For years, scientists and engineers have worked to design electronics which can interface with the body. However, typical silicon wafer-based electronics, which are planar and stiff, are not suited to interface with the soft, curvilinear, and dynamic environment that biology presents. By exploiting the features of shape-memory polymer (SMP) substrates, an international team of researchers has now demonstrated a unique form of adaptive electronics which softly conform or deploy into 3D shapes after exposure to a stimulus. The resulting organic thin-film transistors (OTFTs) can change their mechanical properties from rigid and planar, to soft and compliant, in order to enable soft and conformal wrapping around 3D objects, including biological tissue.
The development of sustainable, robust, energy-efficient and cost-effective water purification technologies is a challenging task. Conventional practices adopted for water purification suffer from certain limitations such as high cost, low adsorption capacity, generation of toxic sludge, etc. A possible solution to tackle this problem has been demonstrated by scientists in India. They developed nanotechnology-based water purification using nano-silica-silver composite material as antifouling, antimicrobial and dye adsorptive material.
Taking the approach of flexible electronics one step further, researchers now have integrated all-carbon based electronic devices to live plants and insects. They developed an unconventional approach for the in situ synthesis of monolithically integrated electronic devices based on single-walled carbon nanotube channels and graphitic electrodes. The highly flexible transistors were formed directly by the in situ synthesis using patterned metal catalyst films and subsequently could be transferred to both planar and nonplanar substrates, including papers, clothes, and fingernails.
Prevention and treatment of neurological disorders in humans necessitate delivery of therapeutic or neuroprotective agents across the so-called blood-brain barrier (BBB) into the brain. The scarcity of techniques for brain-specific delivery of therapeutic molecules using non-invasive approaches has led researchers to increasingly explore the promising potential of nanotechnology toward the diagnosis and treatment of diseases/disorders incurable with present techniques. A recent example of these efforts is the research to analyze the intra- and intercellular transport and fate of novel nanoparticles for drug delivery to the central nervous system.
Graphene's piezoresistive effect, combined with its other properties such as ultra-translucency, superior mechanical flexibility and stability, high restorability, and carrier mobility, enables the use of graphene in high-sensitivity strain sensors. Potential application areas for these sensors could be found in flexible display technology, robotics, smart clothing, electronic skin, in vitro diagnostics, implantable devices, and human physiological motion detection - which has been considered as an effective approach to evaluate human health. To demonstrate this application, researchers have now reported on a method to monitor human motions.
Most of the accomplishments in building carbon nanotube circuits have come at the single-nanotube level. Researchers have been struggling with two major obstacles in building CNT-based circuits: the presence of metallic CNTs and a 'perfect' alignment of nanotubes. In new work, researchers have now demonstrated the ability to fabricate, in a scalable manner, larger-scale CNFET circuits at highly scaled technology nodes. The channel lengths are ranging from 90 nm to sub-20 nm.
EUV lithography was first included in the next-generation lithography road maps in the early 90s, but after about 20 years it is not yet ready for prime time. In this article we briefly analyze the history of EUV in the last 2 decades and the situation as of today. Extreme ultraviolet technology posed and still poses formidable challenges as it is based on principles vastly different from conventional DUV (deep ultraviolet) lithography.
In the past decades, the Density Functional Theory (DFT) has been very successful in helping chemists and physicists understand the properties of matter at extremely small scales. Although some problems still remain in the standard implementation of DFT, it represents an important theoretical tool which is used on a daily basis. Scientists now propose a variant of the standard DFT which could pave the way towards the simulation of very complex chemical and physical systems at a quantum level.