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Nanotechnology Spotlights

An all-carbon optical diode for photonic computing

doped_grapheneResearchers have demonstrated the experimental realization of the first all-carbon optical diode that is ready for scalable integration along with being inherently broadband in operation with no restrictions on polarization or phase-matching criteria. As they show, harnessing the optical properties of graphene-based materials offers an opportunity to create the all-photonic analogs of diodes, transistors, and photonic logic...

Posted: Sep 01, 2014

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Using nanotechnology to regulate gene expression at the transcriptional level

nanoparticleGene transcription is tightly regulated by proteins called transcription factors. These transcription factor (TF) proteins are master regulators of transcriptional activity and gene expression. Transcription factors are responsible for transcribing the correct genes and therefore for producing the right quantity of proteins. TF-based gene regulation is a promising approach for many biological applications, however, several...

Posted: Aug 28, 2014

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Nanotechnology in agriculture

agricultureNanotechnology applications are currently being researched, tested and in some cases already applied across the entire spectrum of food technology, from agriculture to food processing, packaging and food supplements. Specifically in agriculture, technical innovation is of importance with regard to addressing global challenges such as population growth, climate change and the limited availability of important plant nutrients....

Posted: Aug 25, 2014

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How to identify nanomaterials in food

applesNanotechnology, specifically nanomaterial engineering, has begun to find applications in agriculture and the food industry. Some nanomaterials have unique physicochemical properties that can be exploited for beneficial effects on foods, leading to increased shelf life, enhanced flavor release, and increased absorption of nutrients and other bioactive components. The ability to detect and to measure a given nanomaterial at...

Posted: Aug 22, 2014

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Turning nanoporous metal into a nanopump by electrically controlling surface tension

nanopumpThe capillarity-driven uptake of liquids by porous solids can be experienced in daily life, e.g., when a sponge or fabric absorbs water. This spontaneous imbibition or capillary rise phenomenon is also one of the most vivid manifestations of the capillarity of liquids: surface tension. Researchers have now demonstrated a strategy for achieving control over the imbibition kinetics. They show that this process can be switched...

Posted: Aug 20, 2014

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Self-powered micropumps respond to glucose levels

insulin_pumpResearchers have demonstrated an active glucose-responsive self-powered fluidic pump based on transesterification reaction of acyclic diol boronate with glucose. The scientific principle of the project is to use well-known glucose/boronate chemistry to design a self-powered micropump device. Instead of synthesizing some new molecules with glucose/boronate reaction, a miniature pump utilizes the energy of this chemical reaction...

Posted: Aug 19, 2014

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Direct and label-free discrimination of cytosine and its modifications utilizing silver ions in nanopores

DNACytosine (C) modifications such as 5-methylcytosine (mC) and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (hmC) are important epigenetic markers associated with gene expression and tumorigenesis. However, bisulfite conversion, the gold standard methodology for mC mapping, can not distinguish mC and hmC bases. Recent studies have demonstrated hmC detection via peptide recognizing, enzymes, fluorescence and hmC-specific antibodies - nevertheless,...

Posted: Aug 15, 2014

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Upconverting synthetic leaf takes it cues from nature

synthetic_leafA large part of low-energy photons, such as in the deep-red and infrared, are lost during conventional photovoltaic or photochemical processes. However, about half of all the solar energy reaching the Earth's surface can be found in these wavelengths. Harvesting this light more efficiently is possible thanks to a process called photon energy upconversion. Researchers now have successfully synthesized a bioinspired upconverting...

Posted: Aug 14, 2014

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