Nanoscale Printing System

Uni­ver­sity leaders and nan­otech­nology researchers joined rep­re­sen­ta­tives from industry and gov­ern­ment agen­cies on Wednesday at Northeastern’s George J. Kostas Research Insti­tute for Home­land Secu­rity to unveil NanoOPS, a nanoscale printing system with the poten­tial to trans­form nanoman­u­fac­turing and spur inno­va­tion in a range of areas including elec­tronics, med­i­cine, and energy storage.

NanoOPS, short for Nanoscale Offset Printing System, is housed at the Kostas Research Insti­tute in Burlington, Mass­a­chu­setts. The state-​​of-​​the-​​art system is the result of a strong academia-​​industry-​​government partnership—NanoOPS’ design is based on inno­va­tions and patents devel­oped at Northeastern’s National Sci­ence Foundation-​​funded Center for High-​​rate Nanoman­u­fac­turing; Milara, a Massachusetts-​​based man­u­fac­turer of spe­cial­ized equip­ment for the semi­con­ductor industry, built the system; and public agen­cies, such as the National Sci­ence Foun­da­tion and the Mass­a­chu­setts Tech­nology Col­lab­o­ra­tive, sup­ported the research and development.

The Boston Globe fea­tured NanoOPS on Thursday.

Researchers said NanoOPS will operate at a frac­tion of the cost and time as cur­rent nanofab­ri­ca­tion methods, which will make nanoman­u­fac­turing acces­sible to more inno­va­tors and entre­pre­neurs. The system blends tra­di­tional offset-​​type printing tech­nolo­gies with state-​​of-​​the-​​art tech­nolo­gies at the nanoscale to make prod­ucts that leverage nano­ma­te­rials’ supe­rior prop­er­ties. In only a matter of min­utes, the system can print metals, organic and inor­ganic mate­rials, poly­mers, and nanoscale struc­tures and cir­cuits onto flex­ible and inflex­ible substrates.

  • The George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security in Burlington, Massachusetts.
  • President Joseph E. Aoun greeted George J. Kostas, E’43.
  • President Joseph E. Aoun addressed the crowd at the NanoOPS unveiling ceremony.
  • Ahmed Busnaina, CHN director and the William Lincoln Smith Chair and Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, spoke during the ceremony.
  • George J. Kostas, E’43, delivered his remarks.
  • Milara CEO Krassy Petkov, whose company built the state-of-the-art NanoOPS instrument in collaboration with Northeastern, spoke at the ceremony.
  • Researchers worked with the state-of-the-art nanomanufacturing instrumentation.
  • Ahmed Busnaina gave George J. Kostas and Georgia Kostas Nichols a tour of the new lab.
  • George J. Kostas greeted Stephen Flynn, founding co-director of the Kostas Research Institute and a professor of political science.

The new system incor­po­rates patented tech­nolo­gies devel­oped by North­eastern grad­uate stu­dents, post­docs, and fac­ulty researchers, moving society closer to a world with nanoscale devices for a vast amount of appli­ca­tions, such as new and afford­able med­i­cines; stronger and lighter building mate­rials; and faster, cheaper elec­tronics. Throughout Wednesday’s cer­e­mony, speakers empha­sized that it is the part­ner­ship between acad­emia, industry, and gov­ern­ment that have made these efforts possible.

What we’re seeing today are the fruits of col­lab­o­ra­tion,” said Ahmed Bus­naina, CHN’s director and the William Lin­coln Smith and Pro­fessor in the Col­lege of Engi­neering. He said NanoOPS will now present many new oppor­tu­ni­ties to col­lab­o­rate with com­pa­nies inter­ested in lever­aging this technology.

Bus­naina also praised George J. Kostas, E’43, for his long­time sup­port; prior to estab­lishing the home­land secu­rity research center in Burlington, Kostas invested $2 mil­lion to found the George J. Kostas Nanoscale Tech­nology and Man­u­fac­turing Research Center.

Industry-​​academic part­ner­ships were an inte­gral part of Kostas’ vision for the Kostas Research Insti­tute when he began dis­cus­sions with Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun sev­eral years ago. The insti­tute, which offi­cially opened in 2011, would go beyond advancing secu­rity sci­ence and research—it would also enable industry-​​academic partnerships.

That vision came to fruition in March with the opening of the Rogers Cor­po­ra­tion Inno­va­tion Center, which aims to advance basic research and develop com­mer­cially viable break­through inno­va­tions in advanced mate­rials to address global chal­lenges in clean energy, Internet con­nec­tivity, safety, and security.

Wednesday’s unveiling of NanoOPS is the con­tin­u­a­tion of that vision. Kostas said he was very proud to see the remark­able progress made by Bus­naina and his CHN research team, which he said exem­pli­fies Northeastern’s leading research efforts to trans­late that work into soci­etal ben­e­fits. “These part­ner­ships are the best means to accel­erate the devel­op­ment of new tech­nolo­gies for a pos­i­tive impact on the world,” he said. “Keep up the good work, and God bless America.”

North­eastern Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun called Kostas “a true patriot.” “This all started with you,” Aoun told Kostas, lauding his efforts to put America at the fore­front of secu­rity research, nanoman­u­fac­turing, and inno­va­tion. “The nation is seeing the impact of what you have done.”

Related Faculty: Ahmed Busnaina

Related Departments:Mechanical & Industrial Engineering