NASA Makes Longer, Straighter Piezoelectric Nanowires in Microgravity

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Microgravity provides nano solutions.

Piezoelectric nanowires are the stuff that make power-generating pants a possibility, and that prodigious potential has drawn the attention of NASA. You see, self-powered spacesuits are awfully attractive to our nation’s space agency, and a few of its finest student researchers have discovered that the current-creating strands of zinc oxide can be made longer and straighter — and therefore more powerful — when freed from gravity’s unrelenting pull. That means nanowires grown in microgravity could lead to higher capacity batteries and the aforementioned juice-generating interstellar garb…

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‘Racetrack’ Memory Could Make Your Computer 100,000 Times Faster by 2015

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‘Racetrack’ memory

Swiss researchers have developed a new type of ‘Racetrack’ memory that’s 100,000 times faster than even the fastest of today’s hard drives. It’s efficient and durable, but the best news is that it could be in your computer by 2015.

 

 

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Medical Devices Powered by the Patient’s Own Heart

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A single zinc oxide nanowire can be attached to a heart, where it produces electric current as it bends with every beat.

A tiny, nearly invisible nanowire can convert the energy of pulsing, flexing muscles inside a rat’s body into electric current, researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have shown. Their nano generator could someday lead to medical implants and sensors powered by heartbeats or breathing.

 

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Nanoscale Sensors Powered By Stress

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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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Nanowire Advance Can Boost Life And Performance Of Lithium-Ion Batteries

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Carbon nanowires coated with silicon (bottom) produces a material that can store six times as much charge

Lithium ion has become the battery of choice for electric vehicles, driving researchers to improve the technology’s performance, longevity, and reliability. A new type of nanowire electrode developed by materials science and engineering professor Yi Cui at Stanford is a step toward that goal.

 

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