Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

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Showing Spotlights 1 - 8 of 512 in category Fabrication Technologies and Devices (newest first):

 

Bubble- and convection-assisted trapping significantly speed up nanotweezers

nanotweezerPlasmonic 'nanotweezers' are structures made of noble metals that concentrate and absorb light, resulting in 'plasmonic hotspots' that make it possible to manipulate nanoscale objects suspended in a fluid. Trapping or sensing of nanoparticles using nanotweezers suffers from an intrinsic problem of low throughput as the particle delivery process is often diffusion-limited. Researhers have developed bubble- and convection-assisted trapping techniques that overcome the diffusion-limited trapping in nanoaperture tweezers and enable a reduction of 1-2 orders of magnitude in particle-trapping time compared to that of a diffusion-limited trap.

Dec 23rd, 2019

Biocompatible hydrogel printing for soft robotic systems made easy

3D-printingResearchers have developed a facile and versatile strategy to directly print hydrogels into biomimetic soft robots. Hydrogel materials possess intrinsic softness and they also exhibit other favorable properties that make them a perfect fabrication material for biomimetic soft robots: stretchability, biocompatibility, permeability, and stimuli-adaptability. The team harnesses biocompatible alginate as a rheological modifier to manufacture 3D freeform architectures of both chemically and physically cross-linked hydrogels using the direct-inkwrite printing.

Dec 18th, 2019

The first optical nanomanipulator on solid substrates

photon-nudgingResearchers show that by introducing a surfactant layer to modify the particle-substrate interactions, a variety of colloidal particles can be manipulated in a non-invasive and contactless way through coordinating optical heating and scattering forces. This novel technique provides a versatile and powerful platform to manipulate and reconfigurably assemble colloidal particles on solid substrates, without the need to involve fluidic environments. This technique represents a milestone in pushing the working conditions of optical tweezers from fluidic to solid phases, which is capable of versatile manipulation and dynamic assembly of colloidal nanostructures on solid substrates directly.

Dec 13th, 2019

Morphable metamaterials made with hierarchical kirigami

kirigamiResearchers have identified kirigami as an intriguing tool to create programmable mechanical metamaterials with unconventional mechanical and morphological responses. These reconfigurable metamaterials offer a new material platform to achieve dramatic changes of mechanical and optical properties, which are arising from dynamically tunable geometrical structures. A key feature of kirigami metamaterials is that they are conveniently cut when flat and then exploit local elastic instabilities to transform into complex 3D configurations upon stretching.

Dec 12th, 2019

Observing flow distribution over curved surfaces

flow-sensorResearchers have demonstrated the first large-scale flexible thermal flow sensor array on a thin-film. This flow sensor - based on a calorimetric sensing mechanism - can not only monitor flow intensity but also flow direction. More importantly, these sensors can be attached onto curved surfaces for real-time flow monitoring. Flow separation is a common phenomenon affecting aircraft, wind turbine blades, micro aerials, and underwater vehicles. Owing to its unsteady flow profile, such separation is usually undesirable because either the airfoil efficiency decreases or large pressure fluctuations emerge. Consequently, precise monitoring is crucial to reduce or even prevent the flow separation effect.

Nov 26th, 2019

From origin of life to materials genomics

microbubbleThe origin of early life and the basic building blocks such as DNA and RNA have been hypothesized to have resulted due to accumulation of precursors within hydrothermal vents. The thermal gradients result in the concentration of prebiotic molecules with the vents acting as reactors. Researchers have translated this concept of accumulation-mediated concentration to the micro- and nanoscale for intensified materials synthesis and genomics. Utilizing a laser-induced micro bubble trap, their strategy, termed as unified spatiotemporal synthesis and structuring (US3), combines the conventionally discrete aspects of synthesis and patterning.

Nov 19th, 2019

Paving the way for inorganic perovskites' use in high-performance electronic applications

photodetectorNew work provides insight into the control over phase and ordering during halide perovskite epitaxial growth and expands the selection of photoactive materials for growing epitaxial halide perovskites that can be exploited in high-performance electronic applications. Hybrid organic-inorganic halide perovskite has attracted tremendous attention as an exceptional new class of semiconductors for solar harvesting, light emission, lasing and thin-film electronics. However, the toxicity of lead devices and lead manufacturing combined with the instability of organic components have been two key barriers to widespread application. Tin-based inorganic halide perovskites have been considered promising substitutes for their lead analogues.

Nov 7th, 2019

3D printing batteries - an overview

microbatteryAs an advanced fabrication technique, 3D printing has been increasingly utilized to fabricate complex 3D objects via digitally controlled deposition of phase change and reactive materials and solvent-based inks. When it comes to batteries, 3D printing has several significant advantages compared with conventional battery fabrication technologies and it opens new avenues for the rapid fabrication of 3D-structured batteries with complex architectures and high performance. In next generation futuristic 3D printed energy architectures batteries and supercapacitors could be printed in virtually any shape.

Nov 4th, 2019