3 Cover image: Prof. Sharoni Amos Inner cover: Prof. Michaeli Shulamit Leading BINA into the Future ................................................... 6 Stepping Down but Still Involved .............................................. 10 Executive Summary .................................................................... 14 The Interplay of Light and Matter ......................................... 18 Mirroring Pasteur ........................................................................ 20 Using the nano lab for creation Hybrid retinal grafts ..... 22 A Glimpse into the Future of Nanofabrication .................. 24 Where’s the Beef? ........................................................................ 28 A Decade of Research ................................................................ 32 Selected Research Collaborations ......................................... 36 BINA Equipment Center ............................................................ 38 Research Map ............................................................................... 46 TABLE OF CONTENTS


5 A few short months ago, our minds were filled with the work ahead: BINA’s new administration and the goals they’ve set out for themselves, the advancement of science, and the betterment of society through research. Following the abhorrent, horrific, and animalistic Hamas attacks against our people on October 7, 2023, our focus is decidedly divided in ways that we never imagined. The Bar-Ilan family is both resilient and, sadly, broken. As our fall semester is delayed yet again, with many of our students deployed on the front lines and around the country, we honor the memory of those children and parents, grandparents, and siblings, who will never return to us. In such a small country, there seem to be zero degrees of separation; some of those murdered and held captive— our civilians and our soldiers—were the immediate family of our faculty, staff, and student population. As we move forward in this new world, we continue to strive for excellence in our research and create innovation that will enhance the lives of all mankind. Nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize various aspects of our world, bringing about significant advancements in science, technology, and everyday life. We at BINA pray that the merit of our advancements and the memory of our loved ones will be for a blessing.


7 Prof. Ehud Banin, Udi, as he is known affectionately by his colleagues and friends, began his job as the director of the Institute for Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials on October 8, 2023, one day after the brutal and horrific massacre of Israeli citizens on Israeli Land by Hamas terrorists. He and the many multicultural and multi-faceted scientists working in BINA, are unified not only in their determination to win this war and bring back the hostages but in their belief that science and technology will continue to better our civilization. We asked Prof. Udi Banin to share his vision of the future as he takes the helm of the Institute for Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials As an early recruit and proponent of The Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences and Bar-Ilan University’s Institute for Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials, I credit BINA with shaping my current research of nanotech applications in the diagnosis and fight against infectious diseases. Now, as I step into the hard-to-fill shoes of Prof. Dror Fixler as BINA’s next director, I am filled with excitement at this exceptional opportunity to lead BINA into the future. In guiding the trajectory of BINA, my objectives span across a multi-dimensional landscape. Firstly, at the cornerstone of our pursuits lies the paramount mission of advancing scientific knowledge and upholding a standard of excellence that distinguishes our center. This endeavor hinges upon our ability to attract and recruit individuals of exceptional caliber, Leading BINA into the Future: A Vision of Innovation, Education, Collaboration, and Community Engagement A new BINA’s Director whose collective expertise will continue to propel us forward. Equally vital is our commitment to the continuous enhancement and maintenance of our state-of-the-art equipment center, enabling us to remain at the forefront of technological innovation and discovery. In parallel, I am deeply invested in cultivating an environment that thrives on innovation and the seamless transfer of technology. While rooted in a firm appreciation for fundamental scientific exploration, I recognize the unique capacity of interdisciplinary collaboration to ignite breakthroughs. Thus, I envision our center as a beacon for innovation, fostering an ecosystem where pioneering ideas are transformed into practical solutions that address pressing challenges across diverse domains such as healthcare and sustainability. Our role extends beyond mere facilitation; we are poised to actively support and guide researchers and students in realizing the full potential of their innovations. Moreover, I see substantial promise in expanding our educational initiatives. While BINA is an institute rather than a traditional faculty, our evolving role within the larger academic landscape suggests a commitment to training the next generation of experts. One such avenue could involve crafting courses accessible to external students, enabling them to grasp the intricacies of cutting-edge equipment usage. This initiative, in turn, ensures the cultivation of adept professionals who can harness the potential of advanced scientific tools.

8 My vision for BINA encompasses the pursuit of excellence, innovation, education, collaboration, and community engagement. Interconnectedness defines our journey, and this extends to the sphere of collaboration. Internally, we are fostering an environment of teamwork among our researchers, while externally, we are weaving robust partnerships that enrich our pursuits. Collaborations with esteemed institutions like the INL in Portugal, the University of Paris and the University of Sydney Nano Institute exemplify our aspiration to harness collective intelligence. Simultaneously, the integration of industry collaborations, exemplified by our partnerships with KLA and an upcoming joint workshop with Merck, embodies the synergy between academia and practical application. As we set our compass toward these aspirations, I am equally excited about fostering a sense of community and engagement. To this end, I propose the establishment of seminars led by our technical research staff, where their instrumental work and expertise can be celebrated and shared. This not only bridges the gap between researchers, students, and industry partners but also showcases the depth of our capabilities. Lastly, recognizing the significance of our alumni network, I see immense untapped potential. These individuals, now established leaders in their respective domains, can offer unique insights, potential collaborations, and invaluable mentorship to our current cohort. By reconnecting with our alumni through seminars, interactions with current students, and gatherings, we aim to bolster our bonds and further amplify our impact on the scientific and technological landscape. I’d like to say a few words about Prof. Dror Fixler, whom I regard with great esteem and friendship. I’ve gained valuable insights from Dror. Dror possesses impressive energy and a positive chutzpa that drives progress fearlessly. His determination has propelled the institute forward substantially, and I would like to continue in this direction. I aspire to continue to engage principle investigators, research staff, and even students to collaborate effectively and achieve our goals. Amidst changes, our administrative team has also transitioned, bidding farewell to Dr. Yossi Talyosef and welcoming Dr. Ilana Perelshtein as BINA manager. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Yossi for his major contribution to the center over the past several years and wish him luck as he heads to his new position. Ilana has already made a positive impact since her onboarding. I’ve had a long-standing collaborative relationship with Ilana, who was previously in charge of the CPM Unit and established the Synthesis of Smart Materials Unit. Her alignment with my vision is promising and I’m enthusiastic about the potential for continued excellence in our work, building upon the foundation laid by our predecessors. As we embark on the New Year with a fresh professional team, I’d like to extend my best wishes to the entire staff and faculty at BINA for a successful journey ahead. My vision for BINA encompasses the pursuit of excellence, innovation, education, collaboration, and community engagement. These pillars collectively form the bedrock upon which we will build a dynamic, forward-looking center that not only advances scientific knowledge but also transforms it into tangible solutions for the betterment of society.


10 Stepping Down but Still Involved: Professor Dror Fixler Reviews His Tenure as BINA’s Director

11 Professor Major (retd) Dror Fixler spoke to us while in uniform from a safe room in an army base in the north of the country. Like many thousands of Israelis young and old, Dror was one of 350,000 reservists deployed almost overnight on the 7th and 8th of October 2023. Our hearts remain broken at the loss of life and the atrocities that were committed against innocent Israelis, and on the impact this war will continue to have on the Bar-Ilan family. Looking back on my six years as the director of BINA, I would like to highlight some of the rewarding experiences and achievements in my term of office. One of my biggest achievements was that I managed to push the idea of nanotech research to the forefront of the university. Bar-Ilan has highly developed faculties of life science, engineering, exact science, and very good departments of physics, and chemistry, and it is this strength that allowed me to focus the direction of our research at BINA during the years that I was at the helm. An immediate concern was to purchase state-of-theart equipment to bolster our research abilities. Our high-resolution microscopes were the first acquired in Israel. With the help of my colleagues, I think we brought in $20 M during these six years for new equipment. My colleague Dr. Yossi Talyosef and I were like a couple in our ability to closely work together toward our goals. And together we are now both moving to the Faculty of Engineering. My second achievement was the establishment of a new department in BINA dedicated to smart material synthesis. This refers to the process of creating smart materials through various techniques and methodologies. Smart material synthesis involves the intricate process of crafting materials with unique capabilities that respond intelligently to external stimuli. These materials exhibit the ability to alter their properties in response to specific triggers such as changes in temperature, pressure, or exposure to light. Essentially, it’s the art and science of creating materials with dynamic functionalities, akin to instilling them with distinct superpowers. Smart material synthesis opens avenues for the development of materials that can autonomously adapt, transforming industries like healthcare, electronics, and aerospace by introducing innovative and responsive components into various applications. This department started three years ago and has already published a few papers. The most successful trend is the focus on bio convergence, which is the intersection between various scientific disciplines and biology. It represents a collaborative effort where fields such as nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and material sciences converge with the biological sciences. Bio convergence is not merely a meeting point; it is a dynamic collaboration that fosters a holistic approach to addressing complex biological challenges by breaking down traditional boundaries between scientific domains. I believed—and still believe—that this is a direction that our university needs to focus on to support the life sciences and make them an integral part of BINA. Before I started my tenure at BINA, I was cautious and concerned by the experience of my predecessor, Prof. Yuval Garini. Yuval was unable to simultaneously lead BINA and published papers. He was sad about that. He told me to expect to sacrifice my own research. But with God’s help, my rate of publications over that time period did not diminish. The grants also seemed to flow in. Twice we received grants from the Israel Science Foundation, the Ministry of Science, Mafat, MAGNET, and many more. Now that I’m stepping down from my position, it’s clear to me that I was only a shaliach tzibur , a messenger of the community, who acted as the anchor of BINA. I was not smarter than anyone else from the staff or the PIs. I did not have more luck than they did. I was not more worthy or talented than “One of my biggest achievements was that I managed to push the idea of nanotech research to the forefront of the university”

12 they were. All my power came from the PIs and the employees at BINA who put me on their shoulders. I firmly believe that anything I have achieved is based on the merit of the staff and PIs I’ve worked with. I was in a position where I needed to manage and coordinate, to listen and be a spokesperson, and to absorb both the successes and disappointments. If you ask me what I am most proud of during my stewardship of BINA, I would say achieving my administrative goals. I did a lot of administrative work and I managed to make BINA an independent research center. When I stepped into my position, BINA was part of the Exact Science Faculty. The manager of this faculty did not have our interests at heart and did not award us much in the way of resources. I managed to convince both the university’s management and the academic central committee to make BINA part of the Faculty of Engineering because that was my home base. BINA became part of Engineering on the condition that they would give me full autonomy. It has been so. When my position was coming to an end, I understood that the university needed to take another action and I managed to convince the president, rector, and the CEO of Bar-Ilan to make BINA an independent unit. Today BINA is an independent unit. It is no longer part of engineering. The second achievement of my administrative work which I am proud is that I worked hard to make BINA’s building a temple for research. You cannot imagine how difficult it was. We needed to change some of the structure. The actual building needed to be set up according to code, and there were many specifications that had to be met. For example, in the clean room, I had to speak with the cleaners about the level and importance of keeping our space sterile. One of the challenges that I faced during my leadership was defining my mission. Early on, I understood that through my position, I could help others in the department. One of my first undertakings was to visit each PI personally to understand the scope of our potential. Note that I did not ask the PIs to visit me, but I went to meet them. This helped me define how the staff saw me

13 in my position and bolstered my view of being able to push through the many requests that came my way, including a determination to find more funding and support students. I strove to positively answer everyone’s request. A particular lesson I learned is that research within the field of nanotechnology is very competitive. Not only inside the university, inside a department, between departments, between faculties, but also between universities. We all apply to the same research grant foundations and to the same highranking journals to publish our papers. My conclusion was that we needed to find a way to collaborate in this competitive landscape. This is what I established, collaborative activity in an industrial context. We understand that we are competing, but we can collaborate during this competition and this makes life much happier. If we know how to stay positive when in this situation, it puts us in a different place. We do not lose sight of who and what we are competing for, but it’s much more convenient to do it in this way. I believe I am leaving the directorship of BINA in good hands with Professor Udi Banin. My advice to him is to be himself. Everyone brings their own style of management to a position like this, and I know he will succeed in his own way. When I took over from Prof. Yuval Garini, I could not understand how I could walk in his shoes. He was an amazing person, so moderate and well-liked. When he came to offer me the position, I thought he was joking. Though I am leaving the directorship of BINA, I am not leaving BINA. I will continue to be a member of the BINA faculty, and I will also pursue a few other projects. One is to lead a partnership with Sheba Hospital to create the Health Tech Valley. Another is to shepherd the grant applications that are still in process, including a large one that was filed in the summer establishing the Israeli Center for Biodevices. I’m going back to engineering as the Vice Dean of The Faculty of Engineering. I’m going to support and help the dean, and I’m going to focus on excellence in research. We had hoped to have an internal retreat at the start of this academic year of the faculty that would focus on teaching and research. There are three elements of research I want to focus on: competitive grants; publishing papers in high-ranking journals; and bringing in PhD students and postdocs. I believe if we focus on these elements, it will put engineering in a higher place than it is today. Sadly, due to the outbreak of war and the atrocities committed by Hamas, we had to delay our retreat. To our wonderful staff and faculty, I want to call to mind a quote from Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers. Lo alecha hamelacha ligmor . “It is not your duty to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it” (Pirkei Avot 2:21). I know that BINA will continue to flourish under Udi’s baton and the extreme creativity of our faculty. Given our changed circumstances now in Israel, I want to also suggest a Hebrew proverb and a general piece of wisdom that encourages us as individuals to step up and take responsibility when needed. B’makom sh’ayn ish, tishtadel lihiyot ish. “In a place where there is no man, be a man.” May we all merit to embrace kindness and compassion, fostering understanding and unity in our scientific communities and beyond. “The second achievement of which I am proud is that I worked hard to make BINA’s building a temple for research” “BINA will continue to flourish under Udi’s baton and the extreme creativity of our faculty”


15 Bar-Ilan University’s Nanotechnology Institute is at the forefront of cutting-edge research and technology advancements. Under the leadership of Dr. Ilana Perelshtein, the institute is poised for exciting developments. In a wide-ranging interview, she shared her vision, strategies, and initiatives that will steer the institute into a promising future. When she started working at Bar-Ilan University’s Nano Institute, Dr. Ilana Perelshtein worked in the microscopy unit. With a background in chemistry and as part of her PhD, under the supervision of materials chemist Prof. Aharon Gedanken, Perelshtein developed a unique technique for applying antibacterial nanoparticles on surfaces, especially on textiles, to eradicate bacteria. “We developed a technique that can be used for coating these particles on surfaces, including textiles,” Perelshtein explains. “During Covid, a company licensed this technology and sold antibacterial face masks.” Perelshtein is currently taking on the position of BINA’s new manager. Though she will resume her own research when the time comes, for now, she is busy with administrative tasks and pursuing her vision for the Nano Institute. “My main background is applied research but currently, the job is more administrative.” “As part of our new direction, we’re establishing a new unit to focus on the development and synthesis of smart materials,” Perelshtein relates. “I am planning to lead this group in order to keep researching in my field. Our goal is to maintain a top-notch level of excellence among our researchers and students. BINA is dedicated to providing steadfast support to Principal Investigators (PIs) who lead crucial research in various fields. The institute is also fully committed to nurturing the professional growth of our researchers and students by offering scholarships and facilitating opportunities to attend conferences, where they can showcase their research findings.” Moving Forward with Bio-Convergence Working hand-in-hand with Prof. Udi Banin, BINA’s new director, whom Perelshtein has worked with and published papers with over the last ten years, Perelshtein wants to make BINA a “one-stop shop” for customers seeking a wide range of services and R&D support. To achieve this, the institute will continue to update its equipment, ensuring that it remains the first point of contact for potential customers. Additionally, recognizing the ongoing transformation in the field of nanotechnology, the new management team plans to pioneer a multidisciplinary approach that integrates biology, chemistry, and engineering, known as Bio-convergence. Executive Summary Shaping the Future of Nanotechnology at Bar-Ilan University: An Interview with BINA’s Manager “As part of our new direction, we’re establishing a new unit to focus on the development and synthesis of smart materials”

16 “In the last 20 years, nanotech was focused on developing nanomaterials within a number of fields,” she explains. “Now we would like to gather together the knowledge that we have from chemistry, biology, and engineering and combine it into a new field that is called bio convergence. It will be not just the development of nanomaterials, but it will be more focused on applications in biofuels, electronics, and health research. The new syntheses of the smart materials unit, which we are planning to establish, should play a key role in this transformation.” A Multidisciplinary View Promoting collaboration and interdisciplinary research within the nano department is a key priority, says Perelshtein. She believes that the sum of the whole is greater than its parts, highlighting the importance of multidisciplinary interactions and connections among Principal Investigators (PIs). “The goal is to communicate the clear benefits that mutual collaboration brings,” she asserts. As part of that process, Perelshtein intends to attract and retain top talent by defining the organization’s mission and vision clearly. Creating a positive work environment and emphasizing professional growth and development are crucial, as are acknowledging employees’ outstanding contributions and supporting initiatives that give back to the community. The institute’s business development approach aims to strengthen collaborations with industry partners, as well. This involves preparing and distributing marketing materials, proactively building connections with potential customers, and utilizing successful graduates as intermediaries. Clear and measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are crucial, as are initiatives for mutual grant submissions with industry partners. To ensure the institute remains at the forefront of cutting-edge research, Dr. Perelshtein highlights the importance of relevant equipment and knowledge. Measurable targets and performance metrics will be used to assess progress toward the vision of becoming the initial contact for industry and research institutes seeking cooperation and services. In promoting a synergistic research environment, workshops will be initiated to facilitate multidisciplinary interactions and connections within PIs. Additionally, the institute’s capabilities will be proactively presented to industry partners, fostering synergy within BINA as a comprehensive solution provider. Inclusion and Success As a female leader in a traditionally maledominated field, Dr. Perelshtein seeks to create supportive conditions, such as work-life balance, to promote diversity and inclusion. She believes in empowering her team to succeed on their own merits. Regarding more women in the fields of research and management, “women, in general, are multidisciplinary and are excellent candidates for combining management skills, wide perspectives in research, and writing skills,” she suggests. Dr. Perelshtein’s leadership promises to elevate the Nanotechnology Institute at Bar-Ilan University to new heights, combining innovation, collaboration, and diversity for a brighter future.


18 The Interplay of Light and Matter: How Dr. Tamar Goldzak is Illuminating BINA The interplay of light and matter has a broad range of applications, from everyday technologies like eyeglasses and photography to advanced fields like quantum optics, laser technology, and spectroscopy. It’s a fundamental aspect of understanding how light interacts with the world around us and plays a vital role in both basic science and practical applications. New Facu l ty :

19 Dr. Tamar Goldzak has recently become a valuable addition to both Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Engineering and the BINA community, marking a significant development for these esteemed institutions. Juggling her roles as a mother and a dedicated career professional, Goldzak is enthusiastic about her new appointments and is poised to make a substantial impact. Goldzak’s academic journey reflects her unwavering commitment to excellence. She began with a double bachelor’s degree in material engineering and chemistry at The Technion, followed by a PhD at the – RBNI (Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute) under the guidance of Prof. Nimrod Moiseyev. After her doctoral pursuits, Goldzak embarked on two postdoctoral fellowships in the United States, one at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the other at Columbia University. Her research focuses on the intricate interactions between light and matter in materials, utilizing quantum electronic structure simulations to predict material properties. “Our lab strives to understand and predict how the atomic structure of molecules and materials influences the optoelectronic and mechanical properties of materials,” Goldzak explains. This research has broad implications, from controlling chemical reactions on surfaces to improving optoelectronic device performance and discovering novel quantum materials. At the forefront of material science, Goldzak’s laboratory employs advanced computational tools to simulate material properties, electronic transfer mechanisms, and chemical reactions, with a primary focus on nanomaterials and 2D quantum materials. Some key questions her lab is exploring include the impact of defects, interfaces, or surfaces on the electronic structure in nanomaterials and the potential unveiling of novel quantum materials and phenomena through theoretical and computational tools. Goldzak’s passion extends to nanomaterials that interact with light for various optoelectronic applications, ranging from energy efficiency to quantum information. Notable examples include colloidal quantum dots (the discovery of which was recognized with the awarding of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry) and 2D materials, both of which exhibit quantum confinement effects. These materials have the potential to serve as single photon emitters, a critical component for qubits and other photoelectric quantum detectors. Computational simulations play a pivotal role in predicting their structure and spectroscopic properties, advancing the quest for efficient single photon emitters. Goldzak envisions a bright future for nanomaterials. “I think nanomaterials are here to stay,” she states. She believes their most promising applications lie in advancing electronic devices with a focus on energy conservation, quantum information applications, photovoltaic solutions for green energy, and medical devices. As part of her commitment to the academic community, Goldzak is excited to engage with students in the coming semester. She plans to offer opportunities for bachelor students to participate in her research projects and is also teaching a course on Electronic Structure Methods for Molecules and Materials. The course involves hands-on simulations of molecular and material properties on a computer cluster in her lab, providing students with valuable practical experience. Collaboration is at the heart of Goldzak’s mission. She aims to work closely with experimental groups and students to deepen their understanding of atomic structures and electronic properties of nanomaterials. Additionally, she is determined to inspire and support more women in her field, acknowledging the need for increased gender diversity in academia’s upper echelons. “I want to keep encouraging women to go into this field,” she says. “If younger women are inspired by my journey, we can push the percentages of women in the higher levels of academia.” Looking ahead, Goldzak has ambitious longterm goals. She aspires to build a vibrant and diverse research group that contributes to the nanotechnology community’s profound understanding of electronic processes and properties. Ultimately, she hopes to discover novel materials that can revolutionize quantum information and clean energy applications. Goldzak’s arrival at Bar-Ilan marks a significant milestone. Her dedication to advancing the field of nanotechnology, her commitment to student engagement, and her passion for encouraging gender diversity are poised to leave a lasting impact on both the academic community and the world of science. “If younger women are inspired by my journey, we can push the percentages of women in the higher levels of academia”

20 Mirroring Pasteur: Dr. Assaf Ben Moshe and How Crystals Form Chiral Shapes New Facu l ty :

21 The past year has been amazingly productive for Dr. Assaf Ben Moshe. Marking his first year as faculty at Bar-Ilan’s Institute of Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials, Ben Moshe is flush with his first ERC grant that will enable him to study the chirality of crystals; and he is the proud “abba” to a second child born in June 2023. Ben Moshe is pursuing answers to questions about crystalline forms that were first articulated by Louis Pasteur in 1848. While investigating paratartaric acid, Pasteur discovered that it generated two types of crystals. One resembled the crystals found in tartaric acid, while the other was a mirrored version. These crystals were later termed “chiral,” derived from the Greek word “kheir,” meaning hand. To grasp chirality, imagine holding up two things in front of a mirror: a white golf ball and your hand. The mirror reflection of the ball looks just like the ball itself. If you take out that reflection and put it against the ball, they match perfectly. However, if you try the same with your hand, no matter how hard you try, the mirror image won’t fit into your real hand; they will always remain mirror images. Pasteur’s observations gave rise to the birth of modern stereochemistry and topics in crystallography that deal with the propagation of symmetry across length scales. Ben Moshe works with inorganic metallic and semiconducting materials that have beneficial applications in science and technology. “We focus on questions that relate to how these materials form, how they develop their shapes,” he explains. “We’re interested in the crystal growth mechanisms.” Using advanced nanotech tools to peer at crystals the size of a few nanometers to a few hundred nanometers allows Ben Moshe to approach the vital and historical question of how crystals form with a new perspective. “By working with nanoscale model systems, we have the ability to look at details of crystals at a very high resolution,” continues Ben Moshe. “Meaning, we can look at the crystal as it grows and eventually, as an end goal, we’ll understand where every atom is positioned at every point in time.” Ben Moshe’s upcoming research will focus on a nanoscale system using advanced electron microscopy to explore a unique phenomenon that he first observed as a postdoc at the University of California, Berkley. Unlike conventional cases, chiral crystals emerge from a system composed of chiral molecules, driven not by their inherent chirality, but rather by common imperfections present in crystals. The significance of these imperfections in shaping chiral forms has not been previously considered. The ERC project aims to delve extensively into the role of imperfections in the formation of chiral shapes which may potentially reevaluate Pasteur’s experiment and its interpretation. The primary objectives are twofold: • To gain a comprehensive insight into the broader relevance and significance of the newfound mechanism in the realm of scientific history. • From a synthetic perspective, the project seeks to harness the understanding of these imperfections to exert control over the growth of chiral-shaped crystals across a diverse range of materials. This manipulation of growth directionality—left or right—holds substantial promise for contemporary applications spanning asymmetric catalysis, optoelectronics, spintronics, and various other scientific domains. As Ben Moshe humbly clarifies, “We are trying to answer old questions with new tools.” “By working with nanoscale model systems, we have the ability to look at details of crystals at a very high resolution”

22 With an interdisciplinary focus that includes research in nanotechnology and the use of extensive equipment in BINA, Prof. Yossi Mandel is working to find solutions to vision problems that affect more than 200 million individuals worldwide. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition that affects the macula, the central part of the retina. The macula is responsible for central vision, which is essential for activities like reading, recognizing faces, and driving. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss among older adults. The prevalence of AMD increases with age, and it is expected to become an even more significant public health issue as the global population continues to age. As head of the School of Optometry and Vision Science, which is part of the Faculty of Life Sciences, and a member of BINA and the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Center, Mandel and his team of scientists and students use all the resources at their disposal to further their research on developing technologies for vision restoration. “Our main project is fabricating retinal prosthesis, a specific type that we called hybrid retinal prosthesis because it’s composed of both electrodes and living cells,” Mandel, who is an ophthalmologist (MD) and holds a PhD in Bioengineering, explains. “We manipulate specific cells that we differentiate from human embryonic stem cells into cells that can mediate the signal between electrodes and neurons.” The Visionary Who Cares about Your Vision: Prof. Yossi Mandel Uses the Nano Lab to Create Hybrid Retinal Implants

23 Mandel and his team perform many of the fabrication processes required in their research in BINA’s extensive nano center. “We’ve been using nanotech for quite a few years including photolithography coatings, imaging, electron microscopy imaging, imaging with light microscopy, confocal microscopy, and other tech in the center,” describes Mandel. “It’s a crucial infrastructure for our research.” In a recent article published in the Journal of Biological Engineering, entitled, “Optimizing the fabrication of a 3D high-resolution implant for neural stimulation,” published in August 2023, Mandel and his team describe working on the first step of the hybrid retinal implant - creating small electronic devices that can be implanted into the eye to stimulate the remaining neural cells. In this case, the devices can help restore vision. The work was completed as part of the PhD thesis of Gal Shpun and with the collaboration of two other BINA members, namely Prof. Zeev Zalevsky, dean of the Engineering faculty, and Prof. Doron Gerber, a group leader in the Faculty of Life Science. Making these devices is a tricky process, and Mandel has faced many challenges. The small implant for the eye is about 1 millimeter in size and has tiny gold electrodes, each located in the bottom of a tiny 15-micrometer microwell. These microwells are designed to host a neural cell, engineered from human embryonic cells. First tests have been conducted in the lab and on animals to make sure the implant is working correctly and won’t harm the eye. They also made the implant more compatible with the body’s cells by adding special molecules to it. In addition, Mandel is focused on the in-vivo and histological studies of implant integration in rat retinas. The implant was designed for neural stimulation and was tested in rats. Various challenges in the fabrication process were overcome, including optimizing UV exposure, improving gold electrode attachment to the SU-8 surface, avoiding thermal stress, addressing multilayer lithography issues, and ensuring successful implant release. Moreover, the implant was given bio-functional properties by introducing an RGD peptide to improve the connection between cells and electrodes. (The most extensively examined adhesive peptide in the realm of biomaterials is the tri-amino acid sequence known as arginine-glycine-aspartate or RGD). Experimental tests showed that the implant effectively stimulated the sub-retinal region in isolated retinas and displayed promising anatomical compatibility when integrated into the host retina of rats. These outcomes indicate the potential utility of these implants in the field of neural prosthetics. Mandel and his group detailed the fabrication process of a complex 3D implant and discussed the challenges faced, along with the solutions applied to address them. The paper also described the successful integration of the implant in both in-vitro and invivo settings, with no significant signs of immune reactions. The findings provide valuable insights for the development of neural prosthetic implants and other bio micro-devices. “Our hope is that we will have a new technology to enable people to see at high resolution and with high quality, but this will take quite a few years to produce,” Mandel explains. “We are using a mixture of biological technologies, stem cell technologies, CRISPR-Cas9, imaging, and neuro technologies to attract cells and to manipulate them from cells or from retinas. We are still not in human patient studies.” Mandel points to several clinical trials in the field of retinal prosthesis. “What I’m trying to do is the next generation of devices,” he asserts. “The capabilities of the equipment in the nano center are very profound and have a lot of proficiencies for fabrication.” Born in Eilat, Mandel pursued a 20-year career in the IDF Medical Corps and Ministry of Defense (MAFAT) before entering academia. He performed his postdoc at Stanford University under the guidance of Prof. Daniel Palanker, a world leader in the field of retinal prosthetics, before returning to Israel. This year marks his 10th anniversary at Bar-Ilan. “BINA has been instrumental in many of our research projects, and the use of the nano equipment has enabled our explorations to be cutting edge,” he declares. “It adds an amazing dimension to our work.” “Our main project is fabricating retinal prosthesis, a specific type that we called hybrid retinal prosthesis because it’s composed of both electrodes and living cells,”

24 Advancing Technologies and Collaborations A Glimpse into the Future of Nanofabrication

25 In the realm of cutting-edge technological advancements, Dr. Yossi Abulafia, the esteemed head of the nanofabrication unit at the Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University, has been at the forefront of innovation. With an eye on the challenges that lie ahead and a commitment to strengthening ties with the industry, Dr. Abulafia has been the driving force for the integration of diverse disciplines under the same technological roof. In the past few years, Dr. Abulafia provided insight into the group’s technological breakthroughs, industry collaborations, and the unique perspectives gained during the challenging year of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, this year’s discourse takes a forward-looking stance, delving into assessments for the years to come and how they are shaping the convergence of various technologies. The fabrication group, under Dr. Abulafia’s leadership, plays a pivotal role in enabling groundbreaking research in an array of innovative technological domains. One such domain that has garnered significant attention is bioelectronics, a field of multidisciplinary research that combines elements of chemistry, biology, physics, nanotechnology, and materials science. The technological aspect of manufacturing bioelectronic devices for research has several challenges: The typical dimensions of a microfluidic biochip, for example, is larger than the typical dimensions of microelectronics. In addition, the size of the devices on a biochip need to be smaller and require higher fabrication resolution. For example, the current technology for the fabrication of a microfluidic chip requires a resolution of microns. Hence, the integration of electronic or optical elements require fabrication with submicron resolution. These challenges underscore the critical importance of attaining high production yields to minimize defects and ensure optimal device performance. Moreover, the interdisciplinary nature of this pursuit demands seamless integration with fields like electronics and optics. “At the heart of our endeavor, prominent researchers from the Center for Nanotechnologies have been propelling research forward in tandem with the fabrication group,” explains Dr. Abulafia. “Their insights have been invaluable in defining the necessary equipment and processes to enable this fusion of disciplines.” Abulafia points to three colleagues in particular: Prof. Yossi Mandel, Head, Ophthalmic Science and Engineering Laboratory, Life Sciences; Prof. Doron Gerber, Microbiology and Virology, Life Sciences; and Prof. Orit Shefi, Neurobiological Systems Development, Faculty of Engineering. So, what tangible steps have been taken to push the boundaries of possibility? Here are some highlights of 2023 and beyond. Enhanced Workstations: Workstations have been upgraded to ensure a cleaner and more precise initial production stage, which is going to improve the production yield. “At the heart of our endeavor, prominent researchers from the Center for Nanotechnologies have been propelling research forward in tandem with the fabrication group”

26 Cross-Disciplinary Equipment Acquisition: • The NanoScribe Quantum X-Shape, a 3D printer with submicron resolution, has been acquired to facilitate the creation of structures for biodevices and optical/photonic devices. Its applications span a wide spectrum, from Prof. Mandel’s biodevices to TeraMount’s photo-electronic devices and is even used by start-ups like Quantum Source Labs and Spectralis. • The 4PICO, a lithographic-laser printer with submicron resolution, bridges the gap between micron and sub-micron scales, enabling the development of potential devices like high-resolution gratings. • The CellONE, a pL resolution cell printer for singlecell printing and sorting, bolsters the capabilities of the fabrication group. Empowering Project Leaders: Doctoral and student researchers have been trained and integrated as project leaders. These project leaders underwent interdisciplinary training, expanding their skill sets beyond their academic backgrounds to amplify the scope of their contributions. Noteworthy contributors include: Erel Lasnoy, who transitioned from D3 printing in Prof. Mandel’s lab to overseeing the NanoScribe; Dr. Madina Telkhozhayeva, leading projects in submicron measuring devices for KLA. Dr. Lev Brio, who has harnessed 3D printing expertise for the biofield and currently heads CellONE. As BINA steps into the future, a tantalizing prospect emerges for 2024. “I envision the addition of our new 3D printer as capable of producing conductive materials,” Abulafia enthuses. “This ambitious step would not only augment the bio/photonics integration enabled by NanoScribe but also pave the way for bio/electronics integration.” The aim, he says, is to consolidate all these endeavors under a single roof—the 3D printing center at the Nanotechnologies Institute in Bar-Ilan. This unified hub would also serve as an accelerator for biorelated start-up companies, a concept validated by the success of previous collaborations like ORYX, Spectralis, and SolarEdge. Beyond equipment utilization, such partnerships offer students opportunities for hands-on experience, enhance the center’s allure for prospective scholars, and contribute to refining production processes. “We are actively seeking to engage industrial partners, particularly start-ups focused on bio-related innovations, to join the nano center and embark on a journey of collaborative advancement,” Dr. Abulafia emphasizes. As the journey continues, it’s clear that technology and collaboration will shape the future of nanofabrication at Bar-Ilan University. Innovation thrives through partnerships, shared insights, and a strong commitment to progress. “We are actively seeking to engage industrial partners, particularly start-ups focused on bio-related innovations, to join the nano center and embark on a journey of collaborative advancement”

27 “This ambitious step would not only augment the bio/ photonics integration enabled by NanoScribe but also pave the way for bio/electronics integration”


29 The environmental impact of farming cows Meat production raises three pressing concerns that cannot be ignored. Firstly, there is the environmental impact, a looming crisis as the demand for meat surges worldwide. The colossal resource consumption, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with meat production strain our planet’s delicate balance. By creating a heat-trapping effect, these gases induce climate fluctuations that disproportionately impact species inhabiting arid regions. The repercussions of this climate alteration extend to encompass phenomena like extreme weather events: the escalation of wildfire occurrences, the exacerbation of drought conditions, punishing temperatures, and disruptions in the global supply of food. Secondly, the health implications are undeniable. Excessive meat consumption has been linked to various health issues, including heart disease and obesity. In addition, the unwarranted utilization of antibiotics to treat cattle and other animals raised for food might be responsible for the surge in resistant “Inspiration from nanotechnology was a huge overhaul in our thinking of how to give plant-based meat a natural appearance,” A new startup at Bar-Ilan University has the potential to revolutionize certain aspects of food technology and production. That’s what Prof. Hagay Shpaisman is counting on with the creation of Malanta Foods. Working with co-founder Dr. Udi Greenberg, the duo has created a solution to an ongoing problem within the plant-based alternative meat industry: how to fashion a fat-and-muscled marbleized consistency to whole cuts of alternative meat. As head of the Directed Materials Assembly Research Group at BINA, Shpaisman takes pride in thinking outside the box. “Our group’s name is broad,” he explains, citing the idea that there are “materials” everywhere. “No one actually tells you what to study, so working with Udi we hope to influence every palate and plate on the planet.” Israel is at the forefront of funding for vegan and alternative protein startups, securing more than $320 million in investments in 2022, according to the Israel Good Food Institute. Although the United States has garnered a larger sum of investments, surpassing $857 million thus far, Israel takes the lead in terms of proportion, emerging as a global frontrunner. Today, despite reports of a downturn in investments worldwide coupled with a wave of public hesitation as to the underlying quality of plant-based meat, Israel is still at the forefront of innovation in food tech. That’s good news for Shpaisman’s company and for the environment. Where’s the Beef? A New Startup Conquers the Food Industry

30 bacteria, commonly referred to as “superbugs.” When these bacteria are transmitted to humans, they have the potential to induce severe illnesses. Lastly, securing the meat supply chain in the face of unforeseen challenges, such as disease outbreaks, is a growing concern in our interconnected world. It’s evident that bringing animals to market, as it stands, appears to be an inefficient and unsustainable use of our precious natural resources. The ineffectiveness of protein production in animals is a significant concern in the face of a growing world population. Finding the solution Though he didn’t intend on entering the food tech industry, once he and Greenberg put their minds to it, finding the solution to producing plant-based cuts of meat that look, smell, and taste like the real thing, became an exciting challenge. “What’s available today from most of the companies producing meat alternatives is ground alternative meat,” Shpaisman clarifies. “We looked at the problem of how to include ‘marbleization’ to whole food cuts—giving it a texture like that of a steak by combining tiny features of fat inside a ‘muscle tissue,’ and orienting muscle fibers in the ‘right’ direction— and tried several ideas to find a solution.” Shpaisman reports that 60 percent of farm grown meat sold at market is whole meat cuts. What didn’t work the first or even the second time around in their trial-and-error experimentation started to coalesce when Shpaisman incorporated elements of his research in the nano realm into the problem at hand. “When we looked at tech that uses nano elements and makes structures in the nano-micro space, we said, ‘Wait, adapting this will work.’” “Inspiration from nanotechnology was a huge overhaul in our thinking of how to give plant-based meat a natural appearance,” he says. The process involved using plant-based alternative muscle, fat, and blood elements that are associated with meat to structure the end product in an affordable way where the flowing materials are controlled simultaneously and can be scaled industrially without additional cost. Once the company was formed, they turned to Soglowek for their know-how, development lab, and operational product lines. Established in 1937, this Israeli food powerhouse specializes in the production and distribution of baked goods, meats, vegetarian options, and packaged food items. Most notably, Soglowek holds the prominent position as the leading Israeli manufacturer of alternative meat products, achieved through their innovative Wonders of Nature line. By harnessing synergy of working with Soglowek, Malanta aims to ensure that its complete meat cuts closely match both the quality and affordability of traditionally farmed steaks. The link to Nanotech A strong interconnection exists between nanotechnology and food technology, yielding the potential to reshape various facets of food production, processing, packaging, and safety. For example, tailored nano sensors exhibit rapid and precise capabilities for detecting contaminants, pathogens, and spoilage. Such advancements reinforce food safety measures and uphold stringent quality standards. Nanostructures also provide a platform for enhancing nutrient solubility, stability, and bioavailability. This lays the foundation for fortified foods enriched with superior nutritional content. Utilizing nanoscale emulsions and gels can lead to a smoother mouthfeel and heightened taste perception. “We looked at all the technologies out there, and we said, ‘There must be a better solution to our problem,’” Shpaisman explains. “When we looked at tech that uses nano elements and makes structures in the nano-micro space, we said, ‘Wait, adapting this will work.’”