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Nanotechnology Spotlights

Transparent graphene implant for deep brain imaging and optogenetics

brain_implantAlthough advances in optical technologies such as multi-photon microscopy and optogenetics have revolutionized researchers' ability to record and manipulate neuronal activity, integration of optical modalities with electrical recordings is challenging due to generation of light-induced artifacts. In new work, scientists report a transparent graphene microelectrode neural implant that eliminates light-induced artifacts to enable...

Posted: May 24, 2018

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Moisture-powered electronics

graphVery different from piezoelectric and other energy harvesting technologies, new research shows that water vapor or moisture expand the range of natural phenomena that can be used to generate electric power. Researchers demonstrate that moisture, a vast kind of resource existing ubiquitously on earth and in biological organisms, can be exploited as a novel harvestable energy to generate electricity. Although some device configurations...

Posted: May 23, 2018

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Nature-inspired nanotechnology: skin-mimicking sensors

skin-inspired_sensorMimicking the exciting skin structure and function, researchers have designed hierarchical nanoporous and interlocked micro ridge structured polymers with gradient stiffness. The gradient elastic modulus of interlocked and micro ridge structured polymers effectively transfers the external stress and induces the large frictional contact between two polymeric layers, which facilitates their use in self-powered triboelectric...

Posted: May 22, 2018

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Designing safer metal oxide nanoparticles

nanoparticlesSignificant bioaccumulation of nanomaterials in the liver via inadvertent or systemic exposure, as well as the lack of a mechanistic knowledge that describes the hazard potential of metal oxide nanoparticles in liver cells, prompted researchers to comprehensively explore metal oxide nanoparticle interactions with major liver cells, including phagocytic cells and hepatocytes. They now report on the assessment of the toxicity...

Posted: May 18, 2018

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A full gamut of colors in all-dielectric, cheap, and large-scale artificial butterfly wings

butterfliesMost approaches to making artificial structural colors rely on low-throughput fabrication techniques, use expensive noble metal materials, and are limited to microscopic footprints. To address these limitations, an international team of researchers has demonstrated high-throughput fabrication of all-dielectric mesoporous materials with macroscopic footprints and colorimetric signatures spanning the whole gamut of visible colors....

Posted: May 11, 2018

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Studying strain effects in 2D materials using Kelvin Probe Microcopy

kelvin_probe_microscopyAt the nanoscale, materials become exceedingly sensitive to external perturbations. This is quite a relevant factor for wearable and flexible applications, where materials would always bear a certain degree of variable strain/stress. So far it has been very difficult to characterize strain effects in 2D materials, which is crucial to understanding strain-matter interactions. Researchers demonstrate that this limitation can...

Posted: May 09, 2018

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High-performance graphene sheets for engineering high-tech materials

carbon_compositesToday, the common engineering solution to manufacture carbon fiber reinforced plastic composite materials is based on cross-plied carbon fibers in a polymer resin requiring high temperature cure. In contrast, researchers now have demonstrated cross-linked graphene sheets that are manufacturable from graphene platelets, which are resin-free, processable at low temperature, and contain less than 10 wt.% additives. This advance...

Posted: May 08, 2018

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A smart skin for marine biology research

smart_skinFrequently, research by marine biologists depends on weighty and invasive sensory and telemetry equipment to understand and assess various aspects of the marine ecosystem. Researchers generally employ invasive attachment techniques to attach these devices to animals, sometimes restricting their natural movements. These tagging systems can be quite abrasive and not so forgiving on the animals. An alternative is a newly developed...

Posted: May 07, 2018

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All-natural nanobiotechnology instead of synthetic agrochemicals

nanoemulsionWidespread use of synthetic agrochemicals in crop protection has led to serious concerns of environmental contamination and increased resistance in plant-based pathogenic microbes. In an effort to develop bio-based and non-synthetic alternatives, nanobiotechnology researchers are looking to plants that possess natural antimicrobial properties. In new work, researchers show that nanoscale thymol's antibacterial and antifungal...

Posted: May 04, 2018

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