Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

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Graphene and silk combine to make self-healable, multifunctional electronic tattoos

e-tattooElectronic tattoos (e-tattoos) are an extremely thin form of wearable electronics. They are lightweight and soft, which allows them to be intimately mounted on human skin for noninvasive, high-fidelity sensing. During the operation of e-tattoos, they are constantly exposed to external mechanical inputs such as bending, twisting, pressing, and cutting, which may cause mechanical damage and lead to malfunction. Now, researchers have demonstrated a self-healing silk e-tattoo that shows high sensitivity to multiple stimuli, including strain, humidity, and temperature based on a unique graphene, silk fibroin, Ca2+ combination.

Mar 8th, 2019

Plasmonics in the clouds

plasmonic_aerosolScientists have experimentally realized a plasmonic aerosol by efficiently transitioning liquid suspensions of gold nanorods into the gas phase and simultaneously measuring their optical spectra. They demonstrated that these aerosols are optically homogeneous, thermodynamically stable, with wide wavelength tunability (by controlling the aspect ratio of the nanorods) and have extremely large sensitivities to their environment. This novel plasmonic material could potentially open the door to many interesting applications ranging from geoengineering, vacuum microelectronics, molecular diagnostics, nanomedicines, nanojet printing and nonlinear optics.

Mar 6th, 2019

Green and flexible protein-based electronics

e-gloveIonic conductors are a class of materials with key roles in energy storage, solar energy conversion, sensors, and electronic devices. In their quest towards eco-friendly alternatives for the current type of ionic conductors, researchers have developed an alternative green option based on organic silk and inorganic green laponite for the display and wearables industry via flexible and eco-friendly ionics. This could ultimately enable a wide range of applications within the field of flexible and wearable electronics.

Mar 5th, 2019

Plasmonic pixels become dynamic

plasmonic_pixelsResearchers demonstrate a display pixel that can switch on and off at least 1000 times faster than pixels that use conventional liquid crystal materials. They show that plasmonic gold nanorods - which interact very strongly with light - can be aligned using electric fields, and they use this alignment to control the amount of light that can pass through the pixel. By engineering the dimensions and material structure of the nanorods, the scientists design pixels that work with different colors of light, both visible and infrared.

Mar 4th, 2019

Vitamins are good for your multi-energy nanogenerator

spectrometerResearchers report a simple, innovative and inexpensive design of a vitamin-based hybrid biocompatible nanogenerator with energy harvesting ability from various energy sources in a single device. This is the first time that inexpensive and biocompatible vitamin B2 has been used as a novel and effective beta-phase stabilizer to enhance the piezoelectric performance of PVDF. The attractiveness of using vitamin B2 is that it is biodegradable and biocompatible, thermodynamically stable, low-cost, has delocalized pi-electrons, contains multiple numbers of hydroxyl groups, carbonyl groups and amino groups in its backbone.

Feb 28th, 2019

Using DNA molds for templating nanoparticles into 2D patterns

nanopatterningDNA nanotechnology employs DNA as a programmable building material for self-assembled, nanoscale structures with precisely controlled structures, that can lead to improved surface properties relevant to biosensing, materials science, and cell biology. Adding to the available tools for DNA nanopatterning, researchers have demonstrated a novel biotemplating strategy for ordering various nanoparticles into expected two-dimensional (2D) patterns via nanoparticle-surface or nanoparticle-DNA interaction.

Feb 27th, 2019

Plate-like ferroelectric crystals synthesized with the help of MXenes

2D_ferroelectric_crystalPotassium niobate (KNbO3) is a a perovskite ferroelectric crystal that, due to its optical properties, has been found useful in many different areas of materials science research, including electro-optics, piezoelectric, and electronic applications. Researchers have now, for the first time, succeeded in producing large KNbO3 crystals with uniform flat shape, and c-axis texture, which makes the crystals useful for practical electro-optic applications. By using MXenes as precursor materials to grow ferroelectric crystals, their 2D nature is inherited by the ferroelectric crystals.

Feb 25th, 2019

Applications of carbon materials derived from metal-organic frameworks (MOFs)

MOFsDirectly carbonizing from organic precursors is the most frequently used method to prepare nanoporous carbons, widely used as electrode materials, due to its flexibility and simplicity. These materials present certain drawbacks, though, such as low surface areas, disordered structures, and non-uniform sizes, which will greatly limit their applications. However, researchers found that carbon materials derived from metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) could overcome these limitations. A review summarizes the applications of MOF-derived carbon materials.

Feb 20th, 2019