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Nanotechnology Spotlight

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

Showing Spotlights 89 - 96 of 1604 in category (newest first):

 

Nanotechnology approach to corrosion sensing coatings

corrosion_detectionDifferent strategies for creation of self-healing coatings to prevent corrosion degradation have been suggested. The goal is to significantly reduce the maintenance costs in many industrial applications by applying active sensing coatings. Today we look at a novel sensing coating on the basis of nanocapsules containing pH-indicating agent. The main idea of this work is to create a novel active protective coating which is able to indicate when corrosion processes start under the coatings or in different defects.

Posted: Sep 30th, 2013

Making inorganic solar cells with an airbrush spray

sprayThere is currently a tremendous amount of interest in the solution processing of inorganic materials. Low cost, large area deposition of inorganic materials could revolutionize the fabrication of solar cells, LEDs, and photodetectors. The most common methods currently used for film formation are spin coating and dip coating, which provide uniform thin films but limit the geometry of the substrate used in the process. The same nanocrystal solutions used in these procedures can also be sprayed using an airbrush, enabling larger areas and multiple substrates to be covered much more rapidly. The trade-off is the roughness and uniformity of the film, both of which can be substantially higher. Researchers have now attempted to quantify these differences for a single-layer solar cell structure, and found the main difference to be a reduction in the open circuit voltage of the device.

Posted: Sep 25th, 2013

Synaptic electronics

synaptic_computingThe idea of building bio-inspired cognitive adaptive solid-state devices has been around for decades. It forms the basis for synaptic electronics, a field of research that aims to build artificial synaptic devices to emulate the computation performed by biological synapses. Synapses dominate the architecture of the brain and are responsible for massive parallelism, structural plasticity, and robustness of the brain. They are also crucial to biological computations that underlie perception and learning. Therefore, a compact nanoelectronic device emulating the functions and plasticity of biological synapses will be the most important building block of brain-inspired computational systems. Now, a new review looks at the recent progress of synaptic electronics.

Posted: Sep 24th, 2013

Nanotechnology manufacturers: Graphene

grapheneAn increasing number of companies is involved in commercializing graphene on an industrial scale although the high cost of graphene is one of the major obstacles to its widespread adoption for commercial applications. The Nanomaterial Database we also list commercial graphene products and we keep a list of graphene manufacturers and suppliers that is constantly updated. Currently, this list contains 40 companies which are listed in this article.

Posted: Sep 19th, 2013

Using a smartphone to detect single nanoparticles and viruses

smartphone_microscopyOptical imaging of nanoscale objects, whether it is based on scattering or fluorescence, is a challenging task due to reduced detection signal-to-noise-ratio and contrast at sub-wavelength dimensions. While advances in light microscopy have led to techniques that can image individual nanoparticles, these methods rely on relatively sophisticated and expensive microscopy systems. Researchers have now created a field-portable fluorescence microscopy platform installed on a smartphone for imaging of individual nanoparticles as well as viruses using a light-weight and compact opto-mechanical attachment to the existing camera module of the cellphone.

Posted: Sep 17th, 2013

A new class of high-energy rechargeable batteries - molten air

electrodeOxygen is an advantageous battery storage material as it is freely available from the air and does not need to be carried with the other battery components. Unlike the lithium-ion batteries used today, lithium-oxygen batteries do not require metal oxide cathodes to produce electrochemical power, instead generating power from reactions with oxygen in the atmosphere. A new class of rechargeable batteries - 'molten air' batteries - suses highly conductive molten electrolytes and very high capacity multiple electron compounds such as carbon and vanadium diboride. Unlike prior rechargeable molten batteries, the molten air battery is not burdened by the weight of the active chargeable cathode material.

Posted: Sep 16th, 2013

Plasmonic nanocircuits enable optics on a microchip

plasmonic_nanocircuitA team of researchers in Germany and the U.S. demonstrates that it is possible to operate extremely compact optical circuits on the nanoscale, a size scale that makes it compatible and potentially competitive with state-of-the-art electronic microchips, while substantially reducing the limiting factor of heating loss and while strongly increasing the efficiency to funnel infrared laser light into these circuits with a novel design of optical nanoantennas.

Posted: Sep 13th, 2013

On route to building flexible high-performance computers

flexible_waferNotwithstanding the red-hot research area of flexible electronics, today's state-of-the-art electronic devices rely on rigid and brittle mono-crystalline silicon based transistors which are unmatched with regard to low-cost production, high-performance computing, and ultra-low power consumption. Researchers have now developed a low-cost generic batch process using a state-of-the-art CMOS process to transform conventional silicon electronics into flexible and transparent electronics while retaining its high-performance, ultra-large-scale-integration density and cost.

Posted: Sep 11th, 2013