Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

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Showing Spotlights 9 - 16 of 29 in category All (newest first):

 

Fast molecular cargo transport by diffusion

nanomotorIn new work, researchers have utilized diffusion as an effective transport mechanism for DNA nanotechnology. These findings contribute a new aspect to be considered for the design of future DNA motors, molecular machines, and nanorobots as they provide a simple way to transport molecules over distances of potentially several 100 nm; which is much faster than when using conventional DNA walkers or motors, which make many small and slow steps.

Mar 19th, 2015

Has nanomedicine lived up to its promise?

nanomedicineHistorically, the approval of Doxil as the very first nanotherapeutic product in 1995 is generally regarded as the dawn of nanomedicine for human use. Although numerous products classified as nanomedicine products have indeed appeared over the past decade, such products have not exactly revolutionized treatment paradigms as envisaged earlier. In particular no molecular machine or nanorobot has yet entered clinical trials, although research in these areas is picking up pace.

Mar 10th, 2015

Understanding springs at the nanoscale: a step towards nanorobots

nanospringInspired 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.

Oct 31st, 2014

A nanorobotics platform for nanomanufacturing

nanomotor_lithographyThe 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.

Oct 28th, 2014

Graphene-based biomimetic soft robotics platform

soft_roboticsAmong the various robotic actuation mechanisms driven by different stimuli, light-driven systems have garnered more and more attention due to their advantages in wireless/remote control, localized rather than whole-field driven capabilities, and electrical/mechanical decoupling. Inspired by the photothermal effect of graphene in biomedical applications, researchers have now demonstrated an easily fabricated and remote/wireless control light-driven approach to actuation mechanism based on graphene nanocomposites.

Oct 23rd, 2014

Self-assembly machines - a vision for the future of manufacturing

self-assemblyIndustrial production processes, by and large, rely on robotic assembly lines that place, package, and connect a variety of disparate components. While the manufacturing world is dominated by robots, there are applications where the established processes of serial 'pick and place' and manipulation of single objects reach scaling limits in terms of throughput, alignment precision, and the minimal component dimension they can handle effectively. By contrast, the emerging methods of engineered self-assembly are massively parallel and have the potential to overcome these scaling limitations.

Jul 10th, 2014

Embedded 3D printing for soft robotics fabrication

sensorA significant challenge in soft robotics involves fabricating soft sensors and actuators which, so far, have been very tedious to produce. Building soft sensors used by roboticists usually requires a multi-step, manual molding-lamination-sealing-infilling process. As a result, the design and fabrication process is cumbersome; the sensor form factors are unnecessarily limited; and there are issues with mechanical robustness. Now, though, researchers have demonstrated a new method for creating highly stretchable sensors based on embedded 3D printing of a carbon-based resistive ink within an elastomeric matrix.

Jun 24th, 2014

Magnetic nanovoyagers in human blood (w/video)

nanopropellerWhile nanotechnology researchers have made great progress over the past few years in developing self-propelled nano objects, these tiny devices still fall far short of what their natural counterparts' performance. Today, artificial nanomotors lack the sophisticated functionality of biomotors and are limited to a very narrow range of environments and fuels. In another step towards realizing the vision of tiny vessels roaming around in human blood vessels working as surgical nanorobots, researchers have now demonstrated, for the first time, externally driven nanomotors that move in undiluted human blood.

Apr 17th, 2014