Nanotechnology Spotlights

Upcycling strategy turns discarded solar cells into thermoelectrics

solar-cell-wasteResearchers estimate that global PV module waste, 90% of which are made from crystalline silicon, will reach 1.7-1.8 million tonnes by 2030 and 60-78 million tonnes by 2050, which will likely reach the same order of magnitude as global electronic waste. A novel upcycling strategy adds value to this otherwise economically low-value waste silicon. With proper chemical doping, it allows silicon waste to be turned into high-performance...

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Graphdiyne functionalized by silver nanoparticles to combat the threat of antibacterial resistance

bactericideThe two-dimensional carbon allotrope graphdiyne is capable of inhibiting broad-spectrum bacterial growth while exerting moderate cytotoxicity on mammalian cells. Researchers now demonstrate a high-performance bactericid with graphdiyne functionalized by silver nanoparticles. The material killed the bacteria through membrane destruction and reactive oxygen species production. These findings present an avenue to harness 2D...

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Combining 3D printing and self-assembly to fabricate the world's lightest material

graphene-aerogelUsing a combination of 3D printed template and self-assembly allows the fabrication of materials with complex Lego-like models with tailorable feature size crossing a record seven orders of magnitude - from nanometers to centimeters. This allows the fabrication of graphene structures with tunable mechanical properties, from super rigid (modules one order of magnitude higher than other ultralight materials) to superelastic...

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MXene quantum dots as promising material for immunoengineering

mxene-quantum-dotsResearchers have have reported the synthesis process and biomedical applications of a novel nanomaterial for in vivo treatment of vasculopathy - a general term used to describe any disease affecting blood vessels. Through their innovative approach using rational design and synthesis strategies, the researchers developed intrinsically immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory tantalum carbide MXene quantum dots. The team is confident...

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Self-powered, 'one-terminal' tactile sensor for wearables

fingertip-touchResearchers have designed a self-powered, 'one-terminal' tactile sensor that can distinguish various motions on a single electrode. They did this by using a thermoplastic polymer that can easily change the electrostatic signal in a selective area. The sensor array can perceive the position and the sequence of touches, shape of touching objects, and dynamic motions (sliding, rolling) of an object and can distinguish various...

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Synthesis, properties and applications of 2D materials beyond graphene

2D-materialBy utilizing the natural atomic thickness, flexibility, and mechanical strength, flexible devices based on 2D materials are paving the new way to achieve novel flexible device applications that include flexible transistors, flexible optoelectronics, flexible sensors and flexible supercapacitors. Furthermore, mechanical robustness and their atomic thickness provide 2D materials with high transparency in the visible range and...

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Inserting mechanical drugs into living cells (w/video)

mechanical-drugThe mechanical properties of cells and their intracellular mechanical loads are as relevant for a cell's accurate functioning as the biochemical portion of the cell. This offers a novel perspective that addresses the study of cell mechanics and even the alteration of the mechanical equilibrium of the cells by using silicon chips as an intracellular intervention mechanism. These 'echanical drugs' open the possibility to determine...

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Perovskite photovoltaics for a greener Internet-of-Things

flexible-solar-cellOrganic and perovskite solar cells are very promising energy harvester for indoor Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications as the requirements that solar cells should satisfy to power IoT devices are quite different to the ones usually deemed necessary for application in outdoor-placed solar panels. The size of the single solar cell used in IoT applications is much smaller, and in combination with the lower power input available...

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Nanotechnology-enabled low-cost, point-of-care, self-test of sodium in the comfort of your home

nanoparticlesResearchers have developed a point-of-care, portable, rapid, and cost-effective test for clinical diagnosis of sodium, which uses a paper printed colorimetric sensor that is based on Curcumin-functionalized copper (CuC) nanoparticles. They demonstrate that the proposed CuC paper strip can be used for detecting Na+ concentration within the whole physiological range in both blood serum and urine. Sodium is a vitally important...

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Nanotechnology in the Olympic Winter Games

skiingModern sports equipment often appears to be a showcase for new material technologies and nowhere has this been more true than in global sport competitions. Some of the high-tech materials used by athletes in competitive winter sports are using nanomaterials. But, as the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics has shown, other areas have benefited from nanotechnologies and nanoscience as well: ice skating, wearable monitoring devices,...

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