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Nanotechnology Spotlights

Designing safer metal oxide nanoparticles

nanoparticlesSignificant bioaccumulation of nanomaterials in the liver via inadvertent or systemic exposure, as well as the lack of a mechanistic knowledge that describes the hazard potential of metal oxide nanoparticles in liver cells, prompted researchers to comprehensively explore metal oxide nanoparticle interactions with major liver cells, including phagocytic cells and hepatocytes. They now report on the assessment of the toxicity...

Posted: May 18, 2018

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A full gamut of colors in all-dielectric, cheap, and large-scale artificial butterfly wings

butterfliesMost approaches to making artificial structural colors rely on low-throughput fabrication techniques, use expensive noble metal materials, and are limited to microscopic footprints. To address these limitations, an international team of researchers has demonstrated high-throughput fabrication of all-dielectric mesoporous materials with macroscopic footprints and colorimetric signatures spanning the whole gamut of visible colors....

Posted: May 11, 2018

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Studying strain effects in 2D materials using Kelvin Probe Microcopy

kelvin_probe_microscopyAt the nanoscale, materials become exceedingly sensitive to external perturbations. This is quite a relevant factor for wearable and flexible applications, where materials would always bear a certain degree of variable strain/stress. So far it has been very difficult to characterize strain effects in 2D materials, which is crucial to understanding strain-matter interactions. Researchers demonstrate that this limitation can...

Posted: May 09, 2018

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High-performance graphene sheets for engineering high-tech materials

carbon_compositesToday, the common engineering solution to manufacture carbon fiber reinforced plastic composite materials is based on cross-plied carbon fibers in a polymer resin requiring high temperature cure. In contrast, researchers now have demonstrated cross-linked graphene sheets that are manufacturable from graphene platelets, which are resin-free, processable at low temperature, and contain less than 10 wt.% additives. This advance...

Posted: May 08, 2018

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A smart skin for marine biology research

smart_skinFrequently, research by marine biologists depends on weighty and invasive sensory and telemetry equipment to understand and assess various aspects of the marine ecosystem. Researchers generally employ invasive attachment techniques to attach these devices to animals, sometimes restricting their natural movements. These tagging systems can be quite abrasive and not so forgiving on the animals. An alternative is a newly developed...

Posted: May 07, 2018

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All-natural nanobiotechnology instead of synthetic agrochemicals

nanoemulsionWidespread use of synthetic agrochemicals in crop protection has led to serious concerns of environmental contamination and increased resistance in plant-based pathogenic microbes. In an effort to develop bio-based and non-synthetic alternatives, nanobiotechnology researchers are looking to plants that possess natural antimicrobial properties. In new work, researchers show that nanoscale thymol's antibacterial and antifungal...

Posted: May 04, 2018

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Metal-organic frameworks can enhance sonodynamic cancer therapy

sonosensitizerSonodynamic therapy (SDT) has attracted wide attention as a novel treatment strategy for deep-seated tumors due to its safety, tissue penetration depth and low cost. However, traditional organic sonosensitizers tend to suffer from low water solubility, fast metabolism and elimination from the blood circulation. Sciebtists now report the excellent potential of metal-organic-framework (MOF)-derived mesoporous carbon nanostructures...

Posted: May 03, 2018

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Piezoelectric nanotechnology platform inhibits breast cancer cell proliferation

cellsScientists report an innovative nanotechnological approach for inhibiting the proliferation of breast cancer cells. For the first time, a wireless treatment based on piezoelectric nanoparticles has been exploited to remotely deliver electric stimulations to breast cancer cells. The team shows that chronic electric stimulations mediated by piezoelectric nanoparticles result in the ability to significantly reduce the breast...

Posted: May 02, 2018

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A nano squeegee to clean nano sheets

squeegeeBy precisely stacking various 2D materials in a predetermined sequence on top of each other, researchers create van der Waals heterostructures that, due to their unique interlayer coupling, have special optoelectronic properties. Unfortunately, the study of 2D monolayers is plagued by trapped contaminants in between the 2D sheets as well as between the 2D sheets and the underlying substrate. These contaminants make it difficult...

Posted: May 01, 2018

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