Flexible materials could provide new ways to control sound and light


A new wrinkle in the control of waves.

Flexible, layered materials textured with nanoscale wrinkles could provide a new way of controlling the wavelengths and distribution of waves, whether of sound or light. The new method, developed by researchers at MIT, could eventually find applications from nondestructive testing of materials to sound suppression, and could also provide new insights into soft biological systems and possibly lead to new diagnostic tools.



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Researchers levitate nanoscale diamonds with a laser beam


University of Rochester researchers recently demonstrated how beams of light can actually levitate nanoscale diamonds. And while they’re not actually suggesting that we construct a light-driven hoverboard made of the precious gems, the things we might be able to do with floating diamonds are pretty cool in their own right.



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A nanotechnology fix for nicotine dependence

The research effort will attempt to design a vaccine conferring immunity to nicotine, using nanotechnology.

At Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, Yung Chang and her colleagues have launched an ambitious new project designed to attack nicotine dependence in a radically new way.



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3D printed nanoscale race car measures about the width of a human hair


3D printed nanoscale race car.

Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology decided to print a race car on a nanoscale, using lasers. “The focal point of the laser beam is guided through the resin by movable mirrors and leaves behind a polymerized line of solid polymer, just a few hundred nanometers wide. This high resolution enables the creation of intricately structured sculptures as tiny as a grain of sand.” This is a technique they call “two-photon lithography.” (Video)

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Researchers Discover a Way to Create Aluminum Alloy as Strong as Steel


Surface etched aluminum bar

Using a technique that creates a new nanoscale architecture, researchers have created an aluminum alloy just as strong as steel but with reasonable plasticity to stretch and not break under stress. Importantly, the technique of creating these nanostructures can be used on many different types of metals and the team plans to work on strengthening magnesium, a metal that is even lighter than aluminum that could be used to make strong, lightweight body armor for soldiers.


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An Implantable Biosensor Could Alert Doctors to Signs of Disease

silk biosensor

A biosensor made from silk and gold can pick up tiny signals from proteins and chemicals in the body.

Silk and gold, usually a pairing for the runways of Milan, are now the main ingredients for a new kind of implantable biosensor. Researchers at Tufts University have crafted a small antenna from liquid silk and micropatterned gold. The antenna is designed to spot specific proteins and chemicals in the body, and alert doctors wirelessly to signs of disease. Scientists say the implant could someday help patients with diabetes track their glucose levels without having to test themselves daily.


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Nanoscale Sensors Powered By Stress


This scanning-electron-microscope image shows a stress-triggered transistor in cross section.

Nanoscale sensors have many potential applications, from detecting disease molecules in blood to sensing sound within an artificial ear. But nanosensors typically have to be integrated with bulky power sources and integrated circuits. Now researchers at Georgia Tech have demonstrated a nanoscale sensor that doesn’t need these other parts.


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New Technique To ‘See’ Fingerprints On Fired Bullets


Scientists have developed a technique for retrieving fingerprints from fired bullets

A scientist has fabricated a new technique to ‘see’ fingerprints erased from fired bullets.  Alex Goddard of University of Leicester has developed a technique that involves studying the chemical and physical interactions occurring between the metal and the fingerprint sweat deposit — which have been overlooked until now.

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Harnessing Direct Solar Power To Propel Tiny Nanomaterial Machines

Harnessing Direct Solar Power

A four-finned rotor (center) floating on a pool of water spins when exposed to sunlight.

The sun is the most abundant source of renewable energy. But all the technologies that capitalize on sunlight, including photovoltaics and biofuels, require intermediate steps and infrastructure to turn the sun’s rays into something that can be used to perform work in a machine. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are using carbon nanotubes to build small, simple waterborne machines propelled directly by sunlight. In theory, they say, these machines could be scaled up to make energy-generating pumps directly powered by the sun.

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Nanotechnology In Dietary Supplements

Nanotechnology In Dietary Supplements 

The ability of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the safety of dietary supplements using nanomaterials is severely limited by lack of information, lack of resources and the agency’s lack of statutory authority in certain critical areas, according to a new expert report released by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN).

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Nanoscale Imaging

Nanoscale Imaging 

Donut shaped blood cells

By using nanoptical scanning probe microscopes, scientists are able to reveal the going-ons inside humans and animals with stunning clarity. Take the above set of donut-shaped blood cells – which have been treated with an antibiotic called phyllomelittin taken from the skin of a monkey frog – now decidedly more appetizing than when in a normal, bloody-looking state. (I’m sure many of you relaxed back into your seat Homer Simpson-style with an “Mmm… Monkey frog donuts…”)

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