Rutgers University is developing faster, cheap nanomanufacturing
The establishment is part...
A consortium led by Rutgers-New Brunswick University in New Jersey is working on the development of nanomaterials processing.
The establishment is partnering with Oregon State University to create faster and cheaper techniques of manufacturing thin film devices, such a touch screens and window coatings.
The technique under study has been dubbed “the intense pulsed light sintering” method.
The method utilises high-energy light that covers areas 7,000 times larger than lasers are capable of to fuse nanomaterials in seconds.
Previously these techniques used temperatures of approximately 250 degrees Celsius, but new developments, led by the university’s Engineering doctoral student Michael Dexter, have successfully fused the materials as low as 150 degrees.
Michael Dexter has reported his findings in a new study, titled “RSC Advances”.
“Pulsed light sintering of nanomaterials enables really fast manufacturing of flexible devices for economies of scale,” said Rajiv Malhotra, Senior Author of RSC Advances and Assistant Professor of in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Rutgers-New Brunswick.
“Our innovation extends this capability by allowing cheaper temperature-sensitive substrates to be used.”
“The next step is to see whether other nanomaterial shapes, including flat flakes and triangles, will drive fusion temperatures even lower.”
“We were able to perform this fusion in two to seven seconds compared with the minutes to hours it normally takes now.”
“We also showed how to use the pulsed light fusion process to control the electrical and optical properties of the film.”
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.