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Nanotechnology Spotlight

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

Showing Spotlights 121 - 128 of 1603 in category (newest first):

 

Will future battery parts be grown on a rice field?

rice_fieldsResearchers in Korea have found that rice husks - the outer, protective covering of a rice kernel - can be a source of silicon that can be used for high-capacity lithium battery anodes. Most of today's lithium-ion batteries rely on anodes made from graphite, a form of carbon. There are several candidate electrodes to replace graphite as the anode for lithium-ion batteries and silicon has been recognized as a favorable anode material because its capacity is 3-5 times larger than those of existing graphite anodes. The new work demonstrates that rice husks can be used to produce silicon with an ideal porous nanostructure for use in high-capacity lithium-ion battery anodes.

Posted: Jul 16th, 2013

Researchers grow half-meter long carbon nanotubes

carbon_nanotubesOne of the problems researchers have to struggle with in exploiting the extraordinary mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), for instance for building superstrong fibers or T-shirt-thin ballistic armors, has been the question of how to synthesis CNTs with macroscale lengths and without decreasing areal density. A crucial step for realizing such applications will be the ability to mass-produce carbon nanotubes with meter-scale or even kilometer-scale length and excellent mechanical properties. In new work, a team of researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing have found that the growth of ultralong carbon nanotubes could be described using Schulz-Flory distribution, which is very common in polymer science.

Posted: Jul 15th, 2013

Bioinspired nanotechnology colorimetric assays - turning trash into treasure

moleculeColorimetric sensing techniques require only the naked eye or ordinary visible color photography and are attractive because of their low cost, use of inexpensive equipment, and above all, their simple-to-understand results. Researchers have now developed a plasmonic colorimetric assay to detect mercuric ion based on urine. Compared to other gold-nanoparticle-based colorimetric systems, it showed excellent selectivity to mercury ions and good sensitivity as high as can be used for mercury ion detection in industrial wastewater.

Posted: Jul 12th, 2013

Nanotechnology - Governance through dialogue

nanotruckIn the past few years, dialogues have become increasingly important for politics and science as well as scientific communication. More and more, they serve as an important feature for the responsible handling of nanotechnology at the national and European level. German speaking states have therefore laid emphasis on dialogues as a tool for communication and information in their nanotechnology action plans. The projects described in the following were largely initiated by the respective authorities as implementation measures of the national nanotechnology action plans.

Posted: Jul 10th, 2013

Ordered intermetallic core-shell nanocatalysts are promising designs for fuel cells

nanocatalystNew research shows that ordered intermetallic core-shell nanocatalysts are highly promising designs for fuel cells. These are the newest members to platinum-iron alloy nanocatalysts with such intermetallic core-shell (IMCS) design. Furthermore, on characterizing them after 10,000 cycles, they still retain their structural ordering at the core while the platinum shell got thicker and thicker. Such a static core-dynamic shell (SCDS) regime is being reported for the first time.

Posted: Jul 8th, 2013

Atomic calligraphy - using MEMS to write nanoscale structures

MEMS_deviceOne of the most restricting parameters in nanofabrication is the difficulty involved with controllably patterning materials at precise locations in a repeatable manner over relatively large areas. A novel microelectromechanical system (MEMS)-based mask writer has now been developed by a team of researchers. The device allows to directly write structures at the nanoscale without the need to use photoresist, lift-off techniques or other complex and expensive approaches. The technique uses a MEMS plate with apertures drilled into it and a shutter so that one can, in effect, spray paint with atoms.

Posted: Jul 3rd, 2013

Preserving the edge magnetism of graphene nanoribbons

graphene_edgeEdge magnetism is a unique property of graphene ribbons that has been predicted by theory, but not yet directly confirmed experimentally. If researchers want to utilize zigzag graphene nanoribbons (zGNRs) in spintronics, they first need to figure out a suitable termination group for zGNRs. The often used hydrogen atom termination is not a good choice since hydrogen terminated zGNRs can only be stabilized at extremely low hydrogen concentrations. In new work, researchers designed special boundaries for zGNRs that could become both stable and maintain the edge magnetism.

Posted: Jul 2nd, 2013

An overview of the European Union's nanotechnology projects

EuropeA new publication outlines nanoscience and nanotechnology dedicated research expenditure in Europe over recent years, in particular via the 7th research framework programme (FP7). It highlights a selection of exemplary projects financed through FP7 that are representative of major research themes, such as nanoelectronics, nanophotonics, nanobiotechnology, nanomedicine, self-assembly, catalysts, industrial applications, energy and environment, tools for investing the nanoscale, health/safety/environment and communication/societal impact.

Posted: Jul 1st, 2013