Nanotechnology Spotlights

Biodegradable electronic ink for recyclable printed electronics

e-inkThe goal of the electronics industry has always been to build durable devices with stable performance that last a very long time. Self-destructing, transient electronics however, are designed with the exact opposite goal: to dissolve harmlessly into their surroundings after functioning for a predetermined amount of time. Researchers now demonstrate novel biodegradable, recyclable, conductive, flexible, and printable...

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Learning to understand how nanomaterials enter cells and how cells react

cell-imagingEvery cell relies on the uptake (endocytosis) of materials like proteins, cytokines and even synthetic carbon nanomaterials, to perform its required cellular fate functions. Studying this process in detail is an extremely challenging and thus extremely interesting goal in biophysics. Therefore, endocytosis is of interest for bringing therapeutic targets into cells. Studying the pathways of how materials get into...

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Achieving sub-MHz optical features resonator-free in solid-state

resonanceUltra-narrow optical features with a spectral bandwidth below 1 megahertz are highly sought-after for applications in ultrahigh-precision sensing, narrow-band filtering, and information storage for optical computing - but unfortunately they are extremely challenging to generate. But now there is a novel way to achieve ultra-narrow optical features. And unlike conventional approaches, it is cost-effective, has a simple...

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Novel cellulose aerogel radiative coolers for building applications

aerogelThe development of efficient cooling technology based on environmentally friendly and biobased materials is crucial to many day-to-day activities. A novel, highly efficient cellulose nanocrystal aerogel radiative cooler acts as a dual-function thermal insulator and daytime passive radiant cooler. These aerogel coolers can save on average more than 35% in cooling energy consumption and they are capable of achieving...

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Researchers develop 'attacking' droplets as a step towards biomimetic nanosystems (w/video)

kissing-dropletsOne of the key goals of nanochemistry is to develop artificial systems that imitate biological processes, particularly aiming at replicating the basic behavior of life forms. In this field, the interaction between droplets is gaining increasing attention as model systems to approach the dynamic behaviors of living cells, which have evolved to harvest energy from their environments to drive the chemical processes...

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Realization of 'silicon-like' doping in organic semiconductors

stacked-semiconductorOrganic semiconductors (OSCs) are a class of semiconductor materials consisting of conjugated molecules or polymers. Compared to inorganic semiconductors, OSCs have distinctive advantages including being solution-processable, suitable for low-cost and large-area fabrication of electronics, and applicable to flexible/stretchable electronics, among others. Given the importance of doping techniques for semiconductors,...

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Emerging 4D printing technologies for biomedical applications

3D-printed-structureAlthough 4D printing is considered very promising for various biomedical applications - such as tissue scaffolds, neural scaffolds, grafts and stents, cardiac patches and valves, even bionic constructs - its broad-scale adoption for clinical use and tissue engineering purposes is complicated by a notable limitation of printable smart materials and the simplistic nature of achievable responses possible with current...

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'Self-aware' and self-powered metamaterial implants

3D-printed-structureResearchers propose a first-of-a-kind smart orthopedic implant with both diagnostic and energy harvesting capabilities. This mechanically tunable, multifunctional metamaterial implant can sense and harvest energy from body motions. These implants only use their constituent components to achieve these advanced functionalities - they don't require any external power source or bulky electronics. Furthermore, the implants...

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High-performance graphene nanomesh filtration membranes inspired by cell walls

nanofiltrationGraphene-based membranes have attracted considerable attention as promising candidates for new filtration technologies for filtering out nanoparticles, organic molecules, and even small inorganic salt ions. Putting a nature-inspired spin on the fabrication of high-performance graphene membranes for tricky oil/water separations - even in stable emulsions - researchers have demonstrated a graphene nanomesh membrane...

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Nanomaterial-enabled bacteriophage therapy for wound infections

bacteriaOne interesting alternative to traditional antibiotics is phage therapy. Bacteriophages are viruses that selectively target and solely kill bacteria, even multi-drug resistant ones. However, scientists don't yet have the full picture of how it works and what the potential risks are. In view of these challenges, researchers have considered an alternative approach where phages are destroyed immediately after use, thus...

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