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Nanotechnology Spotlight

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Showing Spotlights 769 - 776 of 2008 in category (newest first):


Porosity of nanocoating improves 'smart' window performance

vanadium_dioxide_nanoparticlesVanadium dioxide (VO2) has long been recognized as a a material of significant technological interest for optics and electronics and a promising candidate for making 'smart' windows: it can transition from a transparent semiconductive state at low temperatures, allowing infrared radiation through, to an opaque metallic state at high temperatures, while still allowing visible light to get through. So far, VO2 hasn't been considered to be particularly suited for large-scale practical smart-window applications due to its low luminous transmittance and solar modulating ability. Researchers in China have now developed a process that can prepare VO2 thin-films with a controllable polymorph and morphology. Their results show that with increased porosity and decreased optical constants the performance of the VO2 films is enhanced, leading to a higher transmittance of visible light and improved solar modulating ability.

Posted: Dec 28th, 2011

A step toward a better understanding of how copper catalysts interact with carbon nanomaterials

nanoparticlesA number of parameters are known to affect the synthesis of carbon nanomaterials, such as the composition and size of the catalysts, type of hydrocarbon gas, temperature, and reaction time. Different carbon nanomaterials having various carbon atomic configurations demonstrate different physical and chemical properties. As a result, it is critical to synthesize carbon nanomaterials with controlled morphology and internal structures for their potential applications as building blocks for nanoscale electronics and photonics, catalyst supports for fuel cells, non-viral carriers for delivering biomolecules into cells, biomedical imaging, and additives for reinforced composite materials. In order to overcome these barriers, researchers need to investigate the interactions between catalysts and carbon nanomaterials to understand how the catalyst facilitate the growth of carbon nanomaterials and, thereby, obtain carbon nanomaterials with controlled properties through tailoring of their catalyst parameters.

Posted: Dec 23rd, 2011

Nanotechnology-enhanced curcumin - literature and patent analysis

curcuminCurcumin is the star bioactive component responsible for turmeric's antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Recently, it has emerged as one of the most potent chemo-preventive and chemotherapeutic agents. Consequently, there has been a steep rise in the number of research publications and patents starting from the year 2000 onwards. This article presents the findings of a literatre survey and patent analysis on nano-enabled curcumin. There is an upward trend in patenting and publishing activities, which is especially noteworthy from 2007 onwards. One intriguing fact is that the patenting activity is showing a dominating trend in comparison with the scientific research activity suggesting the growing commercial importance of nano-enabled curcumin.

Posted: Dec 22nd, 2011

Carbon nanotube converter powers implants remotely through laser light

photo-thermal-electrical_converterImplantable devices like pace makers or neurostimulators are powered by lithium batteries whose service life is as low as 10 years. Hence, many patients must undergo a major surgery to check the battery performance and replace the batteries as necessary. A team in Japan has now reported an interesting strategy that would keep using batteries but provides a mechanism for remotely recharging them from outside the body by converting laser light into thermal energy and subsequently to electricity. The main purpose of this study was to show that it is possible to remotely control electrical energy generation by laser light that can be transmitted through living tissue in order to target various bionic applications implanted in the body.

Posted: Dec 20th, 2011

Lesson from nature greatly strengthens the potential of block copolymer lithography

tomatoBlock copolymer lithography is a cost-effective, parallel, and scalable nanolithography for the densely packed periodic arrays of nanoscale features, whose typical dimension scale is beyond the resolution limit of conventional photolithography. So far, it has been impossible to utilize block copolymer lithography on low surface energy materials such as Teflon, graphene or gold, where block copolymer thin film generally de-wets. To address this technological challenge, researchers in South Korea introduced block copolymer lithography that employs polydopamine coating - inspired by the adhesive proteins secreted by mussels - as a surface pretreatment for universal wettability generally applicable to arbitrary surfaces.

Posted: Dec 15th, 2011

Fighting Alzheimer's disease with nanotechnology

Alzheimer's disease is among the most common brain disorders affecting the elderly population the world over, and is projected to become a major health problem with grave socio-economic implications in the coming decades. The total number of people afflicted by Alzheimer's disease (AD) worldwide today is about 15 million people, a number expected to grow by four times by 2050. This review looks at some of the nanotechnology-enabled approaches that are being developed for early detection and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer's, its therapeutic treatment, and prevention. These potential solutions offered by nanotechnology exemplify the growing significance that it holds for dealing with brain ailments in general.

Posted: Dec 13th, 2011

Nanofabrication made easy with cheap, homemade benchtop photolithography system

photolithographyCurrently, the primary tool for defining patterns at the micro- and nanometer scale is the mask aligner. Even where soft lithography methods are used, mask aligners are still often required to fabricate the masters. A mask aligner is a machine that is bulky in size and weight and is limited in the area that it can pattern in a single step. Also, a significant amount of infrastructure is needed for operation, such as high voltage power supplies and gas cooling lines. The average cost of this tool is in the six figures, which is a barrier for many labs and businesses in research and development of nanotechnologies. Researchers have now developed a compact and portable photolithography system based on a solid-state light source to remove these limiting factors and, at the same time, make available the high quality patterns that a mask aligner can produce.

Posted: Dec 12th, 2011

Nanotechnology and microbiology

microbiologyMicrobiology relates to nanoscience at a number of levels. Many bacterial entities are nano-machines in nature, including molecular motors like flagella and pili. Bacteria also form biofilms by the process of self-assembly. The formation of aerial hyphae by bacteria and fungi is also directed by the controlled and ordered assembly of building blocks. Also, the formation of virus capsids is a classical process of molecular recognition and self-assembly at the nanoscale. Nanoscience does have an impact on several areas of microbiology. It allows for the study and visualization at the molecular-assembly levels of a process. It facilitates identification of molecular recognition and self-assembly motifs as well as the assessment of these processes.

Posted: Dec 9th, 2011