The European Commission has published a compendium 'Nanotechnologies: Principles, Applications, Implications and Hands-on Activities' that has been specifically developed to provide the educational communities with relevant, accurate and updated materials to inform, motivate and inspire young people to know more about nanosciences and nanotechnologies concepts and applications. This resource has been developed within the context of the European research project Nanoyou, and it has been enriched with numerous and multifaceted inputs, reflections and insights on societal issues, also provided by the European project TimeforNano.
So far, it has been generally accepted knowledge that boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) are highly inert to oxidative treatments and can only be covalently modified by highly reactive species. By contrast, oxidation of carbon nanotubes has been proven very convenient and fundamentally important to modify the nanotube structure and morphology via controlled corrosive effects. Now, researchers have discovered a convenient method to disperse and chemically modify the morphology of BNNTs by sonication in aqueous ammonia solutions.
Thermoelectric materials hold great promise for turning waste heat back into useful power and are touted for use in hybrid cars, new and efficient refrigerators, and other cooling or heating applications. But they have one big drawback: they are very inefficient. Since thermoelectric devices work by maintaining a temperature difference between their different sides, it is important that the used materials have low conductivity, i.e. are good thermal insulators.
Proton-conducting materials have become important for a wide range of technologies, such as fuel cells, batteries, and biosensors. A great deal of research has been devoted to developing improved and application-specific proton conducting materials. Researchers even developed a proton-based transistor that could let machines communicate with living things. Scientists now have discovered and characterized novel electrical properties for the cephalopod structural protein reflectin.
Studies have shown that in a favorable nano environment, enzyme immobilization onto nanosupports could lead to increased enzyme stability and improved specificity, and could allow for prolonged enzyme functionality through chemical and physical treatment. Researchers also have shown that immobilization onto carbon-based nanosupports can increase the enzyme turnover and allow for prolonged enzyme-based conjugates isolation and usage. In new work, researchers have now taken another step towards the detailed characterization and optimization of enzyme-nanosupport interface reactions.
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.
Ice accumulation is not just a cost and safety problem for the airline industry and other transportation areas, together with undesired environmental impacts. Here are some examples: Transmission lines and power network towers may deform or even collapse with the burden of excess amount of ice; ice accretion on wind turbine blades can cause a production loss as much as 50% of the annual production; frost and ice accumulation in refrigerators and heat exchangers results in a decrease of heat transfer efficiency. Therefore, great efforts have been made to understand the mechanism of icing and investigations on anti-icing and deicing have been extensively carried out. Various anti-icing and deicing methods have been developed such as for instance nanocoatings and other nanostructured surfaces.
The integration of consumer electronics with advanced imaging and analytical platforms holds great promises for medical point-of-care diagnostics and environmental rapid field testing for pollutants and viruses. A recent example is a Google Glass application and a server platform for instant, wireless diagnostic testing of a variety of health conditions and diseases. This technology allows Google Glass wearers to use the hands-free camera on the device to send images of diagnostic tests that screen for conditions such as HIV or prostate cancer.