43: Bob Hamers - Do you want to start a company?

Bob Hamers is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin—Madison and co-founder of Silatronix, a company that is commercializing a new electrolyte for Li ion batteries. On this episode of the Nanovation podcast, Bob shares the story of Silatronix's founding and the scientific twists and turns that lead them to their current electrolyte design. Bob also talks about the NSF-funded Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (CSN), which is a multi-institutional partnership devoted to investigating the fundamental molecular mechanisms by which nanoparticles interact with biological systems. The show ends with a fascinating look at the esoteric field of solvated electrons and the potential of these tiny reactive species to perform chemistry in new ways. (Recorded on August 30, 2018. Edited by Andrew Cannon)  

42: Sebastien Lounis - It's a pretty sweet deal

Sebastien Lounis is the co-founder of Cyclotron Road, a fellowship program that supports entrepreneurial scientists as they start down the road of translating a scientific discovery into a commercially viable technology. On this episode of the Nanovation podcast, Sebastien overviews Cyclotron Road, what drove him and his co-founder to start it, how it works, and how it fits into the broader tech-translation landscape. Critically, Cyclotron Road helps to fill the earliest innovation stage gap, sometimes called the “valley of death”, that often prevents exciting “hard tech” breakthroughs from leaving the lab. Sebastien also shares the story of one fellow’s journey to success and how you know when you’re ready to apply to the program. (Recorded on August 7, 2018. Edited by Andrew Cannon)  

41: Kira Barton - Not just a good talker

Kira Barton from the University of Michigan joins the podcast to share her experience being a professor. At a tier-one research institution like Michigan, the job of professor is so much more than teaching undergraduate students. However, the show starts with a discussion of additive manufacturing, how it's already changing the way we make stuff, and Kira’s lab's exciting research on a new technique called e-jet printing. Whether you're here to learn about the emerging world of additive manufacturing or what it takes to succeed as a professor at a top engineering school, rest assured you'll be learning from the best. (Recorded on May 24, 2018. Edited by Andrew Cannon)  

40: Swami Rajaraman - Electroactive and excitable

Swami Rajaraman from the University of Central Florida joins the podcast to talk MEMS. MEMS, or microelectromechanical systems, combine miniaturized structures, sensors, actuators, and microelectronics into a single device. Swami’s laboratory develops new MEMS fabrication methods for the advancement of human health and personalized medicine. In this episode, Swami takes us on a journey from his days as a graduate student at Georgia Tech, to his time as an early employee of the start-up Axion Biosystems, and now as an assistant professor at UCF. Along the way, he provides great primers on the state-of-the-art in MEMS and 3-D printing technology. (Recorded on May 17, 2018. Edited by Andrew Cannon)

39: Lars Pleth Nielsen - Why not try something new and better?

Lars Pleth Nielsen is the director of the Tribology Centre at the Danish Technological Institute. His team works with customers to invent, advance, and industrially deploy coating technologies. Coatings are thin layers that cover most of the materials made today. They can offer protection from the environment, impart different surface properties, and more. On this episode of Nanovation, Lars recounts a variety of stories from his research career, ranging from his exploration of the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen as a child to the “super slip” coating he’s currently working to bring to market. We also discuss his outstanding two-volume book titled Advanced Surface Technology that he co-authored with his colleague and friend Per Moller, and which is considered by many to be the Bible of coating technology. (Recorded on May 3, 2018. Edited by Andrew Cannon)

38: Emily Weiss - When they’re smushed, they get mad

Emily Weiss from Northwestern University joins the podcast for a wide ranging discussion. We start by asking a deep question: "What is good science?" The answer takes us from the discovery of Neptune to the marriage of basic and applied science that made Bell Labs so great. We then discuss her lab's interest in the interactions between light and quantum dots, tiny crystalline particles with diameters less than about 5 nm. We also find time for Emily to share her vision of a future where biology can be investigated not only on extremely short length scales, but also on extremely short time scales. Stick around for a brief after show if you've ever wondered about making poached eggs. This episode has it all. (Recorded on April 25, 2018. Edited by Andrew Cannon)

37: Victor Breedveld - That’s why they pay chemical engineers the big bucks

Victor Breedveld from Georgia Tech joins the podcast to discuss "Process Principles for Large-Scale Nanomanufacturing," a perspective piece that he and I co-authored with Sven Behrens and graduate student Maritza Mujica. We overview the state-of-the-art in terms of nanomanufacturing, the pros and cons of modular and integrated manufacturing paradigms, why we think the chemicals industry is a good model for a future nanomanufacturing industry, the physical phenomena that complicate the processing of "nanoparts," and what science and engineering will be required before the real potential of nanotechnology will be felt by the average person. (Recorded on April 2, 2018. Edited by Andrew Cannon)

36: Anna Fontcuberta i Morral - I’m grateful that I am naïve

Anna Fontcuberta i Morral from École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland joins the podcast to talk about compound semiconductors and their nanostructures. These more exotic relatives of silicon excel in charge transport and light emission/absorption, which makes them useful in technologies ranging from wireless communications to solid-state lighting. We also talk about the differences between academic research in Europe and the United States. We discuss how laboratories are structured, where funding comes from, and how that can influence the resulting research. (Recorded on March 26, 2018. Edited by Andrew Cannon)

35: Elizabeth Nance - Why I’m fascinated by diffusion

Elizabeth Nance from the University of Washington talks about the use of nanoparticles to treat neurological diseases. We discuss what makes nanoparticles such interesting vehicles for delivering drugs to the brain, how her lab interrogates this process, and why laboratory success so often fails to translate into people. Elizabeth also shares her perspective on how to train future scientists and engineers to operate in a complex, interdisciplinary world. When a conversation begins with a story of a stolen brain, you know it's going to be good! (Recorded on February 15, 2018. Edited by Andrew Cannon)

34: Matt McDowell - Fancy Latin words

Matt McDowell is an expert in electrochemical materials and devices. On this episode, we talk about everything batteries — how they work, the state-of-the-art, what still needs to be improved, and what options are on the table for future technologies. We also discuss Matt and his students’ use of in situ experiments — those able to make measurements of a device while it is operating — and how they use this capability to understand the atomic scale details that govern battery performance and failure. We also ponder if batteries will ever be used as the main source of energy in airplanes and, if so, what it will take to get there. (Recorded on February 1, 2018. Edited by Andrew Cannon)