FSU buckypaper research honored for nanotech innovation

Ben Wang

Students, researchers and faculty members at the High-Performance Materials Institute (HPMI) at Florida State University were recently recognized in the fourth annual Nanotech Briefs Nano 50 Awards for their work with an innovative material called buckypaper.

Ben Wang

"We are excited that the Nanotech Briefs judges of nanotechnology and micro-electro-mechanical systems experts recognized the great potential of buckypaper and gave Florida State University and the High-Performance Materials Institute this prestigious award," said Director of HPMI Ben Wang, a professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering and assistant vice president for Research at FSU.

As one of the most thermally conductive materials known, HPMI has engineered buckypaper products to utilize the strong intrinsic properties of nanotubes and disperse heat efficiently within electronics. Through dispersion, alignment and concentration, these fibers, about 1/50,000th the diameter of a human hair, are being developed and commercialized for a variety of applications, including lightning strike protection and electromagnetic-interference shielding in aircrafts and dissipating heat in laptop computers.

Buckypaper has the potential to make an immediate impact on society, according to R&D Magazine and the Micro/Nano Newsletter, which previously named HPMI’s nanofiber buckypapers one of the most innovative nanotechnologies of 2007.

Buckypaper production should eventually result in effective lightweight body armor and armored vehicles for the U.S. military while also paving the way for stronger and lighter
automobiles, resulting in safer and more fuel-efficient transportation.

"Buckypaper serves as an innovative material platform through which nanotube properties can be transferred to real-world, large-scale engineering applications," Wang said.

HPMI was presented the award by Nanotech Briefs, a monthly digital newsletter, along with 49 other researchers who have or are projected to significantly impact the study of nanotechnology.

"The winners of the Nano 50 awards are the ‘best of the best’ — the innovative people and designs that will move nanotechnology to key mainstream markets," the online newsletter stated in an introduction of the award recipients.

HPMI will be recognized at an awards dinner to be held during the NASA Tech Briefs National Nano Engineering Conference in Boston, which is scheduled for Nov. 12-13. Wang acknowledged Professor Richard Liang, the HPMI’s chief technologist, as well as HPMI’s outstanding team of students and staff, for making buckypaper a staple in the growing field of nanotech research.

"Many researchers are in the field of nanotechnology; however, our technology is further along toward scaling up production of a means to harness the great potential of nanotubes for affordable use by industry," Wang said.

For more information about the High-Performance Materials Institute, visit www.hpmi.net.