Nanotechnology Spotlights

Surprising size-confinement effect of magnetocaloric materials

moleculeScientists found that size-confinement - going from macroscopic bulk samples towards nanoparticles - leads to drastic changes in the atomic structure of certain magnetocaloric materials: The change from positive thermal expansion at the macroscale towards a negative thermal expansion (NTE) at the nanoscale. NTE materials are of increasing technological interest mostly because of the idea of mixing them with a symmetric negative...

Oct 10, 2019

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The Periodic Table of Elements in the age of nanotechnology

periodic-table2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the Periodic Table, a unique tool, enabling scientist to predict the appearance and properties of matter on the Earth and in the the Universe. Different elements have played critical roles in different periods of human activities, with silicon (Si) being a key element, at present. However, the nanotechnology age has brought different elements into the limelight and transformed their roles...

Oct 09, 2019

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Hydrogel paint - hydrogel coatings off the shelf

paintAs a coating, hydrogels bring many advantages to regular solid surfaces, uniting the superior properties of the substrate with the superior properties of the hydrogel. However, making hydrogel coatings outside a laboratory environment can be difficult. Inspired by the economics of paint manufacturing, we have developed a technique for hydrogel coating preparation that breaks the process up into several steps. This step-wise...

Oct 08, 2019

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Matryoshka-inspired hierarchically structured triboelectric nanogenerators for wave energy harvesting

wave-nanogeneratorOcean wave energy is an abundant resource of clean energy. However, having been explored for decades, there is still lacking efficient and economical technologies to convert water wave energy into electricity for large-scale applications Researchers have developed a new type of wave energy harvester, hierarchically structured triboelectric nanogenerator (HS-TENG), based on the triboelectric effect, targeting to harvest the...

Oct 07, 2019

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Graphene transistor catches mycotoxins in food

sensor-chipResearchers have developed a method for direct, point-of-use detection of mycotoxins in food. The method is based on the modification of electrolyte operated graphene filed effect transistors that have been specifically functionalized with aptamers by covalent binding. Demonstrating the performance of this method on Ochratoxin A, these sensors show a response time of within 5 minutes with a sensitivity down to 4 pg/ml - that...

Oct 04, 2019

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Liquid metal networks as an ideal platform for stretchable electronics

particlesA novel and very promising design strategy for stretchable electronics is based on liquid metals; specifically the use of the oxide shell of liquid gallium alloys to fabricate polymerized liquid metal networks (Poly-LMNs). The novel attribute of these Poly-LMNs is that they increase in conductivity as they are elongated, resulting in the measured resistance across the conductor remaining nearly unchanged as they are stretched...

Oct 03, 2019

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A lint roller for superclean graphene

cleaning-grapheneResearchers demonstrate that the amorphous carbon contaminants on CVD-produced graphene, which could greatly degrade its properties, can be removed by an activated carbon-coated lint roller, relying on the strong interactions between the amorphous carbon and activated carbon. Large-area graphene surfaces treated with this lint roller exhibit a high cleanliness of 99% with a low degree of polymer residue after transfer onto...

Sep 26, 2019

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Inspired by nacre, epoxy-graphene layered nanocomposites are tough and self-monitoring

nanocompositeTo make epoxy-graphene nanocomposites, the graphene nanosheets are commonly mixed homogeneously with the epoxy matrix. However, one of the problems that bedevils these nanocomposites is the issue of agglomeration of the nanofillers. Researchers now report that they have sucessfully tackled this dispersion problem by constructing a continuous graphene-based scaffold. The results show that the team's novel strategy boosts the...

Sep 25, 2019

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MXene-coated yarns as platform technology for e-textiles

knitted-fabricMXenes' inherently good conductivity and excellent volumetric capacitance makes them a very attractive material for fabricating textile-based, wearable electronics (e-textiles) that can be worn like everyday garments. This requires the fabrication of conductive yarns that are robust enough to be suitable for the wear and tear experienced by everyday textiles. A new study demonstrates highly conductive MXene-based yarns that...

Sep 11, 2019

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