joint research
  • Researchers:
    • Prof. Jean-François Bobo, CNRS, France

2.4 Gas Sensing Devices and Experiments

  • Type of collaboration: Joint research
  • Researchers:
    • Dr. Anton Köck, Materials Center Leoben Forschung GmbH, Austria
    • Prof. Philippe Menini, LAAS-CNRS, France
    • Dr. Audrey Chapelle, LAAS-CNRS, France

3. Activities and Findings

3.1 New 'Ukidama' Nanoparticle Structure Revealed


The researchers discovered a new nanoparticle structure that resemble the ukidama, glass fishing floats, used regularly by Japanese fishermen. The nanoparticle has a core of one element (copper) and is surrounded by a “cage” of another element (silver). The silver does not cover certain areas of the copper core, which is very similar to the rope that surrounds the glass float.

3.2 Shaping the Future


This schematic depicts the production of iron nanocubes using magnetron-sputtering inert-gas condensation and the use of these cubes in NO2 sensors. 

4. Publications

4.1 Journals

  1. Grammatikopoulos, P., Kioseoglou, J., Galea, A., Vermieres, J., Benelmekki, M., Diaz, R., Sowwan, M., Kinetic trapping through coalescence and the formation of patterned Ag–Cu nanoparticles, Nanoscale 8 (2016) 9780-9790, doi:10.1039/C5NR08256K.
  2. Steinhauer, S., Wang, Z., Zhou, Z., Krainer, J., Köck, A., Nordlund, K., Djurabekova, F., Grammatikopoulos, P., Sowwan, M., Probing electron beam effects with chemoresistive nanosensors during in situ environmental transmission electron microscopys, Applied Physics Letters 110 (2017) 094103 (4pp), doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4977711
  3. Vernieres, J., Steinhauer, S., Zhao, J., Chapelle, A., Menini, P., Dufour, N., Diaz, R E., Nordlund, K., Djurabekova, F., Grammatikopoulos, P., Sowwan, M., Gas Phase Synthesis of Multifunctional Fe-Based Nanocubes, Advanced Functional Materials 27 (2017) 1605328 (12pp), doi:10.1002/adfm.201605328 (frontispiece).
  4. Steinhauer, S., Vernieres, J., Krainer, J., Köck, A., Grammatikopoulos, P., Sowwan, M. In situ chemoresistive sensing in the environmental TEM probing functional devices and their nanoscale morphology Nanoscale, doi:10.1039/C6NR09322A (2017.03)

4.2 Books and other one-time publications

  1. Grammatikopoulos, P., Sowwan, M., Invited Book Chapter, Chapter 14 of "Gas-phase synthesis of nanoparticles", edited by Yves Huttel. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9783527698417 (Published Online: 3 MAR 2017).

4.3 Oral Presentations

  1. Grammatikopoulos, P., A comprehensive theoretical study of metallic nanoparticle coalescence, NSCA Workshop, OIST, Okinawa, Japan, 2016.05.17.
  2. Sowwan, M., Gas phase design and synthesis of nanoparticles for nanotechnology and bio-medical applications, NSCA Workshop, OIST, Okinawa, Japan, 2016.05.16.
  3. Steinhauer, S., Singh, V., Vernieres, J., Grammatikopoulos, P., Sowwan, M., Nanoparticle design for advanced gas sensing applications, 2nd International Conference Functional Integrated Nano Systems, Graz, Austria, 2016.06.29
  4. Singh, V., Hybrid semiconductor-metal nanoparticles design by gas-phase synthesis, 4th International Conference on Small & Medium Business, Zampa, Okinawa, Japan, 2017.01.19
  5. Sowwan, M., Smart gas sensing platform for biomedial applications, 8th International Congress of Nanotechnology in Medicine & Biology, Krems, Austria, 2017.03.21
  6. Steinhauer, S., Gas phase design and synthesis of nanoparticles for nanotechnology and biomedical applications, Frontiers in Theoretical and Applied Physics/ UAE 2017, 2017.02.22

4.4 Poster Presentations

  1. Aranishi, K., Singh, V., Sowwan, M., Ni-Pt nanoparticles deposited on CuO nanowires & catalyzed hydrolysis reaction of ammonia borane, NSCA Workshop, OIST, Okinawa, Japan, 2016.05.17.
  2. Mattei, J G., Singh, V., Steinhauer, S., Zhao, J., Grammatikopoulos, P., Sowwan, M., TEM investigations of trimetallic nanoparticles, NSCA Workshop, OIST, Okinawa, Japan, 2016.05.17.
  3. Singh, V., Sowwan, M., Heterogeneous gas-phase synthesis of metal oxide-encapsulated noble metal nanocatalysts, NSCA Workshop, OIST, Okinawa, Japan, 2016.05.17.
  4. Steinhauer, S., Vernieres, J., Sowwan, M., In situ transmission electron microscopy of Fe nanocubes, NSCA Workshop, OIST, Okinawa, Japan, 2016.05.17.
  5. Vernieres, J., Steinhauer, S., Grammatikopoulos, P., Sowwan, M., Iron nanocube yield maximisation via size selection sans post-growth mass filtration, NSCA Workshop, OIST, Okinawa, Japan, 2016.05.17.
  6. Grammatikopoulos, P., Silicon nanoparticles grown by magnetron sputtering: crystallisation through hybridisation, 8th International Conference on Multiscale Materials Modeling, Dijon, France, 2016.10.10

5. Intellectual Property Rights and Other Specific Achievements

Filing date: 2017-01-05; Application No.: WO2016JP03093 20160628  Inventors: Sowwan, M, ; Cassidy, C, ; Singh, V
Content: A novel catalyst includes a plurality of nanoparticles, each nanoparticle including a core made of a catalytic metal and a porous shell surrounding the core, made of metal oxide, the porous shell preserving a catalytic function of the core and reducing reduction of the core and coalescence of the nanoparticles.

Filing date: 2017-03-02; Application No.: WO2016JP03786 20160818Inventors: Steinhauer, S, ; Singh, V, ; Sowwan, M
Content: A method for manufacturing nanoparticle decorated nanowires by a vacuum deposition system having a deposition chamber and an aggregation chamber connected thereto includes: mounting a metal member in the deposition chamber; performing thermal oxidization of the metal member in the deposition chamber in an oxygen atmosphere so as to grow metal oxide nanowires on a surface of the metal member; without breaking vacuum in the vacuum deposition system, generating a vapor of a catalytic metal particles clusters in the aggregation chamber that is connected to the deposition chamber; and without breaking vacuum in the vacuum deposition system, transporting the generated catalytic metal particles clusters to the deposition chamber so as to decorate the metal oxide nanowires with catalytic metal nanoparticles made of the catalytic metal particles.

Filing date: 2017-03-09; Application No.: US201515120399 20150220; Inventors: Kim JH, ; Bohra, M, ; Singh, V, ; Galea, A, ; Grammatikopoulos, P, ; Sowwan, M
Content: A two-dimensional nano-sheet that is foldable in response to a surrounding pH value includes a polyethyleneimine (PEI) chain taking a two-dimensional form; and a plurality of domains made of gold, attached to the PEI chain, the plurality of domains of gold forming a percolating gold film on the PEI chain.

6. Meetings and Events

6.1 Seminar

Title: Percolating Cluster Devices: Possible Neuromorphic Applications

  • Date: November 8, 2016
  • Venue: OIST Campus Lab1
  • Speaker: Prof. Simon Brown (University of Canterbury)

6.2 Nanocluster Synthesis, Characterization & Applications Workshop

  • Date: May 16-19, 2016
  • Venue: OIST Campus Conference Center Room#1
  • Organizers: OIST's Nanoparticles by Design Unit
  • Speakers:
    • Prof. Hellmut Haberland (University of Freiburg)
    • Prof. Rainer Hippler (University of Greifswald)
    • Prof. Richard E. Palmer (University of Birmingham)
    • Prof. Satyaranjan Bhattacharyya (Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics)
    • Prof. Hiromitsu Takaba (Kogakuin University)
    • Prof. Riccardo Ferrando (University of Genoa)
    • Dr. Yves Huttel (Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid)
    • Prof. Joseph Kioseoglou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)
    • Prof. Junichi Murakami (Saitama University)
    • Dr. Panagiotis Grammatikopoulos (OIST Graduate University)
    • Prof. Bruce Clemens (Stanford University)
    • Prof. Boris M. Smirnov (Joint Institute for High Temperatures)
    • Dr. Flyura Djurabekova (University of Helsinki)
    • Dr. Anna Garden (University of Otago)
    • Prof. Tessui Nakagawa (University of the Ryukyus)
    • Prof. Hannes Jonsson (University of Iceland)
    • Mr. Gert ten Brink (University of Groningen)
    • Prof. Kai Nordlund (University of Helsinki)
    • Prof. Mukhles Sowwan (OIST Graduate University)

7. Other

Two NbD Unit members, Stephan Steinhauer and Panagiotis Grammatikopoulos organized and gave individual seminars (on LabVIEW, 19/7/2016, and Materials Modeling and Simulation, 10/09/2016, respectively) within the Skill Pills framework, hosted by OIST Graduate School.