Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

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Deep brain stimulation therapies benefit from graphene fiber electrodes

graphene-fiberDeep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective treatment for many neurological disorders, but despite its widespread utilization the underlying mechanisms and downstream effects of DBS remain poorly understood. One major issue to understand the therapeutic mechanism of DBS is to map the wide variety of brain responses at both the local and global levels. Researchers have developed a highly MRI-compatible graphene fiber electrode that enables full activation pattern mapping by functional magnetic resonance imaging under DBS without the occurence of artifacts resulting from magnetic field interference.

Apr 20th, 2020

Enhanced light absorption in silicon by phase engineering

solar-absorptionNew research shows the formation of large-area R8-Si within the top n-layer of the p-n junction Si solar cell using spherical nanoindentation, and experimentally measured optical properties of R8-Si to demonstrate ten times enhancement in its photocurrent density. After theoretical studies in 2008 indicated that rhombohedral phase (R8) of silicon, which is stable at ambient temperature, has interesting optoelectronic properties suitable for a solar absorber application, this is the first demonstration in experimental studies.

Apr 17th, 2020

3D Bioprinting 101: Making bioprinting more accessible

bioprintingRecent developments in hydrogel chemistries, reinforcement approaches, and crosslinking methods have expanded the applications of 3D bioprinting to pharmaceutics, regenerative medicine, and biomedical devices. A multitude of 3D bioprinting techniques have been developed, but among these different approaches, extrusion-based 3D bioprinting has become a popular technique as it is easy to optimize and all its constituents are economical in price. A recent review elucidates the nuances of 3D bioprinting in a step-by-step guideline format, from its basics to more advanced levels.

Apr 10th, 2020

Improving the toughness of graphene films

graphene-filmResearchers have developed black phosphorus (BP) functionalized graphene films, resulting in record toughness. The formation of covalent bonding between BP and graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets not only reduces the voids of GO film but also improves the alignment degree of GO nanosheets, resulting in high compactness of the GO film. After further chemical reduction and pi-pi stacking interactions by conjugated AD molecules, the alignment degree of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanosheets was further improved, and the voids in lamellar graphene film were also further reduced. The toughness of this graphene film reaches the highest value recorded to date.

Apr 9th, 2020

Developing personalized vaccines with biomimetic nanotechnology

cellsNanotechnology offers many benefits that can be leveraged to increase the potency of vaccine formulations. For anticancer vaccination, antigenic material can be collected directly from a patient's resected tumor, formulated into a biomimetic nanoparticle, and then administered back into the patient to promote tumor-specific immunity. For antibacterial vaccination, strain-specific virulence factors or membrane can be immobilized onto nanoparticle substrates, and the resulting complexes can be used to vaccinate patients with an identified risk against the associated pathogen.

Apr 3rd, 2020

Manipulating noble metal aerogels by reductant chemistry

aerogelOne of the key issues that is holding back widespread applications of noble metal aerogels is a lack of understanding of the underlying structure-performance correlations. Presumably, this is caused by an insufficient understanding of the sol-gel process that limits manipulating versatile parameters, such as ligament sizes, compositions, and spatial element distributions. Recently published findings not only take a big step towards the detailed understanding of reductant chemistry and gelation mechanisms, manipulating the microstructures, and enriching the compositions of NMAs, but also open a new dimension for devising high-performance electrocatalysts by taking advantage of the ligand effects.

Mar 30th, 2020

Freeze-thaw made noble metal aerogels: Clean and hierarchical materials for photoelectrocatalysis

aerogel-fabricationNoble metal aerogels are widely investigated for electrocatalysis applications due to their large specific surface areas and the high catalytic activity of noble metals. However, their fabrication methods are cumbersome. Now though, researchers have developed a freeze-thaw method capable of preparing various hierarchically structured noble metal gels within only one day directly from dilute solutions without extra additives. The method fits various noble metals, and multi-scale structures can be obtained across nanometer and micrometer scales.

Mar 26th, 2020

Bioprinting techniques advance from shape to function

3DprintingBiofabrication is a revolutionizing toolkit for regenerative medicine that allows cells and other biomaterials to be precisely combined and patterned into three-dimensional (3D) constructs through automated, cell-friendly fabrication methods. With rapid advanced in 3D-printing hardware on one hand and bioink materials on the other, biofabrication techniques have gained significant momentum and provide a powerful approach to tackle major hurdles in the generation of engineered living tissues. While 3D bioprinting is still in its early stages, the remarkable leap it has made in recent years points to the eventual reality of lab-grown, functional organs.

Mar 25th, 2020