Foresight Nanotech Institute Logo
Image of nano

Archive for the 'Nanoscale Bulk Technologies' Category

Nanotechnology, optical lithography, and petabyte data storage media

Posted by Jim Lewis on July 16th, 2013

Two current-day nanotechnologies using two-different optical techniques and two different media will soon make possible petabyte data storage media, in one case with 100,000 times the storage lifetime of current optical disks.

Quantum dot conduction impacted by stoichiometry, not dangling bonds

Posted by Stephanie C on May 29th, 2013

Quantum dots are semiconducting, nanoscale clusters that show electronic characteristics distinct from both bulk-scale materials and single molecules. Their special characteristics make quantum dots attractive for a broad range of potential applications, including photovoltaics and nanoscale transistors. The size and shape of quantum dots impact electrical properties and can therefore be used to tune the [...]

Germanane: germanium's answer to graphane

Posted by Stephanie C on May 15th, 2013

Soon after graphene sheets were being produced on a laboratory scale routinely, researchers began producing the hydrogenated version graphane (with a hydrogen atom on each carbon). This step is one of many approaches aimed at harnessing graphene’s powerful conductivity and is also being explored for hydrogen storage and other potential applications (more info in this [...]

Silicene: silicon's answer to graphene

Posted by Stephanie C on May 1st, 2013

On the list of potential post-silicon materials for electronics and chips is none other than silicon. More specifically, silicene — 2D sheets of hexagonally arranged silicon atoms, structurally analogous to graphene and experimentally characterized by physicist Guy Le Lay of Aix-Marseille University in France (2012 abstract here). While graphene possesses exceptional performance qualities, it can’t [...]

Superparamagnetism-explicated-for us

Posted by Stephanie C on April 17th, 2013

Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious, superparamagnetism may become a familiar term in the context of nanoscale electronics and devices. Loosely speaking, superparamagnetism is a size-based phenomenon in which materials that are ferromagnetic on the macroscale — meaning predisposed toward strong magnetization at room temperature, such as iron and nickel — [...]

New advancement in 3D imaging of nanoparticles at atomic resolution

Posted by Stephanie C on March 28th, 2013

Researchers from UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute and Northwestern University have combined multiple imaging techniques to produce high quality 3D images of platinum nanoparticles, allowing advanced visualization of atomic-scale structural defects (an important advancement over X-ray crystallography). The original 2012 work, published in Nature and posted by Jim Lewis here, used electron tomography to study 10-nm [...]

Computationally designed peptide sneaks nanoparticles past immune system

Posted by Jim Lewis on March 15th, 2013

Nanoparticles decorated to avoid immune system recognition were tested in mice and shown to survive longer and deliver more imaging dye and drug to tumor cells.

Proposed Brain Activity Map may also advance nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on March 1st, 2013

A proposed large project to produce a dynamic map of the functional connectome of the human brain will require a convergence of neuroscience, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and computation, and may therefore spur the development of advanced nanotechnology leading to molecular manufacturing.

Studying environmental impacts of nanoparticles using mesocosms

Posted by Stephanie C on February 28th, 2013

The advent of new technologies is typically followed by new government regulation, and in the absence of data, fear-based reactionism can have far too much influence on policy. Quality research studies on real risks and impacts of nanoscale technologies can help lead to legitimate scientific consensus and appropriate regulation. Engineered nanoparticles draw particular attention, because [...]

Nanotechnology delivers potent anti-cancer agent where it needs to go

Posted by Jim Lewis on February 22nd, 2013

Core-shell nanocapsules deliver a potent protein complex to the nucleus of cancer cells where it induces them to commit suicide, while the complex degrades harmlessly in the cytoplasm of normal cells.

Christine Peterson interviewed on nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on February 12th, 2013

An interview with Foresight Co-Founder and Past President Christine Peterson covering both the current state and the future prospects of nanotechnology is available on Youtube.

Two types of artificial muscle from nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on December 13th, 2012

One research group working with rotaxanes and another group working with carbon nanotubes have provided two very different solutions to the problem of producing motion via artificial muscles at different scales from the nano to the macro.

New strides in understanding mechanochemical reactions

Posted by Stephanie C on December 2nd, 2012

New time-resolved, high-energy Xray studies of mechanochemical (ball milling) reactions take another step toward reducing the gap between current and future machine-phase chemistry.

Metal-organic frameworks provide large molecular cages for nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 10th, 2012

Large molecular cages constructed from metal-organic frameworks have set a record for the greatest surface area in the least mass.

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are back in the news again. A few months ago we cited the use of MOFs by Canadian chemists to self-assemble a molecular wheel on an axis in a solid material. More recently chemists at Northwestern University have used MOFs to set a world record for surface area. From “A world record for highest-surface-area materials“:

Northwestern University researchers have broken a world record by creating two new synthetic materials with the greatest amount of surface areas reported to date.

Named NU-109 and NU-110, the materials belong to a class of crystalline nanostructure known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) that are promising vessels for natural-gas and hydrogen storage for vehicles, and for catalysts, chemical sensing, light harvesting, drug delivery, and other uses requiring a large surface area per unit weight.

The materials’ promise lies in their vast internal surface area. If the internal surface area of one NU-110 crystal the size of a grain of salt could be unfolded, the surface area would cover a desktop. …

MOFs are composed of organic linkers held together by metal atoms, resulting in a molecular cage-like structure. The researchers believe they may be able to more than double the surface area of the materials by using less bulky linker units in the materials’ design. …

Beyond their near-term practical applications, Eric Drexler has cited MOFs as potentially useful building blocks in the molecular machine path to molecular manufacturing. Near-term applications may drive the technology development to produce more choices for molecular machine system components.
—James Lewis, PhD

Nanoparticles deliver cargo inside mitochondria

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 9th, 2012

Optimizing the size and charge of nanoparticles engineered from polymers delivers drugs directly to mitochondria, effectively treating cells with drugs for a variety of diseases.

Nanomaterials characterization course at Foothill College-NASA Ames

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 26th, 2012

An online course coupled with hands on training in Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy and Transmission Electron Microscopy given in Mountain View, California, is being offered by Foothill College and NASA-ASL (NASA-Ames).

Shear-activated nanoparticles may target blood clots

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 16th, 2012

Studies in mice with otherwise fatal blood clots have shown that targeting a clot-busting drug to regions where blood flow is blocked restores circulation and increases survival with a much lower, safer dose of the drug.

Artificial evolution of enzymes to make novel semiconductors

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 3rd, 2012

The directed, artificial evolution of genes for enzymes that produce nanoparticles of silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide produced semiconductor structures not seen in nature.

Nanozyme destroys virus in human cells and in mice

Posted by Jim Lewis on July 30th, 2012

Nanotechnology combines an enzyme and a DNA molecule on the surface of gold nanoparticles to destroy hepatitis C virus in human cells and in a mouse model of disease.

Nanotechnology and the rest of the universe

Posted by Jim Lewis on July 4th, 2012

A forest of long DNA strands hanging at known positions from a thin gold foil may provide a method to detect hypothetical particles of dark matter, thought to compose 26% of the universe.