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Nanotechnology Spotlights

Using 'big data' to shed light on the complexity of nanomaterials

nanoparticlesApplying multivariate statistical techniques to the study of nanocarbons, researchers have presented a methodology to identify nanoparticles with unique combinations of features and, in general, a feasible way of in silico characterization of intractable nanomaterial spaces. These analyses are based on structural features characterizing geometry, interatomic distances, bond angle, surface-to-volume ratio, carbon-to-hydrogen...

Posted: Nov 30, 2015

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Just shake it! A simple way to remove nanomaterial pollutants from water

nanoparticlesWhile 'conventional' water contaminants can be cleaned up by state-of-the-art technologies with filtration and condensation processes, this is not the case for nanoscale pollutants. Researchers have demonstrated that water contaminated with nanomaterials can be cleaned up by a 'hand shaking' approach that can be performed even in a kitchen. This simple technique can be used for many one-dimensional and two-dimensional nanomaterials...

Posted: Nov 25, 2015

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Studying phase transformations of a single nanoparticle at the atomic level

nanoparticleCatalytic nanoparticles play a crucial role in accelerating chemical reactions by offering their active sites and surfaces. Fine-tuning their surface structure during synthesis and phase transformations can enhance their catalytic activity and durability by manifolds. However, control and feedback on the synthesis/transformation studies demand characterization techniques that can provide structural and compositional information...

Posted: Nov 24, 2015

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Janus separator: A new opportunity to improve lithium-sulfur batteries

janusThe two major problems with lithium-sulfur batteries stem from the intrinsic inert reaction kinetics of sulfur redox and the unique 'shuttle' mechanism described as that soluble intermediates - polysulfides consisting of lithium-terminated sulfur-chains - diffuse between the cathode and anode, thus being consumed within the battery instead of being utilized. To solve these issues and to improve battery performance relies on...

Posted: Nov 23, 2015

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Gold-manganese nanoparticles for targeted diagnostic and imaging

nanoparticle_contrast_agentImagine the possibility of non-invasive, non-radiation based Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in combating cardiac disease. Researchers are developing a process that would use nanotechnology in a novel, targeted approach that would allow MRIs to be more descriptive and brighter, and to target specific organs. By using nanoparticle-based MRI positive contrast agents, you can specifically target different tissues or organs,...

Posted: Nov 11, 2015

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Spiders point the way to make better adhesives for high-humidity environments

spider_silkThe capture silk used in spider webs consists of axial fiber coated with glue droplets at regular intervals. The spider glue has a unique property that its adhesion is humidity responsive such that for some species the adhesion keeps on increasing up to 100% relative humidity. This is unlike synthetic adhesives that fail under humid conditions. From a polymer science perspective, researchers are interested in understanding...

Posted: Nov 10, 2015

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Light-driven bioelectronic implants without batteries

implantAdding to the options for wirelessly powering implants from outside the body, researchers are proposing a light-driven powering device using near infrared rays (nIR). Flashing light impulses, which are absorbed by the device, induce temperature fluctuation, thus generating voltage/current pulses which can be used for charging a battery or biological stimulations. This flexible and compact device can generate electrical pulses...

Posted: Nov 06, 2015

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Pre-coating nanoparticles to better deal with protein coronas

proteinPrevious reports have shown that when nanoparticles enter the blood stream, the proteins that adsorb onto nanoparticles when they enter the body form a protein corona that hinders interactions between the targeting ligands on the nanoparticles and their binding partners on the cells' surface. To address this issue, scientists have developed a strategy that enables directing the formation of protein coronas on nanoparticles...

Posted: Oct 28, 2015

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