Future electronics will look nothing like today's rigid boxes, be they the latest smartphones, tablets, or computers. Instead, they will be extremely light, soft, flexible, transparent, and integrated into everyday objects like paper or fabrics. These advanced electronic systems will be fabricated on soft substrates by integrating multiple crucial components such as logic and memory devices as well as their power supply. Researchers have now successfully demonstrated a rewritable, transferable, and flexible sticker-type organic memory on arbitrary nonconventional substrates through a simple, low-temperature and cost-effective one-step methodology.
For microprobes, both the pick-up and placement are challenging due to the adherent forces. For microgrippers, the pick-up is easier and secure due to the gripping motion, but the placement is still difficult. When a microgripper opens its gripping fingers, the microobject still adheres to one of the fingers by strong adhesion forces. Owing to force scaling laws, the adhesion forces at the microscale - capillary forces, van der Waals forces, and electrostatic forces - dominate gravity. To overcome these challenges, researchers have developed a manufacturing route to three dimensional silicon microsystems, which they termed 'micro-masonry', based on individual manipulation.
Technology in our lives is ever more based on miniaturized structures that deliver higher performance devices taking up a fraction of the space compared to several years ago. But seeing what is going on at these tiny length scales comparable to molecules is very hard. Normally light cannot be used since it is not focused tightly enough, limited by the optical wavelength which is much larger than the structures we want to observe. New research suggests that tightly squeezing light into small gaps in metallic nanostructures now provides a way to circumvent this problem.
Epigenetic mechanisms are chemical changes in DNA that do not alter the actual genetic code but can influence the expression of genes, and can be passed on when cells reproduce. One of the most important is DNA methylation, where methyl groups - small structures of carbon and hydrogen - are appended to specific locations on a DNA strand. Recently, both biological and synthetic nanopores have been proposed for DNA methylation detection. In new work, researchers employed protein nanopores to investigate a novel metal ion-bridged DNA interstrand lock, and explore its potential in location-specific methylation detection.
Any coating, no matter how durable, is susceptible to physical and chemical damages. Self-healing, which has become a popular theme in the field of material science, can endow coatings with ability to recover their surface properties after being damaged. New work demonstrates that a superamphiphobic fabric with remarkable multi self-healing ability against both physical and chemical damages and exceptional liquid-repellency to low surface-tension liquids including ethanol can be achieved through a two-step wet-chemistry coating technique.
While nanotechnology combines the knowledge of physics, chemistry and engineering, AI has heavily relied on biological inspiration to develop some of its most effective paradigms such as neural networks or evolutionary algorithms. Bridging the link between current nanosciences and AI can boost research in these disciplines and provide a new generation of information and communication technologies that will have a large impact in our society, probably providing the means so that technology and biology merge
The realization of a three-dimensional atomic force microscopy portends exciting research directions across nanoscience and nanotechnology. Demonstrations to date have been limited by the indirect means that are required to extract a three-dimensional force vector from the traditional 1D observable in AFM (i.e., cantilever deflection). Existing 3D AFM techniques require recording thousands of frequency shift curves at different lateral locations followed by off-line integration (to yield energy) and lateral differentiation (to yield lateral force). This procedure is inherently slow. In new work, researchers now report 3D force measurements based on a 3D local observable, rather than on cantilever deflection alone.
Graphene-based nanomaterials have many promising applications in energy-related areas. In particular, there are four major energy-related areas where graphene will have an impact: solar cells, supercapacitors, lithium-ion batteries, and catalysis for fuel cells. Graphene could be a promising replacement material for indium tin oxide. A recent review provides an overview of research on graphene and its derivatives, with a particular focus on synthesis, properties, and applications in solar cells.