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Nanotechnology Spotlight

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

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Showing Spotlights 121 - 128 of 1648 in category (newest first):

 

Graphene controls color of nano-sandwiches

gold_nanosandwichTechnology 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.

Posted: Oct 22nd, 2013

Nanopore sensor could advance epigenetic cancer biomarker detection

nanoporeEpigenetic 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.

Posted: Oct 21st, 2013

Nanocoated fabric is super-repellent and self-healing

repellent_fabricAny 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.

Posted: Oct 18th, 2013

Artificial intelligence (AI) in nanotechnology research

artificial_intelligenceWhile 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

Posted: Oct 15th, 2013

Robust 3D atomic force microscopy without the need for lateral scanning

3D_positioningThe 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.

Posted: Oct 14th, 2013

Nanotechnology for solar cell applications - graphene-based materials

grapheneGraphene-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.

Posted: Oct 10th, 2013

Covetics - Rare new hybrid fuses nanocarbons and metal in bond stronger than sp2

latticeCovetics - this new class of materials marks a game-changer for engineers and designers that have long sought to combine high-strength carbon with metal in their pursuit to improve metal's performance. For the first time the hybrid fuses nanocarbons and metal in a bond that is stronger than graphene-like sp2 carbon bonds. To create covetics, its inventors developed a new method of carbon catalyzation which uses molten metal and metal alloys as an ionizing medium. Nanocarbon structures form in situ while bonding to the metal ionizing medium.

Posted: Oct 9th, 2013

Fuel cells from gelatin

gelatin_bubblesResearchers are working hard to find inexpensive alternatives to platinum catalysts for use in hydrogen fuel cells. Doped carbons were discovered to be a possible alternative to platinum-based materials about five years ago. Researchers have now developed a really simple route to carbon materials that perform almost as well as a commercial platinum/carbon in a key fuel cell reaction. To make these materials, they use gelatin - the same gelatin you'd use to make jelly/jello.

Posted: Oct 7th, 2013