Laser frequency combs - high-precision tools for measuring different colors of light in an ever-growing range of applications - are not only getting smaller but also much easier to make. NIST physicists can now make the core of a miniature frequency comb in one minute. Conventional microfabrication techniques, by contrast, may require hours, days or even weeks.
Preparing semiconductor quantum dots is sometimes more of a black art than a science. That presents an obstacle to further progress in, for example, creating better solar cells or lighting devices, where quantum dots offer unique advantages that would be particularly useful if they could be used as basic building blocks for constructing larger nanoscale architectures.
Chemists have performed a DNA-based logic-gate operation within a human cell. The research may pave the way to more complicated computations in live cells, as well as new methods of disease detection and treatment.
A collaboration of biologists, engineers, and material scientists has found that jagged edges of graphene can easily pierce cell membranes, allowing graphene to enter the cell and disrupt normal function. Understanding the mechanical forces of nanotoxicity should help engineers design safer materials at the nanoscale.
Anyone who has ever worked in a laboratory has seen them: magnetic stirrers that rotate magnetic stir bars in liquids to mix them. The stir bars come in many different forms - now including nanometer-sized. Researchers have now introduced chains made of 40 nm iron oxide particles that act as the world's smallest magnetic stir bars, effectively stirring picoliter-sized drops of emulsion with a commercial magnetic stirrer.
Researchers have developed a concept to potentially improve delivery of drugs for cancer treatment using nanoparticles that concentrate and expand in the presence of higher acidity found in tumor cells.
All the objects around us emit thermal radiation. Usually, this radiation can be described very accurately using Planck's law. If, however, the radiating object is smaller than the thermal wavelength, it behaves according to different rules and cannot emit the energy efficiently. This has now been confirmed by a team of researchers at the Vienna University of Technology.
A BRIGHT future beckons for a University of Huddersfield metrology instrumentation designer who has recently completed his doctorate, won a national award and will now embark on a project to bring a patented product to the market.
Researchers are reporting advances in these areas by using gelatin-based microparticles to deliver growth factors to specific areas of embryoid bodies, aggregates of differentiating stem cells. The localized delivery technique provides spatial control of cell differentiation within the cultures, potentially enabling the creation of complex three-dimensional tissues.