Nanotechnology news generally is made by scientists and engineers tinkering with miniscule bits of matter in novel ways. But a new issue of a niche anthropology journal urges social scientists and society to jump into the nano-fray.
Arrays of proteins attached to solid surfaces have become important tools in drug discovery and cancer diagnostics, but in general, the immobilized proteins themselves are inactivated by the processes used to create these arrays. Now, however, researchers at Northwestern University have used dip-pen nanolithography to create arrays of antibodies that retain their ability to bind to their biological substrates.
The porous, sieve-like minerals known as zeolites have been used for decades in purifiers, filters and other devices. Yet creating and refining a new type of zeolite is still a matter of sophisticated trial and error: no one has been able to figure out exactly how the crystals form, even in the laboratory.
Researchers have demonstrated that the detailed shape of the electric field inside a short light pulse can be used to control the motion of electrons involved in chemical bonding and to change the outcome of a simple chemical reaction.
Researchers have found a way to use the electric-field process to make nanofibers in a direct, continuous and controllable manner. The new technique, known as near-field electrospinning, offers the possibility of producing out of nanofibers new, specialized materials with organized patterns that can be used for such applications as wound dressings, filtrations and bio-scaffolds.