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Exploring state oversight and regulatory needs on emerging nanomaterial use

Health and safety concerns associated with the use of nanomaterials warrant precautionary measures, but few state agencies are equipped with the knowledge needed for oversight and regulation of the use nanomaterials, minute particles of matter considerably smaller than the width of a human hair, according to a Southeastern Louisiana University occupational health and safety specialist.

Posted: Jun 7th, 2011

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New chemical method paves the way for making a greater variety of light-sensitive materials that was not possible before

Scientists from Singapore's Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) and National University of Singapore (NUS) have created a new chemical method that enables the development of a variety of tiny light conducting metal-semiconductor contacts. These light-sensitive nano-sized components could help create bioimaging labels as well as better photocatalysts used in fuel cells.

Posted: Jun 7th, 2011

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Neutron analysis explains dynamics behind best thermoelectric materials

Neutron analysis of the atomic dynamics behind thermal conductivity is helping scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory gain a deeper understanding of how thermoelectric materials work. The analysis could spur the development of a broader range of products with the capability to transform heat to electricity.

Posted: Jun 6th, 2011

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Imaging of surface plasmons may be a lot easier than you thought

An unusual observation turned into a scientific breakthrough when K.U.Leuven researchers investigating the optical properties of nanomaterials discovered that so-called surface plasmons leave imprints on the surface of the nanostructures. This leads to a new type of high resolution microscopy for imaging the electric fields of nanostructures.

Posted: Jun 6th, 2011

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How to apply conductive nanocoatings to textiles

Imagine plugging a USB port into a sheet of paper, and turning it into a tablet computer. It might be a stretch, but ideas like this have researchers at North Carolina State University examining the use of conductive nanocoatings on simple textiles - like woven cotton or even a sheet of paper.

Posted: Jun 6th, 2011

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Introductory video to solar cells

How do solar cells convert sunlight into electricity? If you are new to solar cells, here is a great introductory video from the VegaScience Trust's great Instructional Science and Engineering Videos series by Jonathan Hare.

Posted: Jun 6th, 2011

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Microscopy with a quantum tip

The heart of a scanning probe microscope is a moveable, suspended tip, which, like the needle on a record player, reacts to small height variations on the surface, and turns these into signals that can be displayed on a computer. Researchers have now been able to create this tip, not out of solid material, as in the case of the record player, but out of an ultra-cold, dilute gas of atoms. To do this, they cooled an especially pure gas of rubidium atoms to a temperature less than a millionth of a degree above absolute zero temperature, and stored the atoms in a magnetic trap. This 'quantum tip' can be precisely positioned and enables the probing of nanostructured surfaces.

Posted: Jun 6th, 2011

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New battery design could give electric vehicles a jolt

A radically new approach to the design of batteries, developed by researchers at MIT, could provide a lightweight and inexpensive alternative to existing batteries for electric vehicles and the power grid. The technology could even make 'refueling' such batteries as quick and easy as pumping gas into a conventional car.

Posted: Jun 6th, 2011

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