Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

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Showing Spotlights 1 - 8 of 555 in category All (newest first):


Engineering living hydrogels

hydrogelInspired by living biological systems, which can sense, process information, and actuate in response to changing environmental conditions, researchers are exploring engineered living hydrogels. The convergence of engineering, biology, and materials science over the past 20 years is providing unprecedented opportunities to integrate living cells into these hydrogels. This integration yields engineered living hydrogels with the capabilities of self-replication, self-regulation, and environmental responsiveness.

Jul 11th, 2022

Novel cellulose aerogel radiative coolers for building applications

aerogelThe development of efficient cooling technology based on environmentally friendly and biobased materials is crucial to many day-to-day activities. A novel, highly efficient cellulose nanocrystal aerogel radiative cooler acts as a dual-function thermal insulator and daytime passive radiant cooler. These aerogel coolers can save on average more than 35% in cooling energy consumption and they are capable of achieving a nearly 9 degree C drop under direct sunlight, they even work effectively in hot, moist, and fickle extreme surroundings.

Jun 16th, 2022

Emerging 4D printing technologies for biomedical applications

3D-printed-structureAlthough 4D printing is considered very promising for various biomedical applications - such as tissue scaffolds, neural scaffolds, grafts and stents, cardiac patches and valves, even bionic constructs - its broad-scale adoption for clinical use and tissue engineering purposes is complicated by a notable limitation of printable smart materials and the simplistic nature of achievable responses possible with current sources of stimulation. Nevertheless, 4D printing may offer a more favorable fabrication approach over 3D printing, as 4D constructs can respond to internal and/or external stimuli.

Jun 7th, 2022

Bio-inspired 'wooden armor' modeled on the structure of fish scales

Bouligand-structureResearchers have designed and fabricated a bio-inspired, high strength and high toughness lignocellulose-based material that can serve as a 'wood armor' that rivals the performance of conventional engineering materials such as glass, ceramics or alloys. This wooden armor has biomimetic flexible-rigid layered Bouligand-like structures similar to the scales of pirarucu, a fish that can withstand piranha attacks. In ballistic tests it withstood 9 mm caliber bullets with an impact velocity of 214 meters per second.

May 24th, 2022

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

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

Kirigami-style, self-folding circuit boards

cubic-PCBResearchers demonstrate rapid cutting and folding of a printed circuit board (PCB) into complex 3D electronics using only a simple laser cutter. This origami manufacturing technology has the potential to allow faster and cheaper production of 3D electronic devices based on thin shells such as antennas that are poorly suited for current 3D printing methods. The technique relies on a method known as laser forming, where heat from a focused laser generates bending within a target.

Mar 22nd, 2022

High-comfort smart face mask checks for proper fit and monitors coughs

face-maskResearchers have developed a multifunctional wireless smart mask, capable of identifying mask-wearing conditions and monitoring the frequency and pattern of coughing - which is a common symptom of many respiratory diseases. This novel smart mask is capable of simultaneously monitoring coughs and mask-wearing conditions in a remote and battery-free manner, and most importantly, it provides excellent wearing comfort and breathability. The mask fabric is embedded with a soft and battery-free radio-frequency harmonic transponder that enables continuous, real-time wireless monitoring of coughs and mask wearing.

Mar 21st, 2022