Researchers have approached the preparation of artificial analogs of nacre by using various methods and the resulting materials have captured some of the characteristics of the natural composite - but so far never have fully replicated it. Now, researchers have reported the first successful attempt to mimic the structure of nacre while maintaining the same characteristic geometry, aspect ratio and phase proportions. They used 10-20 nm thick layered double hydroxide (LDH) platelets with an aspect ratio similar to the aragonite platelets in nacre and 'glued' them together with a simple organic 'mortar' (PSS).
Researchers have successfully used amorphous metal tungsten nitride to demonstrate nanoelectromechanical switches that are capable of sub-1 volt operation. In the past, attaining sub-1 volt operation at dynamic state and faster switching was extremely difficult. These efforts required the use of very expensive lithography systems to pattern nanoscale free-hanging switches. This is the first ever demonstration of a 3-terminal NEM switch.
Applying multivariate statistical techniques to the study of nanocarbons, researchers have presented a methodology to identify nanoparticles with unique combinations of features and, in general, a feasible way of in silico characterization of intractable nanomaterial spaces. These analyses are based on structural features characterizing geometry, interatomic distances, bond angle, surface-to-volume ratio, carbon-to-hydrogen ratio, and hybridization fraction; many of which can be preselected without undertaking expensive electronic structure simulations.
While 'conventional' water contaminants can be cleaned up by state-of-the-art technologies with filtration and condensation processes, this is not the case for nanoscale pollutants. Researchers have demonstrated that water contaminated with nanomaterials can be cleaned up by a 'hand shaking' approach that can be performed even in a kitchen. This simple technique can be used for many one-dimensional and two-dimensional nanomaterials including nanotubes, nanowires, graphene, and nanosheets.
Catalytic nanoparticles play a crucial role in accelerating chemical reactions by offering their active sites and surfaces. Fine-tuning their surface structure during synthesis and phase transformations can enhance their catalytic activity and durability by manifolds. However, control and feedback on the synthesis/transformation studies demand characterization techniques that can provide structural and compositional information on the atomic level.
The two major problems with lithium-sulfur batteries stem from the intrinsic inert reaction kinetics of sulfur redox and the unique 'shuttle' mechanism described as that soluble intermediates - polysulfides consisting of lithium-terminated sulfur-chains - diffuse between the cathode and anode, thus being consumed within the battery instead of being utilized. To solve these issues and to improve battery performance relies on not only the electrode materials but also other cell components such as the separator.
Imagine the possibility of non-invasive, non-radiation based Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in combating cardiac disease. Researchers are developing a process that would use nanotechnology in a novel, targeted approach that would allow MRIs to be more descriptive and brighter, and to target specific organs. By using nanoparticle-based MRI positive contrast agents, you can specifically target different tissues or organs, you can control active component loading, and you can generate bright or hyperintense anatomical view of the tissue.
The capture silk used in spider webs consists of axial fiber coated with glue droplets at regular intervals. The spider glue has a unique property that its adhesion is humidity responsive such that for some species the adhesion keeps on increasing up to 100% relative humidity. This is unlike synthetic adhesives that fail under humid conditions. From a polymer science perspective, researchers are interested in understanding the principle behind humidity responsive adhesion of spider glue to create adhesives that work in high humidity conditions.