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Nanotechnology Spotlights

Using living bacteria to design self-growing engineering materials

cubeIn another step towards engineered living materials, researchers combined living bacteria and 3D-printed materials to grow bionic mineralized composites with ordered microstructures. It provides an example of harnessing living bacteria to design self-growing materials and opens the door for a new class of engineering materials that can self-grow like living creatures. This manufacturing strategy can be easily extended by selectively...

Feb 23, 2021

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Unique properties of 1D van der Waals materials - electromagnetic interference shielding with electrically insulating composites

nanofibersResearchers demonstrate composite materials with exceptional EMI shielding in the GHz and sub-THz frequency ranges while remaining electrically insulating. The composites use unusual fillers - chemically exfoliated bundles of quasi-one-dimensional van der Waals materials. The exceptional current conduction properties combined with extremely large aspect ratio of these composites couple strongly to high-frequency RF radiation...

Feb 18, 2021

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Printing edible nanostructured holograms on food

hologramBeyond aesthetics, holograms on food - specifically, edible holograms - could be used to reduce packaging needs, for example, as information about nutritional content or labels could be printed directly onto the food item. To that end, researchers have developed a quick and low-cost fabrication method for producing holograms on edible substrates. They developed a direct laser interference pattering method to directly pattern...

Feb 17, 2021

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How to power implantable and ingestible electronics

smart-pillA major challenge in the development of implantable and ingestible biomedical electronic devices is the limited lifetime of their power sources. The energy requirements of these devices are highly dependent on their application and the complexity of the required electrical systems. The power unit, which is composed of one or more energy sources - batteries, energy-harvesting, and energy transfer - as well as power management...

Feb 16, 2021

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Extending magnetic manipulation of micromachines to non-magnetic materials

microrototMagnetic manipulation of nano- and microscale objects is a remote and non-invasive technology with potentially numerous applications in material sciences and life sciences, such as for instance drug delivery. However, a limitation of this technology is that it can only be applied to certain materials with magnetic response, i.e., ferromagnetic or superparamagnetic materials. A new technique allows to incorporate magnetic nanoparticles...

Feb 11, 2021

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High-performance carbon composites made from stretch-bridged graphene sheets

graphene-sheetsIn order to exploit the remarkable mechanical properties of graphene for practical applications, nanoscale graphene sheets need to be assembled into much larger, macroscopic structures. However, there are two pivotal issues that make this task challenging: One is the inherently misaligned and wrinkled structure of graphene platelets; another is the weak interfacial interaction among graphene platelets. Both these problems...

Feb 10, 2021

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Femtosecond laser converts metallic to semiconducting carbon nanotube

carbon-nanotubeA novel method for fast and accurate local tuning of the optoelectronic properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes makes use of ultrafast-pulsed lasers. The method is based on localized two-photon oxidation of carbon nanotubes when the laser irradiates with energies far below the ablation threshold. At such low energies the nonlinear photochemical interaction of femtosecond laser and carbon atomic lattice prevent thermal...

Feb 08, 2021

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Tunable chiral optics suitable for on-chip devices

nanowire-and-nanoparticlesInspired by chiral molecular structures, scientists are developing strategies to build artificial chiral materials by mimicking natural molecular structures using functional materials. Specifically, metal nanomaterials exhibit tailorable optical properties upon excitation of surface plasmons and become one of the most promising components to realize chiral optical metamaterials. Researchers now demonstrate all-solid-phase...

Feb 01, 2021

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The revolutionary power of bio platforms - or why it took just 48 hours to develop the Covid-19 vaccine

robot-arm-holding-vaccineRather than growing vaccines in bioreactors, a new generation of biotechnology companies designs instructions that the body then can use to produce its own therapy. These novel vaccines exploit the process by which cells build proteins from the information encoded in a single-stranded molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA). They are enabled by the revolutionary nature of new industrialized biotechnology platforms that exploit...

Jan 28, 2021

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A brief history of OLEDs

color-explosionOLED technology is based on the phenomenon that certain organic materials emit light when fed by an electric current. OLED technologies makes it possible to manufacture ultra flat, very bright and power-saving OLED televisions, windows that could be used as light source at night, and large-scale organic solar cells. Since the development of the first viable OLED device in 1987, and tens of thousands of patents and research...

Jan 27, 2021

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