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Nanotechnology-based approaches to testing for COVID-19 infections in high-risk individuals

SARS-Cov-2In the absence of vaccines, many scientists argue that the best approach to control the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) would be fast, cheap, reliable, and portable means of diagnosing COVID-19 infection. In particular, the identification of patients with the highest risk of COVID-19 mortality (i.e. those with co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disorders or massive alveolar damage and progressive respiratory failure) could significantly improve the capacity of healthcare providers to take early action and minimize the possibility of overwhelming care centers, which in turn would save many lives.

May 12th, 2020

Glioblastoma-coated nanotubes target and kill brain cancer cells

coated-cnanotubesResearchers exploited for the first time cellular self-recognition process for targeting glioblastoma cells with boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs), a biocompatible, yet inorganic, nanomaterial. The team loaded the BNNTs with doxorubicin, a powerful chemotherapy drug, and then functionalized them with glioblastoma cell membranes This targeting approach benefits from the ability of cancer cells to recognize each other due to similarities present on their membrane that make them different from healthy cells.

May 11th, 2020

Ultrathin superconductor ages like fine wine

aging-superconductorsSuperconducting materials, which entirely lose their electrical resistance at low temperatures, have become ever more widespread over recent years. Nevertheless, the fascinating phenomenon of superconductivity does not cease to surprise, as the kinds of materials able to superconduct, as well as the mechanisms through which superconductivity emerges, have become increasingly diverse. One of the prime examples is found in the compound 2D material tantalum disulfide, where the critical temperature below which superconductivity appears increases multifold as the crystal is made thinner down to a monolayer.

May 8th, 2020

How (and why) to talk to business leaders about nanotechnology

peopleThoseThose of us who work in the field of nanoscience know all about the uniqueness of the nanoscale. However, now that use cases for nanotechnology are ramping up across virtually all industry sectors, it's essential to take a step back and remember that few in the business world have experience like ours. In fact, many in the C-suite may be unsure of what nanoscience is or how their businesses could benefit from it. That's a big problem - because these decision makers are not going to support nanotechnology projects that they don't fundamentally understand. We need to rise to the challenge and start helping business leaders appreciate the distinctiveness and enormous potential of this rapidly evolving field.

May 7th, 2020

Eavesdropping on single molecules with light by replaying the chatter

moleculeThe structure of individual molecules and their properties, such as chirality, are difficult to monitor in real time. It turns out that temporarily bridging molecules together can provide a lens into their dynamics. Scientists now have exposed new pathways for investigating biochemical reactions at the nanoscale. They found that optoplasmonic coupling allows for the detection of biomolecules that approach nanoparticles, while they attach, detach, and interact in a variety of ways. The technique paves the way for many future single-molecule analysis techniques that researchers have only been dreaming about.

May 6th, 2020

Sintering advanced ceramics membranes for safe solid-state batteries in just 10 seconds

sinteringSintering is a critical processing technology in the production of ceramic materials that uses high heat to compact ceramic powders into a solid form. Sintering of pure oxide ceramics requires relatively long processing times (about 20 hours) and high temperatures of 800 degrees Celsius or more. Researchers have now developed an ultrafast high-temperature sintering technique to fabricate solid state electrolytes for solid state batteries with dense structure and excellent electrochemical performance.

May 4th, 2020

Light-driven thin-film robots that can feel

kirigami-robotsInspired by living organisms, researchers have developed a somatosensory light-driven robot (SLiR) that can simultaneously sense strain and temperature. The SLiR subsumes pyro/piezoelectric responses and piezoresistive strain sensation under a photoactuator transducer, enabling simultaneous yet non-interfering perception of its body temperature and actuation deformation states. This design confers soft robots with complex perceptions of their body status, as well as the surrounding environments.

Apr 28th, 2020

Combining data-driven science and computational chemistry can significantly accelerate materials discovery

Siloxanes - a class of manufactured silicone derivatives, also know as silicones - are widely used (with an annual volume of 2.8 million tonnes in 2018) in medicine and industrial applications, mostly though in cosmetics and personal care products. However, siloxanes can also be organic contaminants that are persistent and prone to bio accumulation, making it challenging to remove them from various environmental media. Developing suitable sorbents is a cost-effective solution for the removal of siloxanes and Machine Learning offers a powerful tool to identify the effective zeolites out of many millions.

Apr 21st, 2020