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Nanotechnology Spotlights

Nanotechnology in the 'green' economy - opportunities and risks

green_economyA new review article examines opportunities and practical challenges that nanotechnology applications pose in addressing the guiding principles for a green economy. There is a general perception that nanotechnologies will have a significant impact on developing 'green' and 'clean' technologies with considerable environmental benefits. The associated concept of green nanotechnology aims to exploit nanotech-enabled innovations...

Posted: Nov 18, 2014

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Graphene electrodes for simultaneous electrophysiology and neuroimaging

neuron_imagingStudying the complex wiring of neural circuits and identifying the details of how individual neural circuits operate in epilepsy and other neurological disorders requires real-time observation of their locations, firing patterns, and other factors. These observations depend on high-resolution optical imaging and electrophysiological recording. Researchers have now developed a completely transparent graphene microelectrode...

Posted: Nov 13, 2014

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Nanoimprint lithography for the fabrication of efficient low band gap polymer solar cells

nanogratingsIn recent years, polymer solar cells have drawn considerable research interest due to their attractive features including flexibility, semi-transparency, and manufacturability using cost-effective continuous printing processes. However, one challenge limiting their commercialization is the relatively low power conversion efficiency when compared to inorganic solar cells. New work shows that low bandgap polymer solar cells...

Posted: Nov 12, 2014

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Optical transmittance of multilayer graphene films

grapheneResearchers are confident that graphene may outperform existing transparent conductive materials. However, monolayer graphene might not be sufficient for fabricating a highly conductive electrode. The dilemma is that the transmittance of graphene film decreases as the number of layers increases. It therefore is of great importance to have a fast and reliable method to determine the number of layers in the fabrication and measurement...

Posted: Nov 11, 2014

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Fully 3D-printed quantum dot LEDs

QLEDResearchers have demonstrated that they can print interwoven structures of quantum dots, polymers, metal nanoparticles, etc, to create the first fully 3D printed LEDs, in which every component is 3D printed. At the fundamental level, 3D printing should be entirely capable of creating spatially heterogeneous multi-material structures by dispensing a wide range of material classes with disparate viscosities and functionalities,...

Posted: Nov 05, 2014

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The photothermal response of nano-devices: Electrons rolling 'uphill' in a carbon nanotube

cnt_deviceThere has been a long debate in the nanotube community regarding the photocurrent generation mechanisms in individual nanotube devices. In early optoelectronic studies with single-walled carbon nanotubes, the interpretation of photocurrent was mostly based on photovoltaic mechanisms. In new work, researchers use the extra tunability of a double-gated device to conclusively demonstrate that strong photothermal effects are present...

Posted: Nov 04, 2014

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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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