Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

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Showing Spotlights 1 - 8 of 2382 in category All (newest first):

 

Morphing 2D circuits - next-generation microfluidics gets rid of solid walls

microfluidicsOne of the issues with microfluidic devices in life sciences is that most platforms rely on materials or chemicals that are outside the biological breadth as building blocks, scaffolds, or coatings for the devices. In a game-changing approach, researchers are developing a transformative way to fabricate microfluidic devices, where solid walls are replaced by transparent, morphing fluid walls using only biocompatible materials. This novel method can generate cell-friendly microfluidic devices on demand with features below 50 microns in size.

Nov 19th, 2020

Piezoelectric energy absorption in quantum interfaces

quantum-computingResearchers have developed a theory of piezoelectrics with the goal to increase coherence times in quantum computers. In new work, they elucidate the mechanism of energy absorption taking place in quantum computers, and recommends optimal materials for these devices. The new theory predicts qubit coherence times that are over 100 times greater than the current state of the art. This shows that material improvements can go a long way towards improving the quality of quantum computing devices, bringing quantum advantage one step closer.

Nov 18th, 2020

MBenes - boron-analogues of MXenes - enable efficient electrochemical synthesis of ammonia

MBeneThe industrial production of ammonia mostly relies on the energy-intensive Haber-Bosch process, which causes significant environmental pollution. Researchers have now proposed that a class of 2D transition metal borides termed MBenes - the boron-analogues of MXenes - could be used as catalyst for ammonia production through electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR). This work also provides a general design principle for further exploration of an even broader composition space of MBenes and other 2D NRR electrocatalysts.

Nov 17th, 2020

Core/shell nanoparticles as efficient reducing agents

quantum-dot-modelGenerally it is believed that core quantum dots (QDs) are good reducing agents and are used for that purpose in solar hydrogen generation and various organic transformations. However, core QDs are very unstable. Core/shell dots are more robust, but the shell minimizes redox activity. Researchers now demonstrate that this isn't perfectly true. In fact, they found that certain core/shell materials are a better reducing agent than the core alone. Most importantly, core/shell QDs are substantially more robust than the core alone.

Nov 13th, 2020

Surface chemistry of engineered nanoparticles allows to differentiate cancer stem cells

nanoparticleWith their ability to resist conventional chemotherapy drugs, cancer stem cells (CSC) are really difficult to kill, and they are considered to be key drivers in metastasis, the spread of cancer via the blood stream. If the frequency of CSCs could be diminished, tumors would be rendered less aggressive and more responsive to conventional therapy. This approach is known as differentiation therapy and has considerable therapeutic potential. Scientists now report an approach capable of efficient differentiation of CSCs into non-CSC phenotypes.

Nov 10th, 2020

Nanotechnology's role in the race to find a Covid-19 vaccine

mRNA-vaccineWith over 200 COVID-19 vaccine trials currently underway globally, nanotechnology is being pivoted for COVID-19 applications. Nanoparticles and viruses operate on the same scale, and thus there are various nanotechnological aides which are being used in the development of potential vaccines. Nanoparticles are capable of entering the cell through biological channels, and can deliver antigens there. Besides delivering antigens themselves, nanoparticles can also be enlisted to provide adjuvants to cells.

Nov 9th, 2020

Concept design for a user-powered, refreshable Braille e-book reader for the blind

brailleIn order to make dynamic written content, for instance a news reader, available for blind or vision-impaired people, scientists have come up with various designs of sheet-type, refreshable Braille displays. Expanding the use of nanotechnologies in designing next-generation Braille readers, researchers now have successfully demonstrated a refreshable Braille display system by using a safe high-voltage power source - a triboelectric nanogenerator.

Nov 5th, 2020

Promising baby steps toward brain-inspired computing

nanoelectrodeThe biggest challenge for the development of brain-inspired computing is that the brain is too complex to simply emulate on a chip. Its massive interconnectivity, redundancy, local activity, remarkable logic complexity, and functional non-linearity makes the brain a computing masterpiece. Many researchers in this field see memristors as a key device component for neuromorphic computing. In particular, a non-conventional genre of memristors made of metal-organic molecular complexes shows great promise for ultralow energy, high density computing platforms.

Nov 2nd, 2020