Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

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A new method to quantify structural helicity in chiral nanoparticles (w/video)

helixal-nanorodsResearchers have developed a novel technique to quantify the helical morphology of gold chiral nanorods. Such nanoparticles exhibit unique properties in a sense that they can change the circular polarization of light. In many cases, these properties are believed to be caused by the helical (or 'screw-like') morphology of the nanoparticles, but until now it was very difficult to objectively analyze their shape. This methodology is the first building block towards a fundamental understanding of the chiroptical activity of nanoparticles.

Mar 10th, 2022

Growing wafer-scale 2D materials

waferThe huge variety of vdW layered 2D materials provides a large potential for advanced 2D nanoelectronics. However, for scalable applications, all vdW layered 2D materials face a common challenge: transitioning from micrometer-scale 2D flakes to wafer-scale. This is necessary for scaling up 2D vdW materials application in the high-end semiconductor industry. A new review describes the structures, properties, wafer-scale growth methods, and applications of a number of representative vdW layered 2D materials.

Mar 8th, 2022

Chemically programmed nanotranslators facilitate communication between microorganisms from different kingdoms

cellThe design of chemical communication networks at the micro/nanoscale is an emergent interdisciplinary topic with potential applications in diverse areas such as sensing, biomedicine, biotechnology, and information and communication technologies. Previously, researchers have demonstrated communication between synthetic microvesicles and one type of cells. Communicating cells from different kingdoms has not been achieved before. Now, scientists report a proof-of-concept study that appears to be the first realization of a programmed cross-kingdom communication involving two species of living cells enabled by nanoparticles.

Feb 25th, 2022

Materials design for atmospheric water harvesting

water-harvestingScientists estimate that at any one instant, the Earth's atmosphere contains about 12 900 cubic kilometers of water vapor. Extracting water from the air, that is, atmospheric water harvesting(AWH), becomes a promising alternative technology to produce freshwater. Atmospheric water harvesting can be achieved through three different approaches: fog collection, dew harvesting, and sorbent-based AWH. Here is a review of the recent materials engineering-enabled water management strategies for improving AWH performance at different working conditions (i.e., saturated humidity, dew point, and unsaturated humidity).

Feb 24th, 2022

Meet ELI - a nanotechnology neuroprosthetic that may one day integrate with neurons

endomycorrhizaScientists have designed a nanobot neuroprosthetic that it has been inspired from nature by way of endomyccorhizae - a type of plant/fungus symbiosis, which is over four hundred million years old. During endomyccorhizae, fungi use numerous threadlike projections called mycelium that penetrate plant roots, forming colossal underground networks with nearby root systems. During this process fungi take up vital nutrients while protecting plant roots from infections - a win-win relationship. Consequently, the nano-neuroprosthetic has been named 'endomyccorhizae ligand interface', or 'ELI' for short.

Feb 21st, 2022

Using DNA to make nanoelectronics

square-patternTo realize the full potential of DNA nanotechnology in nanoelectronics applications requires addressing a number of scientific and engineering challenges: how to create and manipulate DNA nanostructures? How to use them for surface patterning and integrating heterogeneous materials at the nanoscale? And how to use these processes to produce electronic devices at lower cost and with better performance? These topics are the focus of a recent reviewarticle.

Feb 17th, 2022

Fabrication of perovskite solar cells with just a piece of paper? A new method tells you how! (w/video)

flexible-photovoltaicsPerovskite semiconductor solar cells are a very exciting photovoltaic technology possessing similar efficiencies to silicon but cast or printed in thin films via liquid inks. Researchers have developed a new method that uses a simple sheet of paper to deposit the perovskite films that does without any expensive equipment. The trick to achieve high performance with this remarkably cheap method is to soak the paper applicator in anti-solvent which almost doubles efficiencies compared to when using it dry, reaching 11% on flexible plastic substrates.

Feb 15th, 2022

Optimizing methods for stable storage of nucleic acid nanoparticles and their transportation at ambient temperatures

nucleic-acid-nanoparticleNucleic acid nanoparticles (NANPs) have found success in a variety of biochemical applications ranging from nanoscaffolds for coordinated delivery of multiple therapeutic nucleic acids (TNAs) to potent immunoregulators and biosensors. Despite their potential, the true viability of NANPs and TNAs is limited by their relative chemical instability and sensitivity to higher temperatures. Shipping and transportation of NANPs and TNAs currently relies on a cold-chain storage. Newly developed methods could reduce the need for cold chain storage and dramatically improve vaccine shelf life.

Feb 10th, 2022