Northwestern University's Chad A. Mirkin, a leading nanotechnology researcher, has developed a completely new set of building blocks that is based on nanoparticles and DNA. Using these tools, which Mirkin presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston on Feb. 17, scientists will be able to build—from the bottom up, just as nature does—new and useful structures from artificial atoms.
A Purdue University-led team has revealed the proton transfer pathway responsible for...
More powerful batteries could help electric cars achieve a considerably larger range...
An international collaboration of scientists has discovered a unique crystalizing behavior at the interface between two immiscible liquids that could aid in sustainable energy development. Liquid interface behavior cannot be investigated at atomic level by most modern methods. Only brilliant X-rays at world-leading light sources can investigate this type of important chemical processes.
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.
When a crystal is hit by an intense, ultrashort light pulse, its atomic structure is set in motion. Researchers in Germany have used intensive ultraviolet laser pulses of only a few femtoseconds duration to cause this change in titanium dioxide, a semiconductor. They report that they can observe how the configuration of electrons and atoms changes, confirming that even subtle changes in the electron distribution caused by the excitation can have a considerable impact on the whole crystal structure.
A new way of making crystalline silicon, developed by University of Michigan researchers, could make this crucial ingredient of computers and solar cells much cheaper and greener. The researchers discovered a way to make silicon crystals, directly at just 180 F, the internal temperature of a cooked turkey, by taking advantage of a phenomenon seen in your kitchen.
Researchers from the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology and Johns Hopkins University have developed a technique to reliably manipulate hundreds of individual micrometer-sized colloid particles to create crystals with controlled dimensions. The accomplishment is an important milestone for understanding how to direct and control the assembly of microscale and nanoscale objects for nanomanufacturing applications.
A team of researchers in Austria has shown that so-called block copolymer stars—polymers that consist of two different blocks and are chemically anchored on a common point—have a robust and flexible architecture and they possess the ability to self-assemble at different levels. The team has called their invention, which can form complex crystal diamonds or cubes, the “soft Lego”.
Directed assembly is a growing field of research in nanotechnology in which scientists and engineers aim to manufacture structures on the smallest scales without having to individually manipulate each component. Rather, they set out precisely defined starting conditions and let the physics and chemistry that govern those components do the rest. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania has shown a new way to direct the assembly of liquid crystals.
Crystals growing near the bottom of a beaker are subject to convection, but it is much quieter near the top of the beaker. In that case, why not just let them grow hanging in the beaker? A researcher in The Netherlands who had already tried growing crystals in space has used magnets to grow suspended crystals that form more perfectly, allowing better X-ray diffraction.
A research team including scientists from NIST has confirmed long-standing suspicions among physicists that electrons in a crystalline structure called a kagome lattice can form a "spin liquid," a novel quantum state of matter in which the electrons' magnetic orientation remains in a constant state of change.
Understanding the arrangement of atoms in a solid is vital to materials research—but the problem can be difficult to solve in many important situations. Now, by combining the work of two different scientific camps, Northwestern University researchers have created an algorithm that makes crystal structure solution more automated and reliable.
New York University chemists have discovered a family of antifreeze molecules that prevent ice formation when water temperatures drop below 32 F. Their findings may lead to new methods for improving food storage and industrial products.
Researchers at the Carnegie Institution have discovered a new efficient way to pump heat using crystals. The crystals can pump or extract heat, even on the nanoscale, so they could be used on computer chips to prevent overheating or even meltdown, which is currently a major limit to higher computer speeds.
The winners of the 2012 Chemistry Nobel Prize won for their work in revealing the structure and functioning of a key protein complex on the surface of human cells that has been a target for drug development. Their main tool for this research was X-ray crystallography, which is performed with X-ray synchrotrons. But as the researchers would discover, not all synchrotrons are created equal.
The theoretical and experimental framework of a new coherent diffraction strain imaging approach was recently developed by scientists at IBM and Argonne National Laboratory. The new technique is capable of imaging lattice distortions in thin films nondestructively at spatial resolutions of less than 20 nm using coherent nanofocused hard X-rays.
An ingenious experiment has recently revealed the minimum number of molecules needed before water forms a crystalline structure. It was previously thought that around 1,000 molecules were the minimum necessary for a complete crystal, but now crystal formation can be detected from as little as 275 molecules.
Borrowing a technology used to improve the effectiveness of drugs, scientists at the University of Michigan and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are reporting discovery of a new explosive more powerful than the current state-of-the-art explosive used by the military, and just as safe for personnel to handle.
One of the limiting factors for the popularity of solar energy is the lack of durability of light-absorbing materials. Scientists at Bowling Green State University have developed a synthesis method for two inorganic nanocrystals that are each tougher than their organic counterparts. The liquid phase of these materials can produce hydrogen gas or an electric charge.
A team of organic chemists have discovered they can create very long crystals with desirable properties using just two small organic molecules that are extremely attracted to each other. The attraction between the two molecules causes them to self assemble into an ordered network, and, most importantly, they possess the ferroelectric properties that are useful in computing.
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for controlling the crystalline structure of titanium dioxide at room temperature. The development should make titanium dioxide more efficient in a range of applications, including photovoltaic cells, hydrogen production, antimicrobial coatings, smart sensors, and optical communication technologies.
An international team of researchers has recently analyzed protein crystals using short pulses of X-ray light from the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. The facility’s ultrashort flashes of X-radiation allow atomic structures of macromolecules to be obtained even from tiny protein crystals
The contention of a major but controversial new theory to explain nanocrystal growth is that nanoparticles can act as “artificial atoms,” forming molecular-type building blocks that can assemble into complex structures. The conclusion is based on recent observations of growing nanorods made by Lawrence Berkeley National Laoratory researchers using transmission electron microscopy and advanced liquid cell handling techniques.
Protein design is a technique that is increasingly valuable to a variety of fields, from biochemistry, to therapeutics, to materials engineering. University of Pennsylvania chemists have taken this kind of design a step further; using computational methods, they have created the first custom-designed protein crystal.
Scientists at the National Center for Electron Microscopy have created the first-ever atomic-scale real-time movie of nanocrystal growth in liquid. The movie, which shows nanoparticles of platinum diffusing in liquid then coalescing into crystals, was made possible with TEAM I, the world’s most powerful microscope.
Glass, one of the oldest man-made materials, is a non-crystalline amorphous material produced by the fusion of crystalline powder mixtures heated to high temperatures Using high-energy X-rays, scientists have for the first time visualized the transformation of powder mixtures into molten glass.
Naturally-occurring gypsum is an important industrial mineral used in buildings, artwork, casts, and fireproofing. But until now the process of how gypsum crystals form has never been documented. Findings by scientists in the U.K. may point to a way of creating low-cost, low-temperature gypsum in the laboratory.