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Nanotechnology's role in the race to find a Covid-19 vaccine

mRNA-vaccineWith over 200 COVID-19 vaccine trials currently underway globally, nanotechnology is being pivoted for COVID-19 applications. Nanoparticles and viruses operate on the same scale, and thus there are various nanotechnological aides which are being used in the development of potential vaccines. Nanoparticles are capable of entering the cell through biological channels, and can deliver antigens there. Besides delivering antigens themselves, nanoparticles can also be enlisted to provide adjuvants to cells.

Nov 9th, 2020

Concept design for a user-powered, refreshable Braille e-book reader for the blind

brailleIn order to make dynamic written content, for instance a news reader, available for blind or vision-impaired people, scientists have come up with various designs of sheet-type, refreshable Braille displays. Expanding the use of nanotechnologies in designing next-generation Braille readers, researchers now have successfully demonstrated a refreshable Braille display system by using a safe high-voltage power source - a triboelectric nanogenerator.

Nov 5th, 2020

Promising baby steps toward brain-inspired computing

nanoelectrodeThe biggest challenge for the development of brain-inspired computing is that the brain is too complex to simply emulate on a chip. Its massive interconnectivity, redundancy, local activity, remarkable logic complexity, and functional non-linearity makes the brain a computing masterpiece. Many researchers in this field see memristors as a key device component for neuromorphic computing. In particular, a non-conventional genre of memristors made of metal-organic molecular complexes shows great promise for ultralow energy, high density computing platforms.

Nov 2nd, 2020

Nanomechanical indentation measurements with force spectroscopy

nanoidentationTaking advantage of its piconewton force and sub-nanometer displacement resolution, atomic force microscopy (AFM) is uniquely suited to measure nanoscale mechanical properties, especially when it comes to soft materials. Force spectroscopy is a useful nanomechanical technique to obtain both single point measurements and maps of important mechanical properties such as stiffness and adhesion. Cantilever and tip calibrations coupled with contact mechanics models enable the full analysis and interpretation of individual force curves.

Oct 30th, 2020

High-entropy alloy nanoparticles show excellent resistance to oxidation

nanoparticleHigh-entropy alloys (HEAs), which are formed by combining nearly equal parts of several primary metals, are an emerging class of advanced materials that hold great potential for creating materials with superior mechanical, thermal, and catalytic properties. New research offers key insights into how HEA nanoparticles behave under high-temperature oxidizing environment and sheds light on future design options of highly stable alloys under complex service conditions.

Oct 29th, 2020

Designing nucleic acid nanotechnology for targeted immunostimulation in human cells

nucleic-acid-nanoparticlesNucleic acids offer an ideal building material for the development of therapeutic nucleic acids because they are biocompatible and can be programmed as or functionalized with antisense oligonucleotides, small interfering RNA (siRNAs), microRNAs (miRNAs), aptamers, and decoy sequence. New research shows that nucleic acid composition can be designed for enhanced stability, targeted cellular delivery, and optimal activation or abrogation of immune responses.

Oct 28th, 2020

Solar-powered smart dust

microchipResearchers demonstrate that dust-sized photovoltaic cells grown on silicon substrate can be heterogeneously integrated with other chiplets using a high-throughput wafer-level packaging process. The ability to integrate various nanoelectronic chiplets - such as processor, memory, and photovoltaics - in an industrial-scale wafer-level-packaging process, unlocks the potential of large-scale manufacturing of these compact integrated systems with high performance and ultralow cost.

Oct 27th, 2020

Stealth microrobots fly under the radar of the immune system (w/video)

microrobotThe immune system's activation of macrophages, a type of immune cells that are on the lookout for pathogens, is a major obstacle for developing functional medical microrobots that can operate in vivo for a prolonged period of time. Researchers are trying to overcome this challenge by 'camouflaging' therapeutic nanoparticles with special coatings so that they avoid detection by macrophages. In new work, researchers report the development of stealth microrobots that can fly under the radar of the immune system, and hence prolong their window of operation since they do not get eliminated.

Oct 26th, 2020