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Nanotechnology Spotlights

Magnetically levitating proteins to precisely measure their density

levitating-proteinsThe density of proteins in solution is an important fundamental biophysical quantity that has not been accurately measured yet. This has led to extensive debate in the literature regarding the precise density value of proteins. This rough density metric can often lead to inaccurate estimates on the other physicochemical and composite protein features, especially after their interactions with other materials such as nanoparticles....

Jan 13, 2020

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Scalable and flexible covert polarization displays

QRcodeResearchers have developed numerous applications with structural colors, among them the creation of sophisticated security features for anti-counterfeiting. Covert polarization displays, for instance, provide a barrier to the inadvertent viewing of encrypted optical information without compromising packaging aesthetics. To break through the flexibility/scalability limitation of existing systems, researchers have now developed...

Jan 10, 2020

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Metal-organic-framework-derived 2D carbon nanosheets for localized bacterial eradication and anti-infective therapy

mofThe combination of multiple therapeutic modalities with synergetic effects is a promising approach to enhance antibacterial efficiency and possibly decrease the needed concentration of bactericidal reagents. In new work, scientists report a path to achieve efficient localized bacterial eradication and anti-infective therapy by combining the advantages of 2D graphene and metal organic framework (MOF)-derived carbon nanomaterials....

Jan 02, 2020

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Bubble- and convection-assisted trapping significantly speed up nanotweezers

nanotweezerPlasmonic 'nanotweezers' are structures made of noble metals that concentrate and absorb light, resulting in 'plasmonic hotspots' that make it possible to manipulate nanoscale objects suspended in a fluid. Trapping or sensing of nanoparticles using nanotweezers suffers from an intrinsic problem of low throughput as the particle delivery process is often diffusion-limited. Researhers have developed bubble- and convection-assisted...

Dec 23, 2019

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Biocompatible hydrogel printing for soft robotic systems made easy

3D-printingResearchers have developed a facile and versatile strategy to directly print hydrogels into biomimetic soft robots. Hydrogel materials possess intrinsic softness and they also exhibit other favorable properties that make them a perfect fabrication material for biomimetic soft robots: stretchability, biocompatibility, permeability, and stimuli-adaptability. The team harnesses biocompatible alginate as a rheological modifier...

Dec 18, 2019

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Living biosensors and micromotors as platform for precision medicine

microparticlesOptical biosensors and micromotors that can sense and actuate biological environments are considered promising theranostic devices because of their high spatial resolution and flexibility. Advancing the field from synthetic sensors to living materials - which often can be incompatible with biological systems - researchers have assembled living biosensors and micromotors using an in vivo red blood cell (RBC) waveguide for applications...

Dec 16, 2019

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The first optical nanomanipulator on solid substrates

photon-nudgingResearchers show that by introducing a surfactant layer to modify the particle-substrate interactions, a variety of colloidal particles can be manipulated in a non-invasive and contactless way through coordinating optical heating and scattering forces. This novel technique provides a versatile and powerful platform to manipulate and reconfigurably assemble colloidal particles on solid substrates, without the need to involve...

Dec 13, 2019

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Morphable metamaterials made with hierarchical kirigami

kirigamiResearchers have identified kirigami as an intriguing tool to create programmable mechanical metamaterials with unconventional mechanical and morphological responses. These reconfigurable metamaterials offer a new material platform to achieve dramatic changes of mechanical and optical properties, which are arising from dynamically tunable geometrical structures. A key feature of kirigami metamaterials is that they are conveniently...

Dec 12, 2019

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Metal-organic frameworks as high-performance water desalination membranes

desalinationReverse osmosis (RO) is one of the most effective desalination technologies for producing freshwater from seawater. The reverse osmosis membrane water reclamation processes is very energy intensive - not exactly an advantage given the rising cost of energy and the negative climate impact of fossil fuels. In a new study, researchers found that metal-organic frameworks (MOF) allow higher water flux compared to other 2D materials...

Dec 11, 2019

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