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Nanoparticle quick response code becomes banknote security feature

September 12, 2012 5:26 am | News | Comments

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.

How to clean up oil spills

September 12, 2012 3:38 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

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.

Nano-velcro clasps heavy metal molecules in its grips

September 10, 2012 5:31 am | News | Comments

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.

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A new use for atomically engineered gold

August 29, 2012 9:09 am | News | Comments

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.

New imaging technique homes in on electrocatalysis of nanoparticles

August 28, 2012 5:20 am | News | Comments

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.

Strain in silver nanoparticles creates unusual 'twinning'

August 28, 2012 4:26 am | News | Comments

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.

Weighing molecules one at a time

August 27, 2012 3:51 am | News | Comments

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.

Nanoparticles reboot blood flow in brain

August 24, 2012 4:05 am | News | Comments

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.

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Fluorescent molecules for imaging have an on-and-off switch

August 16, 2012 7:04 am | News | Comments

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.

New nanoparticles shrink tumors in mice

August 16, 2012 3:58 am | by Anne Trafton, News Office | News | Comments

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.

Nanostructures to realize hydrogen's energy potential

August 15, 2012 6:40 am | News | Comments

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.

Physics researcher develops nanoparticle coating for solar panels

August 13, 2012 11:37 am | News | Comments

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.

Stable charge-separated silver represents new materials class

August 9, 2012 9:16 am | News | Comments

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.

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DNA code shapes gold nanoparticles

August 9, 2012 3:33 am | News | Comments

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.

Advance in X-ray imaging shines light on nanomaterials

August 8, 2012 3:52 am | News | Comments

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.

Researchers track nanoparticle dynamics in three dimensions

August 2, 2012 10:12 am | News | Comments

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.

Researcher directly measures the electrical charge of nanoparticles

July 30, 2012 10:29 am | News | Comments

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.

Technique self-assembles quantum dots with world’s highest density

July 13, 2012 8:51 am | News | Comments

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.

New strategy advances stem cell culture techniques

July 12, 2012 5:58 am | News | Comments

Given their enormous potential in future treatments against disease, the study and growth of stem cells in the laboratory is widespread and critical. But growing the cells in culture offers numerous challenges. However, a group of researchers has now developed a nanoparticle-based system to deliver growth factors to stem cells in culture.

Ions, not particles, make silver toxic to bacteria

July 11, 2012 8:26 am | News | Comments

Rice University researchers have recently settled a long-standing controversy over the mechanism by which silver nanoparticles, the most widely used nanomaterial in the world, kill bacteria. Scientists have long suspected silver nanoparticles themselves may be toxic to bacteria, but not so. Ionization is the key.

Subatomic details of exotic ferroelectric nanomaterials

July 9, 2012 4:42 am | News | Comments

As scientists learn to manipulate little-understood nanoscale materials, they are laying the foundation for a future of more compact and efficient devices. In new research, scientists at Brookhaven and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories and other collaborating institutions describe one such advance—a technique, called electron holography, revealing unprecedented details about the atomic structure and behavior of exotic ferroelectric materials. The research could guide the scaling up of these materials.

Lithium-ion battery strategy offers more energy, longer lifecycle

June 28, 2012 4:26 am | News | Comments

Lithium-ion batteries drive devices from electric cars to smartphones. And society is demanding more batteries with more capacity from each battery. To help meet this demand, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory users and researchers put their energy behind a clever new idea that, literally, gives batteries a bit of room to grow.

Bone growth accelerated through stem cell manipulation

June 25, 2012 1:45 pm | by Steven Powell | News | Comments

If you break a bone, you know you'll end up in a cast for weeks. But what if the time it took to heal a break could be cut in half, or even just a tenth of the time? Researchers report they have coated surfaces with bionanoparticles sourced from a modified virus. These particles accelerated early phase bone growth, reducing the conversion of stem cells to bone nodules from two weeks to two days.

Chemist explores nanotechnology in search of cheaper solar cells

June 20, 2012 3:56 am | News | Comments

University of Illinois-Chicago chemist Luke Hanley is a big believer in harnessing solar energy to produce electricity. Doing it more efficiently is his goal. He recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to test methods of coating solar panel films using nanoparticles from a chemical group called metal chalcogenides.

Study sheds light on controlling the size of gold nanoparticles

June 18, 2012 6:36 am | News | Comments

North Carolina State University researchers have shown that the "bulkiness" of molecules commonly used in the creation of gold nanoparticles actually dictates the size of the nanoparticles—with larger so-called ligands resulting in smaller nanoparticles. The research team also found that each type of ligand produces nanoparticles in a particular array of discrete sizes.

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