SBPMat newsletter. English edition. Year 3, issue 6.


Brazilian Materials Research Society (SBPMat) newsletter
News update from Brazil for the Materials community

English edition. Year 3, issue 6. 

XV Brazil-MRS (SBPMat) Meeting - Campinas (SP), Sept 25-29, 2016 

The XV SBPMat Meeting received approximately 2,000 abstracts.

Registration: Registration for the event is now open. Early registration discount deadline is 31 August. Here.

Program: Two tutorials will be offered on the afternoon of September 25 to those registered for the event at no extra cost. One is on computer simulations on atomic systems using Reactive Force Fields (theory and practice). The second, organized by Professor Valtencir Zucolotto, will address capabilities required to make high-impact science, including scientific writing. Reserve your place during registration. 

Authors: Acceptance notifications will be sent to the authors by July 10. 

Awards: Those interested in participating in the event’s student prize competition, the Bernhard Gross Award, which selects one oral and one poster presentation in each symposium, must submit an extended abstract by August 22. Know more in the instructions to authors.  

Publication of contributions: The papers presented at the XV Brazil-MRS Meeting may be submitted by their authors for peer review for publication in IOP scientific journals. More info.

Exhibitors: More than 30 companies have already got places in our exhibition. Companies interested in participating in the event with stands and other forms of dissemination should contact Alexandre, via the e-mail

Plenary sessions:  View the abstracts of the plenary lectures and the memorial lecture of our event and bios of the scientists presenting them. Here.

Accommodation and tickets: See the list of the travel agency “Follow Up” with hotels, hostels, guesthouses and the forms to book flights. Here. 

Vacation packages: The Follow Up website also suggests tour packages for before and after the event. Here.

Venue: See video of the city of Campinas and folder about the Expo Dom Pedro convention center. 

Organizers: This edition of the event is coordinated by Prof. Ana Flávia Nogueira (Unicamp, Institute of Chemistry) and Prof. Mônica Alonso Cotta (Unicamp, “Gleb Wataghin” Institute of Physics). See who are the members of the local committee and view the photos of the organizers. Here.

Featured paper 

A nanomedicine study performed at the Brazilian Federal University of Goias shows that magnetic nanoparticles smaller than 10 nm and composed of more than one material have optimum nano-heating properties for the treatment of cancer by hyperthermia. The two authors of the study reached these conclusions based on diverse evidence, including in vivo studies and results obtained through an innovative theoretical method that they developed. This work was reported in a paper published in Nanoscale. See our story about the study.

People in the Materials community 

We interviewed professor Sidney Ribeiro (UNESP), a full member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences since May. Ribeiro is a recognized author of impacting studies on materials containing rare earth ions with applications in photonics and biomedicine. He is also active in mentoring and training researchers (having supervised over one hundred studies) and transforming research into products. In his message to younger scientists he spoke about the love of science, which is natural in children and must be preserved by the educational system, and which transforms the researcher’s work into a favorite occupation. See our interview.

Professor Fernando Lázaro Freire Junior, former president of SBPMat, became the director of the Physics Department of PUC-Rio. Here.
Interviews with plenary speakers of the XV Brazil-MRS Meeting
Plants and animals are important sources of knowledge and inspiration for Professor Lei Jiang and his group. In their laboratories at the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry in Beijing (China), they develop smart materials, e.g., interfaces that switch between superhydrophilicity and superhydrophobicity. The findings of professor Lei Jiang, in addition to generating publications that received tens of thousands of citations, yielded products which are already widely used. Learn more about this Chinese scientist, his way of doing science, his discoveries and his scientific and also philosophical concept of binary cooperative complementary materials. Here.
Special: Kavli Prize for AFM inventors
Gerd Binnig (IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, Switzerland), Christoph Gerber (University of Basel, Switzerland) and Calvin Quate (Stanford University, USA) received the 2016 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience in recognition of their development of the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). Since its creation, the AFM advances nanoscience and nanotechnology due to the possibilities it offers to study and modify surfaces with atomic resolution and precision. More. 
Reading tips
  • First stable magnet of only 1 atom provides possibilities to store and process information at the atomic scale (based on paper in Science). Here.
  • Biomineralization: Scientists shed light on the origin of hardness in biominerals as calcite, associated to the incorporation of impurities (based on paper in Nature Materials). Here. 
  • Thomson Reuters released its annual report of scientific journal impact factors. Here are some highlights of materials journals selected by the websites Materials Today (Elsevier) and Materials Views (Wiley)
  • XXV International Conference on Raman Spectroscopy (ICORS2016). Fortaleza, CE (Brazil). August, 14 to 19, 2016. Site.
  • 26th LNLS Annual Users´ Meeting (RAU). Campinas, SP (Brazil). August, 24 to 25, 2016. Site.
  • XV Brazil-MRS Meeting (XV Encontro da SBPMat). Campinas, SP (Brazil). September, 25 to 29, 2016. Site.
  • Aerospace Technology 2016. Stockholm (Sweden). October, 11 to 12, 2016. Site.

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2016 Kavli Prize 2016 – nanoscience awarded to the inventors of the atomic force microscope.

Gerd Binnig © Definiens AG

In the 2016 edition, the Kavli Prize – nanoscience was awarded to the three scientists who invented the atomic force microscope (AFM): Gerd Binnig (IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, Switzerland), Christoph Gerber (University of Basel, Switzerland) and Calvin Quate (Stanford University, USA). The Kavli Prize has been awarded since 2008 in the fields of Astrophysics, Nanoscience and Neuroscience by the Kavli Foundation, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.

The atomic force microscope (AFM), created in the mid-1980s, was the first instrument that made possible viewing details of different kinds of materials with a resolution of less than a nanometer (on the order of angstroms).  More recently, this instrument has also been used to manipulate surfaces with atomic precision, in which atoms can be pushed, pulled or slid on a surface, one by one, with the tip of the microscope.

Christoph Gerber © Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI)

According to the Kavli Prize website, the history of the atomic force microscope goes back to 1981 when the German physicist Gerd Binnig, along with Heinrich Rohrer and collaborators invented the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) in the IBM labs in Zürich (Switzerland). That was the first instrument that showed the composition of materials on the nanoscale, with a resolution of a few nanometers. The STM, however, had a serious limitation: it could only be used to image conductive materials. So Binnig thought about the changes he could make on the microscope that would overcome this obstacle.

In 1985 he filed the patent application of the AFM, which could produce images of samples of all kinds. He then summoned two scientists he had worked with in the development of the STM (Gerber and Quate). Together they set up the first AFM and conducted the first experiments, whose results were published in the journal Physical Review Letters in March 1986.

Calvin Quate © Linda A. Cicero

After three decades developing the technique and the instrument, the atomic force microscopy has now several new modes to use it, new spin-off instruments and new fields of application (including the Life Sciences).

More information on the AFM and its inventors is available in the Kavli Prize website:

Featured paper. Nanometric Origami: organized strain of two-dimensional materials

Paper: Crystal-oriented wrinkles with origami-type junctions in few-layer hexagonal boron nitride. Oliveira, Camilla K.; Gomes, Egleidson F. A.; Prado, Mariana C.; Alencar, Thonimar V.; Nascimento, Regiane; Malard, Leandro M.; Batista, Ronaldo J. C.; de Oliveira, Alan B.; Chacham, Helio; de Paula, Ana M.; Neves, Bernardo R. A. Nano Research. 2015, 8(5): 1680–1688. DOI: 10.1007/s12274-014-0665-y.

Camilla Oliveira at the atomic force microscope.

Camilla Oliveira was at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), in Brazil, studying samples of hexagonal boron nitrite (hBN) with an atomic force microscope (AFM) within the framework of her doctoral studies in Physics, when one particular aspect of the control samples caught her attention and that of her advisor, Professor Bernardo Neves. After undergoing a heat treatment (annealing), the hBN had gained nanometric wrinkles, arranged in a geometric pattern that seemed to follow some sort of organization.

The researchers decided to study these wrinkles in more detail. They had an important question to answer: was there any relation between the arrangement of the wrinkles and the hBN crystal structure? In other words, did these wrinkles have a crystallographic orientation?  Until that moment, there were no records in scientific literature of crystallographically-oriented wrinkles in two-dimensional materials, but this property could be useful.

The two-dimensional hBN crystal lattice (1 atom high).

Camilla and her advisor joined other scientists from UFMG and the neighbor Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP) in order to carry out that research. The team produced samples composed of a few layers of hBN anchored on a silicon substrate, they heated them at 1,000 degrees Celsius and then cooled them. During this process, the silicon and the boron nitride displayed opposite strain behaviors. Due to the heating, the hBN contracts itself, while the silicon expands, shrinking the hBN. On the other hand, the cooling expands the hBN and shrinks the silicon, folding the boron nitride as origami paper.

After much experimental work using several techniques and approaches, and various simulations, the scientists were able to confirm that the wrinkles were forming in well-defined directions inside the crystal lattice. Analyzing the folding pattern in details, the scientists noticed the triangular-shaped joints by which the wrinkles (usually three of them) met.

AFM images of a 10nm thick hBN flake after the heat treatment, displaying a crystallographically-oriented pattern of wrinkles (left); details of a typical joint (right). The average height of the wrinkles is 10nm.

Detail: as proven by the Brazilian scientists, for the crystallographically-oriented folding patterns to be formed, the heat treatment must consist of rapid heating, followed by slow cooling (for example, citing the rates used in the research, 50 °C per minute to heat, and 8 °C per minute to cool). The wrinkles produced with faster cooling rates are arranged in a disorderly manner, with no crystallographic orientation.

The researchers have also concluded that this type of organized strain could happen, not only to hBN, but to other two-dimensional materials as well, such as graphene, and that it could lead to interesting applications in straintronics – the field of knowledge that studies and explores the capacity of some materials to have their properties deeply changed due to strain processes.

The results of the research were recently published on the scientific journal Nano Research.

“In my opinion, the main contribution of the paper is to present a property that may be shared by many two-dimensional materials: the organized strain, i.e., strain in well-defined crystallographic directions, of a material at the nanoscale”, says Professor Neves, who is the corresponding author of the paper.

The research was funded by the Brazilian agencies Capes, CNPq and Fapemig, and by INCT-Nanocarbono.