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Nanotechnology Spotlights

Understanding springs at the nanoscale: a step towards nanorobots

nanospringInspired by nature's ingenious biological designs, researchers have persistently attempted to mimic these biofunctionalities to bring technological breakthroughs. One of these morphologies - the unique shape of a helical coil - is not only interesting from a scientific standpoint but also pivotal, offering DNA its distinctive properties and propelling flagella in viscous fluids, to name a few. With the advent of personalized...

Posted: Oct 31, 2014

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2D molybdenum disulfide: a promising new optical material for ultra-fast photonics

MoS2Molybdenum disulfide's (MoS2) semiconducting ability, strong light-matter interaction and similarity to graphene makes it of interest to scientists as a viable alternative in the manufacture of electronics, particularly photoelectronics. In pushing towards practical optical applications of two-dimensional (2D) MoS2, an essential gap on understanding the nonlinear optical response of 2D MoS2 and how it interacts with light,...

Posted: Oct 30, 2014

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A nano-thermodynamic look at gold-copper alloys

nanoparticlesGold-copper alloys are very popular catalysts in nanotechnology, for instance to efficiently convert carbon dioxide or to help fabricate a more powerful and longer lasting fuel cell material. This alloy exhibits novel physical and chemical properties at the nanoscale. Although the Au-Cu alloy has been extensively studied in the literature both at the bulk and nanoscales, the prediction of phase diagrams at the nanoscale has...

Posted: Oct 29, 2014

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A nanorobotics platform for nanomanufacturing

nanomotor_lithographyThe complexity and high cost of the state-of-the-art high-resolution lithographic systems are prompting unconventional routes for nanoscale manufacturing. Inspired by natural nanomachines, synthetic nanorobots have recently demonstrated remarkable performance and functionality. Nanoengineers now have invented a new nano-patterning approach, named Nanomotor Lithography, which translates the autonomous movement trajectories...

Posted: Oct 28, 2014

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Direct chemical contrast in STM imaging becomes available with new technique

nanoclustersResearchers have demonstrated a new imaging technique that is a marriage between two powerful methods and it promises simultaneous spatial and elemental information of the samples down to the atomic scale. By combining scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) with synchrotron X-ray microscopy, there is now an instrument (SX-STM) that has the potential to perform all the applications of STM and X-rays in a single setting at the...

Posted: Oct 27, 2014

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A nanoparticle-based alternative to Viagra

ViagraThe majority of men who undergo radical prostatectomy for the treatment of prostate cancer will suffer from erectile dysfunction due to disruption of the cavernous nerve. This nerve has been identified as responsible for penile erection. The oral erectogenic PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra rely on the functioning of this nerve to provide the initial burst of nitric oxide necessary to initiate an erection. In this condition nanotechnology...

Posted: Oct 24, 2014

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Graphene-based biomimetic soft robotics platform

soft_roboticsAmong the various robotic actuation mechanisms driven by different stimuli, light-driven systems have garnered more and more attention due to their advantages in wireless/remote control, localized rather than whole-field driven capabilities, and electrical/mechanical decoupling. Inspired by the photothermal effect of graphene in biomedical applications, researchers have now demonstrated an easily fabricated and remote/wireless...

Posted: Oct 23, 2014

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Ultra-stretchable silicon for flexible electronics (w/video)

silicon_springResearchers have demonstrated ultra-stretchability in monolithic single-crystal silicon. The design is based on an all silicon-based network of hexagonal islands connected through spiral springs. The resulting single-spiral structures can be stretched to a ratio more than 1000%, while remaining below a 1.2% strain. Moreover, these network structures have demonstrated area expansions as high as 30 folds in arrays. This method...

Posted: Oct 21, 2014

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