Nanosprings, which are helical nanowires grown via a modified vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) mechanism, are of interest to researchers because of their potential applications in biological and chemical sensors, high porosity applications such as fuel cells, and biomedical drug delivery applications. Thanks to a novel fabrication method, nanosprings can now be synthesized with a yield higher than 90%, and with 100% repeatability.
The human heart does not have significant regeneration capabilities and cardiologists look to cell therapy as a promising new method for cardiac repair. Now there is a new delivery system that improves the results of cell therapy. The new system allows greater control of the intramyocardial environment (inside the heart muscle) by delivering growth factors to an injured heart muscle and using peptide nanofibers for prolonged delivery of the injected factor.
Superhydrophobic materials have surfaces that are extremely difficult to wet with water and therefore are of considerable interest for various industrial applications. Researchers have unlocked the mechanism that makes some leaves either superhydrophobic or hydrophilic, opening the way to creating self cleaning surfaces and interfaces that will not stick. Potential industrial applications are self cleaning windows and windshields, hard disks and magnetic tapes (for data storage) and MEMS and NEMS devices with no stiction issues.
New research shows that soft, conformable sub-wavelength phase masks can be used, with 2-photon effects, to pattern in a parallel fashion and in a single exposure step large, 3D structures in certain classes of photopolymers. The result is a technique that is simple from an experimental standpoint, but which fully exploits the flexibility and patterning capabilities enabled by 2-photon effects, making it useful for applications in photonics, microfluidics and biotechnology.
Among the many potential biology-related applications proposed for carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are high-sensitivity biosensors and bio-fuel cells. In order to create the synergy between the biomolecules and CNTs required to realize these applications, biomolecules, such as proteins and DNAs, must be connected to the CNTs.
Smart magnetic hydrogels were investigated by researchers in Taiwan for the development of a new magnetically induced drug delivery system. By applying magnetic fields, they were able to switch the the drug release profile of the hydrogels between on and off mode.
In a rapidly growing field, electrospun biodegradable polymeric nanofibers are being used in scaffolds for engineering various tissues such as nerves, cartilages or bone. Recent research by scientists in Singapore offers new insights into the nanostructures and mechanical properties of single nanofibers.