Inspired by nature's ingenious biological designs, researchers have persistently attempted to mimic these biofunctionalities to bring technological breakthroughs. One of these morphologies - the unique shape of a helical coil - is not only interesting from a scientific standpoint but also pivotal, offering DNA its distinctive properties and propelling flagella in viscous fluids, to name a few. With the advent of personalized medicine on the horizon, researchers are now trying to use tiny springs made of carbon nanotubes, i.e. nanocoils, to propel nanorobots to perform microsurgeries.
The complexity and high cost of the state-of-the-art high-resolution lithographic systems are prompting unconventional routes for nanoscale manufacturing. Inspired by natural nanomachines, synthetic nanorobots have recently demonstrated remarkable performance and functionality. Nanoengineers now have invented a new nano-patterning approach, named Nanomotor Lithography, which translates the autonomous movement trajectories of nanomotors, or nanorobots, into controlled surface features that brings a twist to conventional static optical fabrication systems.
Researchers have demonstrated ultra-stretchability in monolithic single-crystal silicon. The design is based on an all silicon-based network of hexagonal islands connected through spiral springs. The resulting single-spiral structures can be stretched to a ratio more than 1000%, while remaining below a 1.2% strain. Moreover, these network structures have demonstrated area expansions as high as 30 folds in arrays. This method could provide ultra-stretchable and adaptable electronic systems for distributed network of high-performance macro-electronics especially useful for wearable electronics and bio-integrated devices.
Impurities during the production process of liquid crystal devices result in mobile ions that influence the LCs' field-induced switching phenomena, resulting in a phenomenon called image sticking, or ghosting. Researchers now have developed a method to reduce the presence of excess ions by doping LCDs with ferroelectric nanoparticles. They demonstrate that this reduction of free ions has coherent impacts on the LC's conductivity, rotational viscosity, and electric field-induced nematic switching.
3D-printing processes are engineered to use material more efficiently, give designs more flexibility and produce objects more precisely. These 3D printing techniques are reaching a stage where desired products and structures can be made independent of the complexity of their shapes. Applying 3D printing concepts to nanotechnology could bring similar advantages to nanofabrication - speed, less waste, economic viability - than it is expected to bring to manufacturing technologies. here we show examples of current research into 3D printing in nanotechnology.
Electrochromic devices are some of the most attractive candidates for paper-like displays, so called electronic paper, which will be the next generation display. Researchers have now demonstrated solid state flexible polymer based electrochromic devices are fabricated continuously by stacking layers in one direction. This novel bottom-up approach with no need for a lamination step enables fully printed and 2D patterned organic electrochromics.
So far, it has been generally accepted knowledge that boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) are highly inert to oxidative treatments and can only be covalently modified by highly reactive species. By contrast, oxidation of carbon nanotubes has been proven very convenient and fundamentally important to modify the nanotube structure and morphology via controlled corrosive effects. Now, researchers have discovered a convenient method to disperse and chemically modify the morphology of BNNTs by sonication in aqueous ammonia solutions.
Researchers have now shown that, by varying the shape of magnetite nanoparticles, they can control the nature of the self-assembled structures as the nanoparticles assemble. This new work provides guidelines for the design of new self-assembled materials. Self-assembly of nanoparticles driven by competing forces can result in truly unique structures, the diversity and complexity of which could be particularly striking if the building blocks were simultaneously coupled by short- and long-range forces of different symmetries.