FY2017 Annual Report

Nanoparticles by Design Unit
Associate Professor Mukhles Sowwan


During FY2017 our research output was equally divided into fundamental science (e.g. magnetic properties, particle-support interactions) and application (e.g. Li-ion batteries, hydrogen storage). The quality metrics of our publications improved further, with an average journal impact factor >12, as well as three journal cover features (in Nanoscale, Advanced Science, and Advanced Energy Materials). Participation of unit members in international conferences, including our Nanoclusters in Action symposium, also helped share and disseminate our results.

Ongoing research includes various other projects, namely nanoparticle-based gas sensors and biosensors, growth and characterization of multi-metallic nanoparticles, etc.

Also, a FirstNano EASYTUBE® 2000 Chemical Vapor Deposition system was installed at the end of FY2016, and, during FY2017, became available to the unit for the fabrication of nanowires and other nanostructures.

1. Staff

  •  Dr. Panagiotis Grammatikopoulos, Staff Scientist (Unit Leader)
  •  Dr. Marta Haro Remon, Staff Scientist
  •  Dr. Vidya Dhar Singh, Postdoctoral Scholar (until 11/2017)
  •  Dr. Jerome Vernieres, Postdoctoral Scholar (until 12/2017)
  •  Dr. Stephan Steinhauer, Postdoctoral Scholar (until 04/2017)
  •  Dr. Soumen Giri, Postdoctoral Scholar (until 06/2017)
  •  Dr. Kengo Aranishi, Postdoctoral Scholar (until 04/2017)
  •  Dr. Alexander James Porkovich, Postdoctoral Scholar
  •  Dr. Lin Weng, Postdoctoral Scholar (from 04/2017)
  •  Dr. Eric Danielson, Postdoctoral Scholar (from 04/2017)
  •  Dr. Nan Jian, Postdoctoral Scholar (from 04/2017)
  •  Dr. Zakaria Ziadi, Research Technician#
  •  Mr. Theodore Bouloumis, Student Intern (until 21/4/2017)
  •  Mr. Panagiotis Koutsogiannis, Student Intern (from 10/1/2018 until 28/3/2018)
  •  Ms. Farah Qazi, Student Intern (from 3/7/2017 until 21/12/2017)
  •  Ms. Manana Kutsia, Rotation Student
  •  Ms. Saori Chappell, Research Administrator (from 06/2017)
  •  Ms. Yumi Takahashi, Research Administrator (until 06/2017)

2. Collaborations

2.1 Theoretical Modeling of Nanoclusters, Supports, and Nanoscale Phenomena 

  • 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

3. Activities and Findings

3.1 Supercharging Silicon Batteries


Starting from a copper frame (in orange on the right), a Li-Ion battery anode is built layer by layer by alternatively depositing silicon (top) and nanostructured tantalum metal (bottom) with great control, using a technique called cluster beam deposition.

The outcome of this research is an anode with higher power but restrained swelling, and excellent cyclability – the amount of cycles in which a battery can be charged and discharged before losing efficiency. By looking closer into the nanostructured layers of silicon, it is demonstrated that silicon shows important porosity with a grain-like structure, in which lithium ions can travel at higher speeds compared to unstructured, amorphous silicon (explaining the increase in power). At the same time, the presence of silicon channels along the Ta nanoparticle scaffolds allows the lithium ions to diffuse in the entire structure.

4. Publications

4.1 Journals

  1. Steinhauer, S., Zhao, J., Singh, V., Pavloudis, V., Kioseoglou, J., Nordlund, K., Djurabekova, F., Grammatikopoulos, P., Sowwan, M. Thermal Oxidation of Size-Selected Pd Nanoparticles Supported on CuO Nanowires: The Role of the CuO-Pd Interface Chemistry of Materials 29(14) (2017) 6153-6160, doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b02242 (2017.06)
  2. Haro, M., Singh, V., Steinhauer, S., Toulkeridou, E., Grammatikopoulos, P., Sowwan, M. Nanoscale Heterogeneity of Multilayered Si Anodes with Embedded Nanoparticle Scaffolds for Li-Ion Batteries Advanced Science 4 (2017) 1700180 (10pp), doi: 10.1002/advs.201700180(2017.08)
  3. Kumar, S., Pavloudis, T., Singh, V., Nguyen, H., Steinhauer, S., Pursell, C., Clemens, B., Kioseoglou, J., Grammatikopoulos, P., Sowwan, M. Hydrogen Flux through Size Selected Pd Nanoparticles into Underlying Mg Nanofilms Advanced Energy Materials 8 (2018) 1701326 (14pp), doi: 10.1002/aenm.201701326 (2017.09)
  4. Bohra, M., Grammatikopoulos, P., Singh, V., Zhao, J., Toulkeridou, E., Steinhauer, S., Kioseoglou, J., Bobo, J.F., Nordlund, K., Djurabekova, F., Sowwan, M. Tuning the onset of ferromagnetism in heterogeneous bimetallic nanoparticles by gas phase doping Physical Review Materials 1 (2017) 066001 (12pp), doi:10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.1.066001 (2017.11)
  5. Vicente, N., Haro, M., Garcia-Belmonte, G. New approaches to the lithiation kinetics in reaction-limited battery electrodes through electrochemical impedance spectroscopy Chemical Communications 54 (2018) 1025-1040,  doi:10.1039/C7CC08373D (2017.12)

4.2 Books and other one-time publications

  1. Grammatikopoulos, P., Sowwan, M., Invited Book Chapter, Chapter 16 of "Nanostructured Semiconductors: Amorphization and Thermal Properties", edited by Konstantinos Termentzidis. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781315364452 (published 23 AUGUST 2017)
  2. Grammatikopoulos, P. "Τα νανοσωματίδια και οι ιδιότητές τους" ("Nanoparticles and their properties"), popular science/dissemination article in "Φαινόμενον", the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, Physics Department official journal (published 19 OCTOBER 2017).

4.3 Oral and Poster Presentations

  1. Grammatikopoulos, P., Nanoparticle Coalescence: From Science to Engineering, Gordon Research Conferences: Clusters & Nanostructures, MA, US, 2017.07.10
  2. Sowwan, M., Gas Phase Deposited Nanoparticles: A Platform for Smart Gas Sensing Applications, Gordon Research Conferences: Clusters & Nanostructures, MA, US, 2017.07.11
  3. Vernieres, J., Gas-phase synthesis of Fe-based nanoparticles, OIST Internal Seminar Series, OIST, Japan, 2017.10.13.
  4. Grammatikopoulos, P., Cluster beam deposition and its potential in tuning the physical properties of bimetallic nanoclusters, Nanoclusters in Action, OIST, Japan, 2017.11.08
  5. Porkovich, A., Nanocluster Applications in Heterogeneous Catalysis: Opportunities and Challenges Nanoclusters in Action, OIST, Japan, 2017.11.08
  6. Sowwan, M., Design and fabrication of energy storage devices using cluster beam deposition Nanoclusters in Action, OIST, Japan, 2017.11.07
  7. Sowwan, M., Gas Phase Design and Synthesis of Mono-Metallic, Bi-Metallic and Tri-Metallic Nanoparticles 2017 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit, Boston, USA, 2017.11.29
  8. Haro, M., Nanoarchitectonics for Efficient Energy Storage International Symposium on Energy Science and Technology 2018, OIST, Japan, 2018.01.24

5. Intellectual Property Rights and Other Specific Achievements

Nothing to report

6. Meetings and Events

6.1 Mini Symposium Nanoclusters in Action

  • Date: November 7-9, 2017
  • Venue: OIST Campus, Lab3, C700
  • Organizers: OIST's Nanoparticles by Design Unit
  • Speakers:
    • Prof. Richard E. Palmer (University of Swansea)
    • Prof. Antonio Tricoli (Australian National University)
    • Prof. Atsushi Nakajima (Keio University)
    • Prof. Dr. Sotiris Pratsinis (ETH Zürich)
    • Prof. Stefan Vajda (Argonne National Laboratory)
    • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Heiz (Technical University of Munich)
    • Prof. Osami Sakata (National Institute for Materials Science)
    • Prof. Simon Brown (University of Canterbury)
    • Prof. Paolo Milani (University of Milan)
    • Prof. Pever Lievens (KU Leuven)
    • Prof. Mukhles Sowwan (OIST Graduate University)
    • Dr. Panagiotis Grammatikopoulos  (OIST Graduate University)
    • Dr. Alexander Porkovich (OIST Graduate University)

6.2 Seminars

Title: Surface Chemistry on Nanoparticles:  Size, Structure, and Electronic Effects

  • Date: June 13, 2017
  • Venue: OIST Campus Lab1, C015
  • Speaker: Prof. Scott L Anderson (University of Utah)

Title: Low-temperature plasma-based synthesis of nanoparticles

  • Date: Dec 8, 2017
  • Venue: OIST Campus Lab1, C015
  • Speaker: Prof. Andrey Shukurov (Charles University)

Title: Insights on properties of morphologically complex functional materials using advanced methods at synchrotrons and free electron lasers

  • Date: Feb 27, 2018
  • Venue: OIST Campus Lab1, C016
  • Speaker: Prof. Maya Kiskinova (Elettra Laboratory)

Title: Different Production Methods for Collagen Nanofibers and Research Activities @ IMU, Kazanci Nanoscience Research Lab

  • Date: March 27, 2018
  • Venue: OIST Campus Lab1, C015
  • Speaker: Dr. Murat Kazanci (Istanbul Medeniyet University)

7. Other

On March 20 & 23, Zaki Ziadi gave a seminar on LabVIEW, within the Skill Pills framework, hosted by OIST Graduate School.

On December 8-10, Alex Porkovich, Zaki Ziadi, and Panos Grammatikopoulos organized and delivered OIST's inaugural Skill Pills+ programme, hosted by OIST Graduate School. Skill Pills+ provides a unique opportunity for students from all over Japan to learn about research conducted at OIST directly from active researchers. In an intense two-day workshop which included both seminars and hands-on sessions, we explained to our guest students the basic principles of nanoparticle deposition and characterization, nanodevice fabrication, molecular dynamics simulation, and gas sensing.