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Feynman's double-slit experiment preserved

May 13, 2013 8:05 am | News | Comments

Described as the "most beautiful experiment in physics," Richard Feynman emphasized how the diffraction of individual particles at a grating is an unambiguous demonstration of wave-particle duality and contrary to classical physics. A research team recently used carefully made fluorescent molecules and nanometric detection accuracy to provide clear and tangible evidence of the quantum behavior of large molecules in real time.

Perfectly doped quantum dots yield colors to dye for

May 10, 2013 2:01 pm | by Jeanne Galatzer-Levy, UIC | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a way to introduce precisely four copper ions into a single quantum dot. The introduction of these “guest” ions opens up possibilities for fine-tuning the optical properties of the quantum dots and producing spectacular colors. When the crystallinity is perfect, they become very emissive and end up being the world’s best dye.

Building protocells from inorganic nanoparticles

May 10, 2013 1:05 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Bristol in the U.K. have led a new enquiry into how extremely small particles of silica (sand) can be used to design and construct artificial protocells in the laboratory. By attaching a thin polymer layer to the external surface of an artificial inorganic protocell built from silica nanoparticles, the scientists have potentially the problem of controlling membrane permeability.


Building protocells from inorganic nanoparticles

May 10, 2013 8:07 am | News | Comments

Cells are the basic unit of life and are separated from the outside world by a thin organic membrane. A major function of this membrane is to allow certain molecules to enter or leave the cell whilst other molecules are blocked from the cell interior. This allows metabolic processes to take place. Controlling membrane permeability is therefore a key challenge when building artificial cells in the form of enclosed chemical systems.

Bacteria adapt, evade nanosilver's sting

May 8, 2013 8:22 am | News | Comments

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.

Nanoparticles give major enhancement to polymer solar cells

May 7, 2013 11:11 am | News | Comments

A polymer thin film solar cell (PSC) produces electricity from sunlight by the photovoltaic effect. Though light and inexpensive, PSCs currently suffer from a lack of enough efficiency for large scale applications and they also have stability problems. Researches in Korea have designed and added multi-positional silica-coated silver nanoparticles that have greatly improved stability and performance of these cells.

Scientists make world’s smallest stop-motion film

May 2, 2013 9:22 am | News | Comments

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.

Scientists image nanoparticles in action

April 25, 2013 8:49 am | News | Comments

The macroscopic effects of certain nanoparticles on human health have long been clear to the naked eye. What scientists have lacked is the ability to see the detailed movements of individual particles that give rise to those effects. Scientists at Virginia Tech have invented a technique for imaging nanoparticle dynamics with atomic resolution as these dynamics occur in a liquid environment.


A Close Eye on Nanotechnology

April 24, 2013 12:30 pm | by Lindsay Hock | Articles | Comments

Nanotechnology typically describes any material, device, or technology where feature sizes are smaller than 100 nanometers in dimension. However, this new and uncharted direction in research provides a large spark for new product and drug delivery development. To achieve these discoveries, scientists must rely on specialized instruments and materials to drive their experiments and analysis.

A greener method for making popular nanoparticle

April 24, 2013 10:37 am | News | Comments

Already renowned for its beneficial effects on human health, green tea could have a new role—along with other natural plant-based substances—in a healthier, more sustainable production of silver nanoparticles. According to a recent study, extracts from green tea and other plants could be used as substitutes for toxic materials normally used to make these popular nanoparticles.

Nanoparticle probes could drastically drop cost of two-photon microscopy

April 22, 2013 11:09 am | News | Comments

A dye-based imaging technique known as two-photon microscopy can produce pictures of active neural structures in much finer detail than functional magnetic resonance imaging, but it requires expensive femtosecond lasers to fluoresce existing dyes. A research team at the University of Pennsylvania has developed a new kind dye that fluoresces easily and produces quality images with far less powerful lasers.

Scientists see nanoparticles form larger structure in real time

April 22, 2013 7:57 am | News | Comments

In a new study performed at Argonne National Laboratory, researchers have, for the first time, seen the self-assembly of nanoparticle chains in situ, that is, in place as it occurs in real time. The scientists exposed a tiny liquid “cell” or pouch that contained gold nanoparticles covered with a positively charged coating to an intense beam of electrons generated with a transmission electron microscope.

Study: Nanosilver from consumer products quickly breaks down in water

April 18, 2013 10:07 am | News | Comments

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.


Black nanoparticles could play key role in clean energy photocatalysis

April 15, 2013 8:32 am | News | Comments

A unique atomic-scale engineering technique for turning low-efficiency photocatalytic “white” nanoparticles of titanium dioxide into high-efficiency “black” nanoparticles could be the key to clean energy technologies based on hydrogen. Samuel Mao leads the development of a technique for engineering disorder into the nanocrystalline structure of the semiconductor titanium dioxide.

GUMBOS technology promises new drugs, electronic devices

April 10, 2013 1:06 pm | News | Comments

Mention a breakthrough involving "gumbo" technology in this city, and people think of a new twist on The Local Dish, the stew that's the quintessence of southern Louisiana cooking. But scientific presentations at a meeting of the world's largest scientific society this week are focusing on what may be an advance in developing GUMBOS-based materials with far-reaching medical, electronic and other uses.

Tin nanocrystals for the battery of the future

April 9, 2013 6:17 pm | by Fabio Bergamin, ETH Zurich | News | Comments

More powerful batteries could help electric cars achieve a considerably larger range and thus a breakthrough on the market. A new nanomaterial made from tiny tin crystals, deployed at the anode of lithium-ion batteries, has been developed in the labs of chemists in Europe and enables considerably more power to be stored in these batteries.

Light may recast copper as chemical industry "holy grail"

March 29, 2013 8:50 am | News | Comments

Wouldn't it be convenient if you could reverse the rusting of your car by shining a bright light on it? It turns out that this concept works for undoing oxidation on copper nanoparticles, and it could lead to an environmentally friendly production process for an important industrial chemical, University of Michigan engineers have discovered.

Imaging in 3D reveals never-before-seen defects in platinum nanoparticle

March 28, 2013 12:49 am | News | Comments

A team of scientists in the United States has combine three different imaging methods to produce 3D images and videos of a tiny platinum nanoparticle at atomic resolution that reveal new details of defects in nanomaterials that have not been seen before. Prior to this work, scientists only had flat, two-dimensional images with which to view the arrangement of atoms.

Nanoparticles show promise as inexpensive, durable scintillators

March 25, 2013 12:09 pm | News | Comments

A team of researchers has recently shown that nanoparticles smaller than 10 nm can be successfully incorporated into scintillation devices capable of detecting and measuring a wide energy range of X-rays and gamma rays emitted by nuclear materials. The proof-of-concept study suggests that "nanocrystals"—nanoparticles clustered together to mimic the densely-packed crystals traditionally used in scintillation devices—may one day yield better radiation detectors.

Improved colloidal quantum dots to make solar cells more efficient

March 8, 2013 10:04 am | by Terry Lavender, University of Toronto | News | Comments

A research group at the University of Toronto has recently described a new technique to improve efficiency in what are called colloidal quantum dot photovoltaics. The method depends on a characteristic of quantum dots: Their light-absorption spectrum can be changed simply by changing the size of quantum dot. By adjusting this property to the infrared portion of the spectrum, efficiency is improved.

Thermally controlled nanopores may allow detailed blood analysis

March 7, 2013 10:02 am | News | Comments

Tiny biomolecular chambers called nanopores that can be selectively heated may help doctors diagnose disease more effectively if recent research by a team at NIST proves effective. The team has pioneered work on the use of nanopores for the detection and identification of a wide range of molecules, including DNA. These nanopores mimic ion channels, the gateways by which a cell admits and expels materials.

Nanoclusters in steel add strength, stability under irradiated conditions

March 6, 2013 10:35 am | News | Comments

Safely containing and retarding the mobility of reactor fuels are longstanding safety and security concerns. At the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory. Scientists have used various analysis tools, including atom probe tomography (APT), focused ion beam, and accelerator capabilities, to examine complex oxide nanoclusters within oxide dispersion strengthened, or ODS, steels to determine their potential resistance and stability under a range of irradiation conditions.

Traceable nanoparticles may be the next weapon in cancer treatment

March 5, 2013 8:58 am | by Karin Söderlund Leifler and Peter Larsson, KTH Royal Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Therapeutic and diagnostic in function, so-called “theranostic” particles have been developed by a team in Sweden. These small particles can be loaded with medicine and could be a future weapon for cancer treatment. Because the particles can be seen in magnetic resonance images, they are traceable.

Nanodiamonds being perfected for use in biomedical applications

March 4, 2013 8:29 am | News | Comments

Scientists in Australia are perfecting a technique that may help see nanodiamonds used in biomedical applications. They have been processing the raw diamonds so that they might be used as a tag for biological molecules and as a probe for single-molecule interactions. With the help of an international team, these diamonds have recently been optically trapped and manipulated in three dimensions—the first time this has been achieved.

Nanogels offer new way to attack lupus

March 1, 2013 3:22 pm | by Eric Gershon, Yale University | News | Comments

In systemic lupus erythematosus, the body attacks itself for largely mysterious reasons, leading to serious tissue inflammation and organ damage. Current drug treatments address symptoms only and can require life-long daily use at toxic doses. Now, scientists at Yale University have designed and tested a drug delivery system that uses biodegradable nanoparticles to deliver low drug doses. The method shows early promise for improved treatment of lupus and other chronic, uncured autoimmune diseases.

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