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Nanotechnology Spotlight

Behind the buzz and beyond the hype:
Our Nanowerk-exclusive feature articles

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Showing Spotlights 1 - 8 of 1852 in category All (newest first):

 

Nanowrinkles are key to stretchable superhydrophobic surfaces

superhydrophobicsSuperhydrophobic surfaces that can also withstand mechanical deformation such as bending and stretching are important for applications such as robust self-cleaning, water-resistant electronics, and flexible microfluidics. Researchers have now reported the design of 3D hierarchical wrinkle substrates that can maintain their superhydrophobicity even after being repeatedly stretched. This is made possible by using monolithic, multi-scale PDMS nanowrinkles that can exhibit stretchable superhydrophobicity using high fidelity pattern transfer.

Posted: May 5th, 2016

Novel nanostructure improves photothermal therapy of deep tumors

hollow_sphereMoS2 nanosheets have shown great prospect as a near-infrared light (NIR) absorbing agent for PTT applications due to their unique photoelectric property, low cost and good biocompatibility. However, the absorbance of nanosheets in the NIR region is not specific and strong, and the photothermal conversion efficiency of MoS2 based materials need to be enhanced. In new work, researchers have proposed a novel MoS2 nanostructure, i.e. layered MoS2 hollow spheres (LMHSs), for improving their near-infrared absorption and photothermal conversion efficiency.

Posted: Apr 28th, 2016

Dendrite-free lithium metal batteries through evenly distributed lithium ions

lithium_ionsToday, the best performing battery in terms of specific energy and specific power is the secondary lithium-metal (Li-metal). However, uncontrolled dendrite growth during Li depositing/stripping in rechargeable Li metal based batteries has prevented their practical applications over the past 40 years. To address this issue, researchers have now proposed a novel method of modulating the lithium ion adsorption to suppress lithium dendrite growth by employing glass fiber as solid electrolytes with plenty of polar functional groups as the interlayer between Li metal anode and routine polymer separator.

Posted: Apr 19th, 2016

New phenomena in the ultrasonic scattering in nanofluids

nanofluidicsUltrasonics is a promising, non-invasive characterization technique for fluids. The scattering of ultrasound through colloidal suspensions allows determination of accurate particle size distribution, density, and concentration. Controlling these properties enables accurate characterization of nanomedicine drugs and understanding of nanoparticles present in biological systems. Ultrasound is particularly helpful in analyzing optically opaque samples, which have to be heavily diluted in order to be analyzed with optical methods. New work demonstrates for the first time new phenomena in the ultrasonic scattering in nanofluids.

Posted: Apr 15th, 2016

Phosphorene as a promising anchoring material for lithium-sulfur batteries

phosphoreneLithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries, which employ sulfur as cathode and metallic lithium as anode materials, have been extensively studied as promising alternatives to the widely used lithium-ion batteries because - theoretically - they can render 3-6 times higher energy density. In practice, though, it has proven challenging to approach that theoretical value. Specifically, the rapid capacity fading, low Coulombic efficiency, and irreversible loss of active materials have impeded large-scale commercial use of Li-S batteries. Researchers now have shown that trapping lithium polysulfide species on (nanoscale) host materials is an effective way to overcome these challenges.

Posted: Apr 14th, 2016

Novel 2D spacer materials for surface plasmon coupled emission sensing

spacer_layerNanomaterials like graphene and fullerenes provide an excellent platform to enhance weak signals from biomarkers. While graphene and fullerenes perform very well for detecting isolated biomarkers, their ability to amplify emission of biomarkers in a real physiological milieu is limited due to their strong interactions with other biomolecules such as proteins and lipids. A team of researchers now have developed new sensing platforms that use two-dimensional materials beyond graphene.

Posted: Apr 11th, 2016

An analogue smart skin that is self-powered

smart_skinIn order to make robots and robotic technology more human-like and more human-friendly, smart skin technology is a critical element that helps robots sense the world. These electronic or smart skins could help machines to accurately perceive the environment and better assist human owners. By applying the triboelectric effect and planar electrostatic induction, researchers for the first time have created a self-powered analogue smart skin.

Posted: Apr 8th, 2016

Ionic purity of nanoparticles is key to switching between purification and contamination regimes in liquid crystal devices

liquid_crystalModern liquid crystals devices utilize high resistivity liquid crystals characterized by negligibly small concentration of mobile ions. However, these devices are prone to uncontrolled ionic contamination. This contamination can easily happen at any stage of the device fabrication or while operating the device. Ions in liquid crystals can compromise the overall performance of the device by leading to many negative side effects such as image sticking, image flickering, and slow response. Solving these problems requires the development of new methods, suitable for the permanent purification of liquid crystals from ions.

Posted: Mar 30th, 2016