One way to construct useful molecular machines is to combine natural molecules - such as proteins or DNAs in our body - with synthetic molecules in order to control the functions of the natural molecules. Building on previous work that allowed to achieve complete control over on/off switching of the movement of a nanomachine, researchers in Japan have, for the first time, developed a molecular system which allows free control of the motion of single microtubules. The microtubules, tube-like structure with measuring 25 nm in diameter, could potentially serve as carriers of various molecular cargoes in future nano-transportation systems.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) being highly electrically conductive along the tube axis, have gained great research interests in recent years for connecting two conducting electrodes at the nanoscale - where the CNTs can be integrated into a micro- or nanoelectronic system. Therefore, the orientational control of CNTs has drawn a great deal of research interest in nanotechnology. Researchers now have developed a technique to bridge two electrical conductors by assembling CNTs guided by liquid crystals.
Scientists have designed an advanced type of nanoparticle, which is able to carry drugs directly into cells and release them only in the presence of an appropriate mRNA signature; in other words, the nanoparticle carriers release their payload only in specific - metastatic cancer - cells and remain inactive in healthy cells. The researchers designed nanoparticles that can selectively distinguish healthy cells from model metastatic cells and release their payload - an anticancer drug - only to the model metastatic cells.
Planar optical components are crucial to realize miniaturized optical systems and integrated optoelectronic devices. In particular, metasurfaces are of great interest for applications ranging from high resolution imaging to three-dimensional holography. Achromatic metasurfaces, which can maintain the same focal distance over a range of wavelengths, have been realized by engineering each subwavelength unit to induce an identical phase change at all wavelengths. However, the design method requires intensive computation. Researchers now have developed a highly efficient, universal algorithmic method based on evolutionary principles for the design of ultra-thin achromatic lenses.
Oxygen evolution reaction (OER) is the core process - but also the bottleneck - in many energy devices such as metal-air batteries and water-splitting techniques, calling for new insights in rational design of OER electrocatalysts. The perovskite family exhibits superb OER reactivity, but its poor conductivity remains a big problem, not to mention that the morphology of perovskite oxides is hard to control. In situ hybridization of perovskite oxides with conductive frameworks is an efficient strategy to solve these problems, as researchers report in new work.
Researchers have created a new method to print high-performance electronics by combining the extremely mature CMOS fabrication processes and recently developed additive manufacturing techniques. For the first time, an affordable and reliable manufacturing process for the integration and packaging of fully flexible high-performance electronics has been developed for future Internet-of-Everything (IoE) applications. Such decal electronic systems could be used like RFID tags are today but with much more functionality and performance.
Solar cells absorb incoming sunlight and convert a part of photon energy into electricity. The remainder of photon energy is dissipated as heat. Although the idea is rather counter-intuitive, 'reverse solar cell' systems can also generate electric power by emitting rather than absorbing photons. Such systems - known as thermoradiative cells - generate voltage and electric power via non-equilibrium thermal radiation of infrared photons. Thermoradiative cells offer an opportunity to generate clean energy by harvesting radiation from largely untapped terrestrial thermal emission sources, potentially including the Earth itself.
Researchers demonstrate for the first time a multifunctional biophotonic platform enabled by the multiband resonance peaks of the plasmonic moire metasurfaces. Benefiting from the multiband nature of moire metasurface and the near-field enhancement from the metal-insulator-metal configuration, the scientists achieved a dual-band metasurface patch with strong plasmonic resonances at both near-infrared and mid-infrared regimes.The plasmonic nanostructures support plasmon resonances at different wavelengths due to the gradient in size and shape.