The Nanoengineering Laboratory works across the technical areas of nanotechnology, instrumentation, materials science, thermal transport, and micro- and nano-manufacturing.  We take a broad view towards aligning our work across the domains of science, technology, and commerce.   Researchers join the Nanoengineering Laboratory to develop their skills for understanding scientific fundamentals, advancing the state of the art technology, and seeking translational impact.



The Grainger College of Engineering and Carle Health demonstrate working prototype of emergency ventilator for COVID-19 patients

A team led by Dr. King has produced a prototype emergency ventilator to help address the expected surge in the need for respiratory care associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois RapidVent, as the emergency ventilator is known, would plug into the oxygen source available in most hospital rooms or could plug into a tank of oxygen. The prototype has run for more than 75 hours, which is more than 125,000 breathing cycles. Over this time, the device delivered the amount of oxygen necessary and the pressure that patients would need when they are unable to breathe well enough on their own. So far, focused testing in the laboratory shows equivalent performance to commercial products—which are in very short supply. Press available here.



MechSE researchers demonstrate new capability for electronics cooling using additive manufacturing

Researchers at Dr. King’s group have demonstrated a new type of air jet cooler that overcomes previous barriers to jet cooling systems. Using additive manufacturing, the researchers created an air jet cooling system in a single component that can direct high-speed air onto multiple electronics hot spots. The researchers manufactured the cooling system from strong polymer materials that can withstand the harsh conditions associated with high-speed air jets. The paper, “Air Jet Impingement Cooling of Electronic Devices Using Additively Manufactured Nozzles,” was published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging, and Manufacturing Technology.



Weisensee making big strides early in academic career

Dr. Patricia Weisensee, formerly of Dr. King’s research group, earned her PhD in mechanical engineering from Illinois in December of 2016 and just one month later she had joined Washington University in St. Louis as an assistant professor. Now leading her own research program, Weisensee studies the interactions of liquids and solids for energy applications. Focusing on experimental study, most of her research is fundamental and in turn has a vast array of possible applications. In this past year, many exciting developments have taken shape for her research group. The lab has had two papers published, with a third in review – and one of those papers even made the cover of the journal, Soft Matter. Weisensee also won National Science Foundation funding to study droplet nucleation and condensation on lubricant infused surfaces, a NASA Early Career Award for the development of a liquid metal heating switch to use on spacecraft, and a grant from the American Chemical Society to study the effect of heat transfer on the development of flow fields in microporous media.



King’s company only “Lighthouse” honoree in U.S.

Fast Radius, for which MechSE professor Bill King is Chief Scientist, was named a Manufacturing Lighthouse by the World Economic Forum. There were only nine companies worldwide selected for this honor, out of 1,000 companies considered. These Manufacturing Lighthouse companies are using digital manufacturing technologies at scale. Fast Radius was selected because of its ability to accelerate new product development and production, using additive manufacturing and data analytics. It was the only company selected in North America; the others are in Europe and China.  Press available here.



King directing the tech for Fast Radius

MechSE professor Bill King is a key player in Fast Radius, a startup operating out of Oprah Winfrey’s former Harpo Productions space in Chicago’s West Loop, as featured in Crain’s Chicago Business. News available here.



$48M raised by MechSE prof’s tech startup

Professor William King’s startup company, Chicago-based Fast Radius, made headlines this week when it announced a series B investment of $48M. The investor syndicate was led by UPS and Drive Capital. In his role of Chief Scientist at Fast Radius, King leads the development of the company’s digital manufacturing technology. Fast Radius was recently recognized by the World Economic Forum as having one of the world’s leading digital factories. The company will use the new funds to continue scaling up its global manufacturing footprint, as well as its software development, application engineering, and sales teams. News available here.



Illinois researchers develop heat switch for electronics

Researchers at Dr. King’s group have developed a new technology for switching heat flows ‘on’ or ‘off’. The findings were published in the article “Millimeter-scale liquid metal droplet thermal switch,” which appeared in Applied Physics Letters. Paper available here.



New process forms 3D shapes from sheets of graphene

Researchers at Dr. King’s group have developed a new approach for forming 3D shapes from flat, 2D sheets of graphene, paving the way for future integrated systems of graphene-MEMS hybrid devices and flexible electronics. The findings were published in the article “Three-Dimensional Integration of Graphene via Swelling, Shrinking, and Adaptation,” which appeared in Nano Letters.



King honored with Ralph A. Andersen Endowed Chair

Professor William King has been named the Ralph A. Andersen Endowed Chair, an honor presented by the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering. The appointment recognizes King’s significant achievements and contributions to the department. News available here.



Two MechSE professors receive significant ASME awards

Assistant Professor Randy Ewoldt and Bliss Professor William King were honored at the ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in San Diego. ASME is a professional association that advances, disseminates, and applies engineering knowledge for improving the quality of life and communicating the excitement of engineering. It grants awards for service, for literature, and for achievement. Both Ewoldt and King received their awards for achievement, as well as a monetary prize of $1,000 each. News available here.



Pyroelectric electron emission paper is No. 1 download in Applied Physics Letters

Applied Physics Letters has featured a paper by Professor William P. King and Patrick C. Fletcher, formerly of King’s research group, as the most downloaded paper on the site over the past four months. This paper is based on Dr. Fletcher’s work on electron emission using the pyroelectric effect from 30 nm thick films of PbZrxTi1-xO3 (PZT).



University of Illinois researchers measure near-field behavior of semiconductor plasmonic microparticles

Researchers at Dr. King’s group have measured nanometer-scale infrared absorption in semiconductor plasmonic microparticles using a technique that combines atomic force microscopy with infrared spectroscopy. The ability to directly measure the plasmonic behavior within individual microparticles will allow researchers to design and test more complex optical materials. Paper available here.



Small in size, big on power: New microbatteries a boost for electronics

Researchers at Dr. King’s group have developed fast charging microbatteries with very high power and energy densities via 3D microstructured electrodes and novel battery chemistry. Paper available here.



University of Illinois researchers develop novel technique for chemical identification at the nanometer scale

Researchers in Dr. King’s group measured the chemical properties of polymer nanostructures as small as 15 nm using a novel technique called atomic force microscope infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR). Paper available here.




Nanometer-scale diamond tips improve nano-manufacturing

Researchers at the University of Illinois, University of Pennsylvania, and Advanced Diamond Technologies Inc., have created a new type of nano-tip made entirely out of diamond.  The tip can be used for nanometer-scale thermal processing, and it is extremely resistant to wear and contamination. Paper available here.