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As good as gold

July 25, 2013 8:07 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Using gold nanoparticles, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have devised a new way to turn blood clotting on and off. The particles, which are controlled by infrared laser light, could help doctors control blood clotting in patients undergoing surgery, or promote wound healing.

Scientists catalog size-based grain changes in nanoscale metal particles

July 22, 2013 12:10 pm | News | Comments

The properties of nanomaterials could be easier to predict in the future thanks to work by researchers who have studied metal they have ground metal continuously finer powders. They have prepared a detailed catalogue of how the structure of the metal grains changes depending on grain size, and have discovered that the crystal lattices initially shrink, but expand again below a certain threshold grain size.

Steering stem cells with magnets

July 16, 2013 2:43 pm | News | Comments

By feeding stem cells tiny particles made of magnetized iron oxide, scientists at Emory Univ. and Georgia Tech have used magnets to attract the cells to a particular location in the body after intravenous injection. The method could become a tool for directing stem cells’ healing powers to treat conditions such as heart disease or vascular disease.


Researchers image individual atoms in a living catalytic reaction

July 12, 2013 2:42 pm | News | Comments

When studying the reactions at the catalyst surface, scientists usually have to look into idealized systems under vacuum conditions rather than examining the reality of industrial catalytic processes in a gas environment. However, new electron microscopy technology developed at the York JEOL Nanocentre in the U.K. is allowing researchers to observe and analyze single atoms and nanoparticles in dynamic in situ experiments for the first time.

Putting more science into the art of making nanocrystals

July 11, 2013 8:05 am | by Steven Powell, University of South Carolina | News | Comments

Andrew Greytak, a chemist at the University of South Carolina, is leading a research team that’s making the process of synthesizing quantum dots much more systematic. His group recently detailed an effective new method for purifying cadmium selenide nanocrystals with well-defined surface properties. The advance required the adoption of gel-permeation chromatography.

Nanoparticles, “pH phoresis” could improve cancer drug delivery

July 9, 2013 7:45 am | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a concept to potentially improve delivery of drugs for cancer treatment using nanoparticles that concentrate and expand in the presence of higher acidity found in tumor cells. The concept involves using nanoparticles made of "weak polybases," compounds that expand when transported into environments mimicking tumor cells, which have a higher acidity than surrounding tissues.

Materials scientists reveal organizing principles for design of nanoscopic materials

July 3, 2013 8:57 am | News | Comments

The ultimate dream come true for material scientists is to have the ability to make materials that can take on properties and behaviors to best suit our needs. But scientists first must truly understand the properties of cluster assembly through the individual cluster. Now, material scientists will have greater insight into the organizing principles that allow for the design of nanoscopic materials with specific band gap energy.

Nanoparticles, made to order

July 2, 2013 8:03 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A new coating technology developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, combined with a novel nanoparticle-manufacturing technology developed at the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, may offer scientists a way to quickly mass-produce tailored nanoparticles that are specially coated for specific applications, including medicines and electronics.


Silver could promote colonization of bacteria on medical devices

July 1, 2013 7:59 am | News | Comments

Biomaterials are susceptible to microbial colonization, which is why silver is often added to reduce the adhesion rate of bacteria. However, a recent study by researchers in Portugal suggests that—in one material—increasing levels of silver may indirectly promote bacterial adhesion instead of decrease it.

Spinach and nanodiamond?

June 25, 2013 7:10 am | News | Comments

Comic book hero Popeye swears by it. And so do generations of parents who “spoil” their children with spinach. But too much iron content in the blood can indicate acute inflammatory responses, which makes it an important medical diagnostic agent. Using nanoscale diamonds which feature defects, researchers in Europe have developed a new, sensitive biosensor for determination of iron content.

Antioxidant with a long shelf life

June 17, 2013 9:28 am | by Fabio Bergamin, ETH Zurich | News | Comments

Commonly found in many fruits, vegetables, coffees, teas, and wines, antioxidants are generally regarded as healthy chemicals. However, the problem with using antioxidants in other products is that many of these molecules are not actually very stable. Scientists have recently developed a nanomaterial that protects other molecules from oxidation, and unlike previous attempts the new antioxidant has a long shelf life.

The science of sculpture, nano-style

June 14, 2013 9:53 am | by Angela Herring, Northeastern University | News | Comments

Nanoscopic crys­tals of sil­icon assem­bled like sky­scrapers on wafer-scale sub­strates are being intensely studied as a possible breakthrough in highly efficient battery technologies. A researcher at Northeastern University has been using computational to understand the atomic-scale interactions between the growth of nanowires and new development in this area of technology: alloyed metal droplets.

Nanoparticle-based technology helps recover more oil

June 14, 2013 9:42 am | by Claude R. Olsen/Else Lie. Translation: Darren McKellep/Carol B. Eckmann | News | Comments

When petroleum companies abandon an oil well, more than half the reservoir’s oil is usually left behind as too difficult to recover. Now, however, much of the residual oil can be recovered with the help of nanoparticles and a simple law of physics. A partnership of Norwegian and Chinese scientists has succeeded in recovering up to 50% of residual in North Sea rock samples.


Nanoparticle opens the door to clean-energy alternatives

June 13, 2013 1:57 pm | News | Comments

Cheaper clean-energy technologies could be made possible thanks to a new discovery. A Penn State Univ. research team has found that an important chemical reaction that generates hydrogen from water is effectively triggered—or catalyzed—by a nanoparticle composed of nickel and phosphorus, two inexpensive elements that are abundant on Earth.

Silicon-based nanoparticles could make LEDs cheaper, greener

June 13, 2013 8:07 am | News | Comments

Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, are the most efficient and environmentally friendly light bulbs on the market. But they come at a higher up-front price than other bulbs, especially the ones with warmer and more appealing hues. Researchers at the Univ. of Washington have created a material they say would make LED bulbs cheaper and greener to manufacture, driving down the price.

Exposure to air transforms gold alloys into catalytic nanostructures

June 12, 2013 7:27 am | News | Comments

Gold bars may signify great wealth, but gold packs a much more practical punch when shrunk down to nanoscale. Unfortunately, unlocking its potential often requires complex synthesis techniques that produce delicate structures with sensitivity to heat. Now, scientists have discovered a process of creating uniquely structured gold-indium nanoparticles that combine high stability, great catalytic potential and a simple synthesis process.

Why the shape of nanoparticles matters

June 10, 2013 4:13 pm | News | Comments

A new study involving researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Center and the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that the shape of nanoparticles can enhance drug targeting. The study found that rod-shaped nanoparticles—or nanorods—as opposed to spherical nanoparticles, appear to adhere more effectively to the surface of endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels.

New microfluidic method expands toolbox for nanoparticle manipulation

June 6, 2013 8:49 am | by Sarah Williams, assistant director of communications, UI Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering | News | Comments

Current methods for particle trapping mainly rely on electrokinetic, magnetic, or optical force fields, which may not be compatible with biomolecules or biological systems. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a first-of-its-kind flow-based method for manipulating and confining single particles in free solution.

Surface plasmon resonance sensors improved with carpet of gold

June 5, 2013 11:40 am | News | Comments

A sensor that relies on reflected light to analyze biomedical and chemical samples now has greater sensitivity, thanks to a carpet of gold nanoparticles. Other researchers have shown that gold nanoparticles can enhance the responsiveness surface plasmon resonance sensors (SPR), which magnifies reflected light intensity. Scientists in Singapore have now determined the ideal size of nanoparticle to improve these SPR sensors.

Shape-shifting nanoparticles flip from sphere to net in response to tumor signal

May 29, 2013 8:10 am | News | Comments

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have designed tiny spherical particles to float easily through the bloodstream after injection, then assemble into a durable scaffold within diseased tissue. An enzyme produced by a specific type of tumor can trigger the transformation of the spheres into net-like structures that accumulate at the site of a cancer.

Crystals melt when they're cooled

May 23, 2013 8:57 am | News | Comments

Growing thin films out of nanoparticles in ordered, crystalline sheets would be a boon for materials researchers, but the physics is tricky because particles of that size don’t form crystals the way individual atoms do. Using bigger particles as models, physicists have predicted some unusual properties of nanoparticle crystal growth.

Researchers develop radioactive nanoparticles that target cancer cells

May 22, 2013 9:09 am | News | Comments

Scientists in Missouri have successfully created nanoparticles made of a radioactive form of the element lutetium. By covering these particles with gold shells and attaching targeting agents, they have a tool that can seek out dangerous secondary lymphoma tumors. They recently demonstrated the nanoparticles can find the tumors without attaching to or damaging healthy cells.

A nano solution in the fight against diabetes

May 16, 2013 9:38 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

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.

Bovine blood keeps gold nanoparticles stable

May 14, 2013 10:35 am | News | Comments

According to recent research at Rice University, bovine serum albumin (BSA) forms a protein “corona” around gold nanoparticles that keeps them from aggregating, particularly in high-salt environments like seawater. The discovery could lead to improved biomedical applications and contribute to projects that use nanoparticles in harsh environments.

Microgravity nanomedicine experiment may go to Space Station

May 14, 2013 10:00 am | News | Comments

Nearly all drugs taken orally spike in concentration, decay quickly, and are only at their peak effectiveness for a short period of time. working on a solution―nanocapsules implanted beneath the skin that release pharmaceutical drugs through a nanochannel membrane and into the body at a sustained, steady rate. To design better nanochannels for a given drug, the team is hoping to use the International Space Station.

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