Nanosilver in wastewater can cause severe environmental damage if it occurs as a metal. A study recently conducted in Switzerland. now shows that nanosilver is quickly transformed into less problematic substances on its way to the wastewater treatment plant. In addition, it is efficiently retained in the sewage sludge so that only a small portion of it reaches the water systems.
Earthquakes that last minutes rather than seconds are a relatively recent discovery,...
Results of a recent experiment conducted at the Large Hadron Collider may have...
Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered that DNA "linker" strands...
Through experiments and simulations, a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have found that twin boundaries with good electrical conductivity and a strengthening mechanism in materials may not be so perfect after all.
These days, aerospace engineering is all about the light stuff. Advanced carbon-fiber composites have been used in recent years to lighten planes’ loads. For the next generation of commercial jets, researchers are looking to even stronger and lighter materials, such as composites made with carbon fibers coated with carbon nanotubes. However, a significant hurdle to achieving such composites has existed, until now.
Nearly everyone is familiar with the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), otherwise known as Teflon. Famous for being “non-sticky” and water repellent, PTFE is a dry lubricant used on machine components everywhere. Recently, engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas found a way to make the polymer even less adhesive.
Graphene has dazzled scientists ever since its discovery more than a decade ago. But one long-sought goal has proved elusive: how to engineer into graphene a property called a band gap, which would be necessary to use the material to make transistors and other electronic devices. New findings by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers are a major step toward making graphene with this coveted property.
With the hand of nature trained on a beaker of chemical fluid, the most delicate flower structures have been formed in a Harvard University laboratory—and not at the scale of inches, but microns. These minuscule sculptures, curved and delicate, don't resemble the cubic or jagged forms normally associated with crystals, though that's what they are. Rather, fields of flowers seem to bloom from the surface of a submerged glass slide.
In the wake of the sobering news that atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at its highest level in at least three million years, an important advance in the race to develop carbon-neutral renewable energy sources has been achieved. Scientists with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have reported the first fully integrated nanosystem for artificial photosynthesis.
Injectable nanoparticles developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology may someday eliminate the need for patients with Type 1 diabetes to constantly monitor their blood-sugar levels and inject themselves with insulin. The nanoparticles were designed to sense glucose levels in the body and respond by secreting the appropriate amount of insulin.
Inspired by the structure of moth eyes, researchers at North Carolina State University have developed nanostructures that limit reflection at the interfaces where two thin films meet, suppressing the “thin-film interference” phenomenon commonly observed in nature. This can potentially improve the efficiency of thin-film solar cells and other optoelectronic devices.
The atom-sized world of carbon nanotubes holds great promise for a future demanding smaller and faster electronic components. The challenge has been figuring out how to incorporate all of these nanotubes' great properties into useful electronic devices. A new discovery by four scientists at the University of California, Riverside has brought us closer to the goal.
Alloys like bronze and steel have been transformational for centuries, yielding machines necessary for industry. As scientists move toward nanotechnology, however, the focus has shifted toward creating alloys at the nanometer scale—producing materials with properties unlike their predecessors. Now, research demonstrates that nanometer-scale alloys possess the ability to emit light so bright they could have medical applications.
At seven times the toughness of Kevlar, a silk produced by the Caerostris darwini spider of Madagascar is more robust than any other material—synthetic or natural. Most spider silks are about two times tougher than Kevlar, and have long been considered an intriguing alternative for bulletproof vests and other protective gear. There’s only one problem: producing spider silk on demand is a tricky task.
Leading nanoscientists created beautiful, tiled patterns with flat nanocrystals, but they were left with a mystery: Why did some sets of crystals arrange themselves in an alternating, herringbone style? To find out, they turned to experts in computer simulation at the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Anyone who has seen pictures of the giant, red-hot cauldrons in which steel is made—fed by vast amounts of carbon, and belching flame and smoke—would not be surprised to learn that steelmaking is one of the world’s leading industrial sources of greenhouse gases. But remarkably, a new process developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers could change all that.
Researchers have cautioned that more work is needed to understand how microorganisms respond to the disinfecting properties of silver nanoparticles, increasingly used in consumer goods and for medical and environmental applications. Although nanosilver has effective antimicrobial properties against certain pathogens, overexposure to silver nanoparticles can cause other potentially harmful organisms to rapidly adapt and flourish.
Thermoelectric materials can be used to turn waste heat into electricity or to provide refrigeration without any liquid coolants, and a research team from the University of Michigan has found a way to nearly double the efficiency of a particular class of them that's made with organic semiconductors.
For the first time, researchers from institutions around the country have conducted an identical series of toxicology tests evaluating lung-related health impacts associated with widely used engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). The study provides comparable health risk data from multiple laboratories, which should help regulators develop policies to protect workers and consumers who come into contact with ENMs.
A Rice University laboratory’s cagey strategy turns negatively charged carbon nanotubes into liquid crystals that could enhance the creation of fibers and films. The latest step toward making macromaterials out of microscopic nanotubes depends on cage-like crown ethers that capture potassium cations.
Even without certification by Guinness World Records, it would be easy to believe a short, 250-frame film recently created by an IBM Research team is the world’s smallest. Named “A Boy and His Atom,” the movie was created by precisely placing thousands of atoms using a scanning tunneling microscope. This type of atomic-level control is the result of years of efforts by IBM to determine the lower limits for storing data.
The tail of a seahorse can be compressed to about half its size before permanent damage occurs, engineers at the University of California, San Diego have found. The tail’s exceptional flexibility is due to its structure, made up of bony, armored plates, which slide past each other. Researchers are hoping to use a similar structure to create a flexible robotic arm equipped with muscles made out of polymer.
An old, somewhat passé, trick used to purify protein samples based on their affinity for water has found new fans at NIST, where materials scientists are using it to divvy up solutions of carbon nanotubes, separating the metallic nanotubes from semiconductors. They say it's a fast, easy, and cheap way to produce high-purity samples of carbon nanotubes for use in nanoscale electronics and many other applications.
In 2012, more than 3 million people had stents inserted in their coronary arteries. But the longer a stent is in the body, the greater the risk of late-stage side effects. Studies have investigated iron- and magnesium-based bioabsorbable stents, but iron rusts and magnesium dissolves too fast. Recent research shows that a certain type of zinc alloy might be the answer.
Computer simulations conducted in Germany have shown that the reduction of natural dental wear might be the main cause for widely spread non-carius cervical lesions—the loss of enamel and dentine at the base of the crown—in our teeth. The discovery was made by examining the biomechanical behavior of teeth using finite element analysis methods typically applied to engineering problems.
Squeeze a piece of silicone and it quickly returns to its original shape, as squishy as ever. But scientists at Rice University have discovered that the liquid crystal phase of silicone becomes 90% stiffer when silicone is gently and repeatedly compressed. Their research could lead to new strategies for self-healing materials or biocompatible materials that mimic human tissues.
Using uniquely sensitive experimental techniques, scientists have found that laws of quantum physics—believed primarily to influence at only sub-atomic levels—can actually impact on a molecular level. The study shows that movement of the ring-like molecule pyrrole over a metal surface runs counter to the classical physics that govern our everyday world.
Sometimes, all it takes is an extremely small amount of material to make a big difference. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have recently discovered that they could substitute one-atom-thick graphene layers for oil-based lubricants on sliding steel surfaces, enabling a dramatic reduction in the amount of wear and friction.