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Nanotechnology Spotlights

Natural silk-like hierarchical fibers created by bioinspired self-assembly

Inspired by the silk spinning of spiders, researchers have developed a facile strategy to artificially create natural, silk-like hierarchical fibers. They demonstrate the creation of biomimetic and highly bioactive materials by artificially manipulating the self-assembly of silk protein molecules. This work contributes to the understanding of the natural silk spinning process of spiders and provides a strategy for the design...

May 03, 2021

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Steering waves deep into a forbidden gap

photonic-crystalThe propagation of light can be radically controlled with tailor-made nanostructures, called photonic crystals. The main feature of such crystals is a forbidden gap: waves with colors within a forbidden range travel only a limited distance - called Bragg length - before being reflected due to Bragg interference. Scientists have discovered a method to tunably steer light deep into photonic crystals, to depths well beyond the...

Apr 22, 2021

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Enhancing plasmonic biosensors with atomically thin nanomaterials

biomarker-detectionResearchers have significantly enhanced the performance of a surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biosensing platform by adding an atomically thin phase change material to the sensor. This plasmonic sensing device exhibits a detection limit of 1 femtomol for tumor necrosis factor (TNF alpha) biomarkers , which is more than three orders of magnitude compared to current state-of-art nanomaterial-enhanced plasmonic sensors. It also...

Apr 19, 2021

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Pufferfish inspires solar-driven water purification

pufferfishAlthough solar-driven water evaporation using sunlight is a promising sustainable strategy, the water production rate via solar technologies remains insufficient to meet practical demands. Addressing this issue, researchers have developed a solar absorber gel to purify water from contaminated sources using only natural sunlight. The hydrogel can force liquid water out of the gel via phase transition when the sun warms the...

Apr 13, 2021

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An inverse-designed metalens 3D-printed on an optical fiber tip

metalensA new generation of lenses - metalenses - is starting to replace bulky curved lenses with simple, flat surfaces that use nanostructures to focus light. These flat surfaces - meatsurfaces - have enabled the design of diffraction-based flat devices to replicate the functionalities of conventional lenses with sub-wavelength or few-wavelength thicknesses. Researchers have now successfully designed and experimentally demonstrated...

Apr 08, 2021

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Observing thermal transport in carbon nanotube bundles

nanotubeIndividual single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have thermal conductivity that is several times higher than copper. However, once researchers start to assemble SWCNTs into macroscale composites, fibers or films, they notice that thermal conduction drops significantly. Employing in situ transmission electron microscopy, researchers visualized a colossal anisotropy of thermal conductivity of nanoscale materials. The team...

Apr 06, 2021

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A wearable, wireless feedback sensor system to track body conditions

sensor-systemWearable flexible sensors have recently emerged as promising alternatives for human healthcare monitoring due to their lightweight and thin-film-based nature. However, few of these flexible sensor systems are applicable to neonatal monitoring, especially sleeping posture detection. Researchers now report a versatile laser-induced-graphene-based integrated sensor system, which can wirelessly monitor sleeping postures, respiration...

Mar 31, 2021

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Ultrasensitive and label-free chirality detection of diabetes-related metabolic molecules

plasmonic-sensingResearchers demonstrate label-free chiral detection of metabolic molecules at picomolar level through microbubble-induced rapid accumulation of biomolecules on plasmonic chiral sensors, which shows a 10-million times enhancement in sensitivity comparing to state-of-the-art plasmonic chiral sensors. The researchers achieved their ultrahigh sensitivity in chiral sensing of biomolecules by utilizing two enhancement mechanisms:...

Mar 30, 2021

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Real-time sweat analysis with wearable microfluidic sensors

microfluidicsResearchers have demonstrated the large-scale fabrication of skin-interfaced printed microfluidic patches, capable of multiplexed electrochemical detection of biomarkers from human sweat. This sensor continuously and simultaneously measures the level of biomarkers such as lactate, Na+, K+, and pH during sweating. The skin-worn sensor can selectively measure analytes even in the presence of other interfering species present...

Mar 29, 2021

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A disposable living laser printed on chip for drug screening

laserScientists have created a new way to monitor subtle drug interactions between bacteria and antibiotics. By using a common office inkjet printer, researchers developed a disposable living laser on chip by encapsulating living bacteria inside. Strong laser emissions generated from bacteria inside the droplet will be dramatically enhanced during drug interactions. This breakthrough could enable more sensitive and high-throughput...

Mar 25, 2021

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