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Northwestern Research Images Garner Attention in Washington, D.C.

Gold nanopyramids glitter like diamonds. Tiny electronics stretch and twist with ease. These striking research images from Northwestern University are guaranteed to catch the eyes of policymakers in the nation's capital.

Both images -- the nanopyramids from Teri Odom and the stretchable and twistable electronics from the lab of Yonggang Huang -- are featured on the covers of federal documents related to fiscal year 2011 budgets.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) selected two of Odom's images for its supplement to President Obama's 2011 budget, while the National Science Foundation chose an image of Huang's work for its FY2011 Budget Request to the Congress.

Odom is associate professor of chemistry and Dow Chemical Company Research Professor in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Huang is the Joseph Cummings Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The main image on the NNI cover is of gold nanopyramids attached to cells; the background image is of the nanopyramids on silicon pedestals. Odom and members of her group are studying nanopyramids irradiated with near-infrared light as localized therapeutic agents to help kill breast cancer cells. The National Cancer Institute is supporting the work.

The NSF cover shows the stretchable and twistable electronics developed by Huang and his lab, together with John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, using their so-called "pop-up" technology. The circuits, which can be subjected to any complex deformation, could be used where flat, unbending electronics would fail, like on the human body. The National Science Foundation is supporting the research.

- Megan Fellman