Nanostructures of semiconducting materials, called quantum dots, look like miniscule pyramids. Inside each of these nano-pyramids are always only one or two electrons that essentially “feel” the constricting walls around them and are therefore tightly constrained in their mobility. Physicists have now successfully studied the special energy states of the electrons trapped inside individual quantum dots, helping us better understand these objects.
Plans are now proceeding to commercialize a new liquid laundry additive called CatClo, which contains microscopic pollution-eating particles. The chemical, developed in the U.K., contains nanoparticles of titanium dioxide that grip onto fabric tightly. When the particles then come into contact with nitrogen oxides in the air, they react with these pollutants and oxidize them in the fabric, removing up to 5 g of nitrogen oxides per day.
Diamondoids are nanoparticles made of only a handful of carbon atoms, arranged in the same way as in diamond, forming nanometer-sized diamond crystals. Researchers at the Advanced Light Source in California discovered that these tiny diamonds can act as a monochromator for electrons. Recently, they have proven the ability of a diamondoid cover to boost photoemission electron microscopy performance.
A research team in Singapore believes their latest work has proven that nanoparticle technology can inhibit tumor growth and control gene expression in mice. The team has discovered a way to do this by using photodynamic nanoparticles which are able to convert near-infrared (NIR) light to visible or ultraviolet (UV) light. Previously this could only be done by starting with harmful UV light.
If recent research in Norway is successful, a coating filled with tiny lubricant capsules could come to the rescue when metal surfaces dry out and friction builds up. As part of a project at the Gemini Tribology Centre researchers are now testing whether it is possible—where two metal surfaces are in contact with each other—to apply a coating to surfaces formed of hard particles and capsules filled with liquid lubricant.
In a pre-clinical non-small-cell lung cancer metastasis model in mice, a research team at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst uses a sensor array system of gold nanoparticles and proteins to “smell” different cancer types in much the same way our noses identify and remember different odors.
Though costly to produce, hydrogen is crucial for the oil-refining industry and the production of essential chemicals such as the ammonia used in fertilizers. The recent invention of a new photocatalyst may help the efficiency of this process. Nanometer-scale “Janus” structures consisting of cheap metal and oxide spheres were recently demonstrated as an excellent catalyst for a hydrogen-production reaction powered only by sunlight.
An invisible quick response (QR) code has been created by researchers in South Dakota in an attempt to increase security on printed documents and reduce the possibility of counterfeiting, a problem which costs governments and private industries billions of dollars each year. The QR code is made of tiny nanoparticles that have been combined with blue and green fluorescence ink, which is invisible until illuminated with laser light.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new technique for magnetically separating oil and water that could be used to clean up oil spills. They believe that, with their technique, the oil could be recovered for use, offsetting much of the cleanup cost.
Mercury, when dumped in lakes and rivers, accumulates in fish, and often ends up on our plates. A Swiss-American team of researchers has devised a simple, inexpensive system based on nanoparticles, a kind of nano-velcro, to detect and trap this toxic pollutant as well as others. The particles are covered with tiny hairs that can grab onto toxic heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium.
A University of Central Florida assistant professor has developed a new material using nanotechnology, which could help keep pilots and sensitive equipment safe from destructive lasers. Working with gold nanoparticles and studying their properties when they are shrunk into a small size regime called nanoclusters, the team found that nanoclusters developed by adding atoms in a sequential manner could provide interesting optical properties.
By modifying the rate at which chemical reactions take place, nanoparticle catalysts fulfill myriad roles in industry, the biomedical arena, and everyday life. Finding new and more effective nanoparticle catalysts to perform applications in these areas has become vital. Now, a researcher at Arizona State University has found a clever way to measure catalytical reactions of single nanoparticles and multiple particles printed in arrays, which will help to characterize and improve existing nanoparticle catalysts.
When twins are forced to share, it can put a significant strain on their relationship. While this observation is perhaps unsurprising in the behavior of children, it is less obvious when it comes to nanoparticles. After spending close to a decade examining the structure of nanowires made of pure silver, scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a set of unusual behaviors in nanocrystals with a strained, five-fold symmetry formed by "twinning" in the crystal structure.
A team led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology have made the first-ever mechanical device that can measure the mass of individual molecules one at a time. This new technology, the researchers say, will eventually help doctors diagnose diseases, enable biologists to study viruses and probe the molecular machinery of cells, and even allow scientists to better measure nanoparticles and air pollution.
A nanoparticle developed at Rice University and tested in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine may bring great benefits to the emergency treatment of brain-injury victims, even those with mild injuries. Combined polyethylene glycol-hydrophilic carbon clusters (PEG-HCC), already being tested to enhance cancer treatment, are also adept antioxidants. In animal studies, injections of PEG-HCC during initial treatment after an injury helped restore balance to the brain's vascular system.
University of Miami scientists have developed a way to switch fluorescent molecules on and off within aqueous environments by strategically trapping the molecules inside water-soluble particles and controlling them with ultraviolet light. The new system can be used to develop better fluorescent probes for biomedical research.
By sequencing cancer-cell genomes, scientists have discovered vast numbers of genes that are mutated, deleted, or copied in cancer cells. This treasure trove is a boon for researchers seeking new drug targets, but it is nearly impossible to test them all in a timely fashion. To help speed up the process, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed RNA-delivering nanoparticles that allow for rapid screening of new drug targets in mice.
For the first time, engineers at the University of New South Wales have demonstrated that hydrogen can be released and reabsorbed from a promising storage material, overcoming a major hurdle to its use as an alternative fuel source. The researchers have synthesized nanoparticles of a commonly overlooked chemical compound called sodium borohydride and encased these inside nickel shells.
A University of Houston researcher has developed a nanoparticle coating for solar panels that makes it easier to keep the panels clean, which helps maintain their efficiency and reduces the maintenance and operations costs. The coating has successfully undergone testing at the Dublin Institute for Technology and will undergo field trials being conducted by an engineering firm in North Carolina.
Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory and in Switzerland have recently demonstrated the existence of long-lived charge-separated states in silver clusters. The stable charge-separated state, together with the fact that the clusters absorb light over a wide range of wavelengths, mean that the clusters represent a new and promising class of materials for solar energy applications.
DNA holds the genetic code for all sorts of biological molecules and traits. But University of Illinois researchers have found that DNA's code can similarly shape metallic structures. The team found that DNA segments can direct the shape of gold nanoparticles.
Up until now, most nanomaterial imaging has been done using electron microscopy. X-rays penetrate further into the material than electrons, but making lenses that focus X-rays is difficult and measuring the diffraction pattern of the sample has resulted in poor image quality. Researchers in the U.K., however, have invented a method to solve the image quality problem, revealing the 3D shape of gold nanocrystals in dramatic fashion.
A detailed understanding of how colloidal nanoparticles interact with interfaces is essential for designing them for specific applications in fields ranging from drug delivery to oil exploration and recovery. NIST scientists have recently used 3D single-particle tracking to measure the dynamic behavior of individual nanoparticles adsorbed at the surface of micrometer-scale oil droplets in water, and have discovered how they diffuse.
In a first for nanotechnology, a biophysicist in Switzerland has developed a method that measures not only the size of the particles but also their electrostatic charge. Up until the invention of this new approach, which relies on an “electrostatic trap”, it has not been possible to determine the charge of the particles directly.
Materials experts in Japan have recently developed an advanced self-assembling technology for semiconductor quantum dots called droplet epitaxy. This method has produced quantum dots with the world’s highest surface density, greatly exceeding the previously reported value.