Here are the 10 most popular Nanowerk Nanotechnology Spotlight articles of 2016. This year, the list includes nanotechnology in textiles; nanotechnology for next-generation inkjet color printing; graphene-based smart contact lens works as self-powered biosensor; nanotechnology's tiny steps toward atomic-scale 3D fabrication; stick-on epidermal electronics tattoo to measure UV exposure; a nanotechnology approach to scavenging wind and solar energy in cities; 3D printing highly conductive nanocomposites; using household items to make a multi-sensory 'Paper Skin'; an analogue smart skin that is self-powered; and writing nanotubes with a nano fountain pen.
Written by Nanowerk's Michael Berger, this just published book is a collection of essays about researchers involved in all facets of nanotechnologies. Nanoscience and nanotechnology research are truly multidisciplinary and international efforts, covering a wide range of scientific disciplines such as medicine, materials sciences, chemistry, biology and biotechnology, physics and electronics. Each of the book's chapters is based on a scientific paper that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Although each story revolves around one or two scientists who were interviewed for this book, many, if not most, of the scientific accomplishments covered here are the result of collaborative efforts by several scientists and research groups, often from different organizations and from different countries.
Whether it is possible to achieve high formability in quasicrystals and how quasicrystals are plastically deformed at room temperature have been long-standing questions since their discovery. In new work, an international group of researchers has found that a typically brittle quasicrystal exhibits superior ductility (ductility is a solid material's ability to deform under stress without fracture) at the sub-micrometer scales and at room temperature. Furthermore, their experiments indicate that 'dislocation glide' could be the dominating deformation mechanism for quasicrystals under high-stress and low temperature conditions, which has been not poorly understood before.
Poisson's ratio describes the fundamental elasticity of any solid. Poisson's ratio has been a basic principle of engineering for more than 200 years as it allows engineers to identify how much a material can be compressed and stretched and how much pressure it will withstand, before it collapses. Materials with a negative Poisson's ratio are relatively rare and it has recently become popular in referring to them as metamaterials - a group of materials that attain interesting or extreme properties via structure rather than composition.
A theory analysis of energy / momentum conservation laws in a spatially confined coupled system of nearly free electrons and phonons hints that the absorption of electromagnetic waves by a metallic nano-object hosting longitudinal vibration modes may allow channeling the absorbed energy either into heat or into terahertz radiation, depending on the nano-objects' shape and size. This offers an explanation for the size selectivity of small nanoparticles in radio frequency hyperthermia, and suggests design for novel terahertz radiation sources.
There is an often-asked question: 'When are we finally going to start seeing nanotechnology products on the market?' As a matter of fact, the average home is already filled with products enhanced or reliant upon nanotechnology. In fact, there are several online repositories listing the more than 2,000 commercially available products that incorporate nanotechnology. The application of nanotechnology in some areas, such as batteries, microelectronics and sunscreens is relatively well known. Let's take a virtual tour through a home to see what else we can find.
Education has long been recognized as an important factor for growing the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology and solidifying and expanding their roles in the global economy. Leading researchers from the field discuss innovative learning models that are being applied at the undergraduate level in order to train future leaders at the interface of engineering and management. They have a set of five recommendations to improve the current situation.
In order to make robots and robotic technology more human-like and more human-friendly, smart skin technology is a critical element that helps robots sense the world. These electronic or smart skins could help machines to accurately perceive the environment and better assist human owners. By applying the triboelectric effect and planar electrostatic induction, researchers for the first time have created a self-powered analogue smart skin.