The ability to shrink laboratory-scale processes to automated chip-sized systems would revolutionize biotechnology and medicine. One of the challenges of lab-on-a-chip technology is the need for miniaturized pumps to move solutions through microchannels. A super-thin silicon membrane developed at the Univ. of Rochester could now make it possible to shrink the power source, paving the way for diagnostic devices the size of a credit card.
In a breakthrough described by one international expert as “a wonderful piece of lateral thinking”, a team of researchers from The Univ. of Western Australia has helped develop a novel nanoparticle light filter system which stimulates the growth of useful microalgal organisms.
Fluid jets are all around us: from inkjet printing, to the “Old Faithful” geyser in Yellowstone National Park, to cosmological jets several thousand light years long. A team of researchers has recently verified the classical Landau-Squire theory in the tiniest submerged jet. The diameter of their jets were in the range of 20 to 150 nm, which is the length of just a few hundred water molecules lined up in a row.
Nanomaterials are the heart of the smaller, better electronics developed during the last decade, as well as new materials, medical diagnostics, energy storage and clean water. However, exposure to nanomaterials may have unintended consequences for human health and the environment. As a resource, Virginia Tech has joined the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to renew and expand the Nanotechnology Consumer Product Inventory.
Structures that put a spin on light reveal tiny amounts of DNA with 50 times better sensitivity than the best current methods, a collaboration between the Univ. of Michigan and Jiangnan Univ. in China has shown. Highly sensitive detection of DNA can help with diagnosing patients, solving crimes and identifying the origins of biological contaminants such as a pathogen in a water supply.
Billions of euros are spent treating trillions of liters of wastewater every year, consuming substantial amounts of energy. However, this wastewater could act as a renewable resource, saving significant quantities of energy and money, as it contains organic pollutants which can be used to produce electricity, hydrogen and high-value chemicals, such as caustic soda.
New research from North Carolina State Univ. and the Univ. of Minnesota finds that people in the U.S. want labels on food products that use nanotechnology—whether the nanotechnology is in the food or is used in food packaging. The research also shows that many people are willing to pay more for the labeling.
The effort to better understand nanoscale properties has produced large-scale government and industrial research organizations, such as the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) and the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI). These efforts, each funded in the billion-dollar range, depend on the ability of researchers from around the world to effectively use the analytical tools.
When it comes to detectors for dangerous chemicals, toxins or nefarious germs, smaller and faster is better. But size and speed must still allow for accuracy, especially when measurements by different instruments must give the same result. The recent publication of a new NIST standard provides confidence that results from handheld chemical detectors can be compared, apples-to-apples.
Quantum dots are nano-sized semiconductor particles whose emission color can be tuned by simply changing their dimensions. New research at Los Alamos National Laboratory aims to improve quantum dot-based light-emitting diodes by using a new generation of engineered quantum dots tailored specifically to have reduced wasteful charge-carrier interactions that compete with the production of light.
The direct emission of terahertz radiation would be useful in science, but no laser has yet been developed which can provide it. A team headed of researchers have now demonstrated that graphene meets an important condition for use in novel lasers for terahertz pulses with long wavelengths: It permits population inversion, a key prerequisite for stimulated radiation emission.
Scientists in Germany have developed a mathematical model for a type of microscopic test lab that could provide new and deeper insight into the world of quantum particles. The new test system will enable the simultaneous study of one hundred light quanta, or photons, and their quantum entanglements. This is a far greater number than was previously possible.
By tuning gold nanoparticles to just the right size, researchers from Brown Univ. have developed a catalyst that selectively converts carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, an active carbon molecule that can be used to make alternative fuels and commodity chemicals.
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have succeeded in producing and measuring a coupling of photons and electrons on the surface of an unusual type of material called a topological insulator. This type of coupling had been predicted by theorists, but never observed.
Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) has launched a new research program on hybrid bio-semiconductor systems that they hope will provide insights and opportunities for future information and communication technologies. The Semiconductor Synthetic Biology (SSB) program will initially fund research at six universities.
Amy Prieto, a chemist at Colorado State Univ. leads a start-up company with the goal of developing a lithium-ion battery that should be safer, cheaper, faster-charging, and more environmentally friendly than conventional batteries now on the market. The key to the technology is copper foam which is easy to manufacture and has high power density.
Univ. of California, Los Angeles chemists, for the first time, have employed magnetic resonance imaging to better measure the temperature of gases inside a catalytic reactor. The research, a major step toward bridging the gap between laboratory studies and industrial catalysis, could help improve the design and environmental impact of catalytic reactors.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) have invented a new technique for studying the process by which certain errors in the genetic code are detected and repaired. The technique is based on a combination of hybrid nanomaterials and SAXS imaging at the ALS SIBYLS beamline.
Of all the standard units currently in use around the world, the kilogram is the only one that still relies on a physical object for its definition. But revising this outdated definition will require precise vacuum-based measurements that researchers are not yet able to make. A new system is in development that would allow a direct comparison of an object being weighed in a vacuum to one outside a vacuum.
A huge plastic balloon floated high in the skies over New Mexico on Sept. 29, 2013, carrying instruments to collect climate-related test data with the help of carbon nanotube chips made by NIST. The onboard instrument was an experimental spectrometer designed to collect and measure visible and infrared wavelengths of light ranging from 350 to 2,300 nm.
Researchers at the Univ. of Colorado Boulder have successfully added a fourth dimension to their printing technology, opening up exciting possibilities for the creation and use of adaptive, composite materials in manufacturing, packaging and biomedical applications. The researchers incorporated “shape memory” polymer fibers into the composite materials used in traditional 3-D printing.
Researchers in electrical and computer engineering at the Univ. of California, Santa Barbara have introduced and modeled an integrated circuit design scheme in which transistors and interconnects are monolithically patterned seamlessly on a sheet of graphene. The demonstration offers possibilities for ultra-energy-efficient, flexible and transparent electronics.
Researchers from North Carolina State Univ., the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Laser Zentrum Hannover have discovered that a naturally occurring compound can be incorporated into 3-D printing processes to create medical implants out of non-toxic polymers. The compound is riboflavin, which is better known as vitamin B2.
As microelectronics get smaller and smaller, one of the biggest challenges to packing a smartphone or tablet with maximum processing power and memory is the amount of heat generated by the tiny “switches” at the heart of the device. A complex metal-oxide film could help reduce the voltage required to switch electronic signals, and thus the excessive energy they require.
Scientists have used the powerful x-ray laser at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to create movies detailing trillionths-of-a-second changes in the arrangement of copper atoms after an extreme shock. The study pinpointed the precise breaking point when the extreme pressures began to permanently deform the copper structure, or lattice, so it could no longer bounce back to its original shape.