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Measuring the forces of interactions between quantum dots and living cells

Quantum dots are particularly promising for biological imaging, having size-tunable light emission and excellent photostability. The development of such clinical applications, however, hinges on understanding how such nanoparticles interact with and penetrate living cells. A research team led by Hongda Wang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences has now developed a method to measure these interaction forces using atomic force microscopy.

Jun 20th, 2011

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Boron nitride nanotubes could form the basis for fluorescent cell sensors

Hollow nanotubes with walls just a few atoms thick are increasingly being used to monitor biological processes in individual cells. Such nanotubes can be loaded with fluorescent molecules that respond to certain biochemicals or a change in temperature or pH with a measurable change in fluorescence. Most of the biological probes developed so far rely on carbon nanotubes. Now, a research team from Japan has now produced a probe using nanotubes made of boron and nitrogen atoms.

Jun 20th, 2011

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Study evaluates engineered nanoparticles in wastewater

Have you ever wondered what happens to sunscreen after it swirls down the drain with your soap? Probably not, but it is a question that makes Prof. Chin-Pao Huang curious. Sunscreen contains titanium dioxide, an engineered nanoparticle (ENP) that improves the product's performance, reducing your sunburn risk while outdoors.

Jun 19th, 2011

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Packing the ions - discovery boosts supercapacitor energy storage

Drexel University's Yury Gogotsi and colleagues recently needed an atom's-eye view of a promising supercapacitor material to sort out experimental results that were exciting but appeared illogical. The team discovered you can increase the energy stored in a carbon supercapacitor dramatically by shrinking pores in the material to a seemingly impossible size - seemingly impossible because the pores were smaller than the solvent-covered electric charge-carriers that were supposed to fit within them.

Jun 17th, 2011

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