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Nanotechnology Spotlights

Structural engineering on the atomic scale

graphene-defectsFor the enormous promises of graphene and other two-dimensional (2D) materials to be fulfilled, scientists need a much better understanding of how specific types of defects in the crystal structure, including those that change location over time, affect its properties. To do that, they first need to identify the location and type of defect and then be able to precisely alter the structure of 2D materials in order to tailor...

Jun 17, 2021

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MXenes - game changers in the materials field

MxeneMXenes move nanotechnology from using a few 'wonder materials' to manipulation of hundreds and even thousands of 2D building blocks to assemble designer materials and devices. Those materials can contribute to solving the key problems in the fields of energy (generation, harvesting, storage), water (desalination, purification), food (longer storage, sensing of degradation/bacteria), environment (clean air and water) and medicine...

Jun 16, 2021

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Targeting cancer cells over healthy cells with nanoparticle shape

cells-with-nanoparticlesBy using rod-shaped nanoparticles, in combination with inhibitors to other uptake pathways, researchers achieved targeting cancer cells over healthy cells. The possible benefits from this novel technique are twofold: Restricting healthy cells from taking anticancer drugs to help reduce the side effects of drugs for patients; and helping overcome chemoresistance (the uptake of the chemo drug into healthy cells in the tumor...

Jun 10, 2021

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A new fabrication route for blackbody-sensitive room-temperature infrared photodetectors

photodetector-imageRelying on the quantum confinement effect, the strong light-matter interaction in low-dimensional materials enables them to exhibit excellent photodetection. The unique out-of-plane van der Waals force in low-dimensional layered materials makes them free from the surface dangling bonds compared to traditional bulk materials, which reduces the dark current of the devices by eliminating surface recombination. These unique advantages...

Jun 07, 2021

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Nanophotonics and nanofabrication combine to achieve 3D color prints

color-spotsWith a new approach, that brings us closer to the commercial application of 3D color holograms, scientists have developed the concept of a virtual 3D color object consisting of colorful focal spots at discrete heights in the out-of-plane dimension above the surface of a print - something they dubbed 'optical fireworks'. Unlike previous 3D color holograms, this color-filtering microlens-based displays realize multicolor and...

Jun 02, 2021

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High-performance biolubricants made from corn starch

phytoglycogen-nanoparticleNature has developed excellent biolubricating systems but onnce biolubrication for instance of synovial joints of osteoarthritis patients breaks down, relief has to come from partially or fully synthetic biolubricants - such as polymeric micro- or nanoparticle-based lubricants - that replace the depleted natural substances. Researchers have now demonstrated that phytoglycogen nanoparticles - single-molecule highly branched...

May 25, 2021

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The latest nanotechnology advances for agriculture

agricultureNanotechnology is a promising technological advancement that can revolutionize agriculture and food production systems, but the technology must be thoroughly researched before being implemented. Nanobiosensors, nanofertilizers, and nanopesticides have the potential to significantly change the agricultural world. Nanotechnology research related to agriculture is still in its early stages, meaning these new products are not...

May 24, 2021

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For nanomedicine, sex matters

sex-chromosomesWhen experimental biomedical research results using only one sex are extrapolated to both sexes, unintended harmful consequences to the neglected sex can be the result. Nevertheless, it is still the case that only a small number of published articles report the sex of biosystems used in their study. Many researchers are still using only one sex of biosystems - e.g., cells, tissues, or animals - and apply the results to both...

May 20, 2021

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Natural silk-like hierarchical fibers created by bioinspired self-assembly

Inspired by the silk spinning of spiders, researchers have developed a facile strategy to artificially create natural, silk-like hierarchical fibers. They demonstrate the creation of biomimetic and highly bioactive materials by artificially manipulating the self-assembly of silk protein molecules. This work contributes to the understanding of the natural silk spinning process of spiders and provides a strategy for the design...

May 03, 2021

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Steering waves deep into a forbidden gap

photonic-crystalThe propagation of light can be radically controlled with tailor-made nanostructures, called photonic crystals. The main feature of such crystals is a forbidden gap: waves with colors within a forbidden range travel only a limited distance - called Bragg length - before being reflected due to Bragg interference. Scientists have discovered a method to tunably steer light deep into photonic crystals, to depths well beyond the...

Apr 22, 2021

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