Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

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Towards 4D printing with structural colors

structural-color3D printing with stimuli-responsive materials is called 4D printing. 4D printing enables 3D printed structures to change its configurations over time and is used in a wide variety of fields such as soft robotics, flexible electronics, and medical devices. The development of a water-responsive cholesteric liquid crystal ink and the accompanying direct ink writing (DIW) procedure is extending 4D printing to structurally colored inks. This is the first demonstration of a humidity-responsive color changing ink for extrusion 3D printing.

May 20th, 2022

Antibiotic-like boron nitride nanosheets for combating drug resistant bacteria

bacteriaThe antibiotic resistance crisis has been ascribed to the overuse and misuse of these medications, as well as a lack of motivation to develop new drugs. In the field of nanotechnology, a variety of innovative materials are being studied to evaluate their potential applications as antimicrobial agents. Recently, researchers have shown that boron nitride nanosheets as a nano-antibacterial agent displays antibiotic-like activities and BN nanosheets were found to show potent antibacterial efficiency in five multidrug resistant bacteria strains.

May 17th, 2022

Upcycling strategy turns discarded solar cells into thermoelectrics

solar-cell-wasteResearchers estimate that global PV module waste, 90% of which are made from crystalline silicon, will reach 1.7-1.8 million tonnes by 2030 and 60-78 million tonnes by 2050, which will likely reach the same order of magnitude as global electronic waste. A novel upcycling strategy adds value to this otherwise economically low-value waste silicon. With proper chemical doping, it allows silicon waste to be turned into high-performance thermoelectrics for heat energy harvesting.

May 16th, 2022

Graphdiyne functionalized by silver nanoparticles to combat the threat of antibacterial resistance

bactericideThe two-dimensional carbon allotrope graphdiyne is capable of inhibiting broad-spectrum bacterial growth while exerting moderate cytotoxicity on mammalian cells. Researchers now demonstrate a high-performance bactericid with graphdiyne functionalized by silver nanoparticles. The material killed the bacteria through membrane destruction and reactive oxygen species production. These findings present an avenue to harness 2D materials to stabilize metal nanoparticles as a promising option for combating evolving bacteria.

May 11th, 2022

Combining 3D printing and self-assembly to fabricate the world's lightest material

graphene-aerogelUsing a combination of 3D printed template and self-assembly allows the fabrication of materials with complex Lego-like models with tailorable feature size crossing a record seven orders of magnitude - from nanometers to centimeters. This allows the fabrication of graphene structures with tunable mechanical properties, from super rigid (modules one order of magnitude higher than other ultralight materials) to superelastic (able to recover from extreme 95% compression).

May 10th, 2022

MXene quantum dots as promising material for immunoengineering

mxene-quantum-dotsResearchers have have reported the synthesis process and biomedical applications of a novel nanomaterial for in vivo treatment of vasculopathy - a general term used to describe any disease affecting blood vessels. Through their innovative approach using rational design and synthesis strategies, the researchers developed intrinsically immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory tantalum carbide MXene quantum dots. The team is confident that this new nanomaterial could reduce or even avoid the need for anti-rejection drugs for heart transplant patients.

May 9th, 2022

Self-powered, 'one-terminal' tactile sensor for wearables

fingertip-touchResearchers have designed a self-powered, 'one-terminal' tactile sensor that can distinguish various motions on a single electrode. They did this by using a thermoplastic polymer that can easily change the electrostatic signal in a selective area. The sensor array can perceive the position and the sequence of touches, shape of touching objects, and dynamic motions (sliding, rolling) of an object and can distinguish various motions on a single electrode.

May 6th, 2022

Synthesis, properties and applications of 2D materials beyond graphene

2D-materialBy utilizing the natural atomic thickness, flexibility, and mechanical strength, flexible devices based on 2D materials are paving the new way to achieve novel flexible device applications that include flexible transistors, flexible optoelectronics, flexible sensors and flexible supercapacitors. Furthermore, mechanical robustness and their atomic thickness provide 2D materials with high transparency in the visible range and makes them suitable for flexible, transparent electronic devices that are subject to mechanical strain and cyclic stress.

May 5th, 2022