Carbyne – a straight line of carbon atoms linked by double bonds or by alternating single and triple bonds — is the next stiff, carbon-based structure with unusual and desirable properties. It has been observed under limited natural and experimental conditions, is expected to be difficult to synthesize and store, and now has been theoretically [...]
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Materials scientists have pursued the question of why vertically aligned carbon nanotube forests show much lower modulus values than expected. Now researchers from Georgia Tech have found that the nanotubes they fabricate contain kinks that dramatically diminish modulus value. In other words, the nanotubes are not straight; therefore, they are not stiff. The government-funded research [...]
In simplest terms, cellular automata can be thought of as groups of ‘cells’ in which the state of an individual cell will flip depending on the states of its neighbors. A ‘cell’ can be a pixel, a molecule, etc. The mathematical rules associated with cellular automation are complex and have been applied to fields as [...]
Good old fashioned boxes are here to stay, even in the context of nanoscale devices. Across a broad range of technologies and size regimes, boxes serve as containers for components, barriers against contaminants and/or radiation, and, as in the case of cell membranes, can be permeable to allow selected interactions between the interior and exterior. [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
A tutorial review available after free registration presents a theory-based exploration of the difficulty in moving from simple molecular switches to arrays of artificial molecular machines capable to doing substantial, useful external work.
A tutorial review addresses the distinction between the many simple artificial molecular devices that are currently available and truly effective artificial molecular machines that would mimic the ubiquitous molecular machines present in living systems.
RNA nanostructures chemically modified to be resistant to degradation retain 3D structure and biological activity.
Robert A. Freitas Jr. has made available his chapter on nanorobotics from the book The Future of Aging.
Hogg and Freitas provide a theoretical analysis of the power constraints when nanorobots rely entirely on ambient bloodstream oxygen and glucose and identify aspects of nanorobot design that significantly affect available power.
Futurisms – Critiquing the project to reengineer humanity: Happy Birthday, Nanotechnology?. Adam Keiper over at the New Atlantis reminds us it’s the 50th anniversary of Feynman’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom talk.
Futurists make lots of predictions, and usually by the time they can be tested they’ve been long forgotten. That’s great when we get them wrong (which is a lot more often than we’d like!) but I take pleasure in claiming I got one right. In this post I wrote: So what’s the next paradigm shift? [...]
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Roland Piquepaille writes "Laser lights can be used for optical sensing applications, for example to identify unknown gases emitted by an engine. And as these unknown substances react differently to different wavelengths, researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison have developed unique wavelength-agile lasers. And I'm amazed by the beauty and the simplicity of their idea. They're using white lasers which produce all colors simultaneously — but with a twist. The white laser light goes through a 20-kilometers long optical fiber before reaching its target. And because different colors 'travel' at different speeds, this produces independent results for the different wavelengths. The researchers are using spectral resolutions smaller than a thousandth of a nanometer and they are able to get all the results within a millionth of a second. This method could be used to design cleaner engines or data storage applications in a few years. Read more for other details, pictures and references."
Just a reminder that the NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show is coming up May 8-12, 2005 at the Anaheim Marriott & Convention Center in Anaheim, California. From the looks of the confirmed speaker list many people who have been mentioned on Nanodot or who have spoken at previous Foresight Insitute Conferences will be there.
Also worth noting is that the super early registration period for the Foresight Institute's 13th annual conference which will be in San Francisco October 22-27th, 2005 ends June 1st. The first two days are essentially what was previously known as the "Senior Associates" conference. The last four days are about busines, policy and R&D progress. This is explained in greater detail in the conference brochure here.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Today, anticancer drugs are delivered to patients in such a way that they can destroy both infected and healthy cells. But now, researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), in Singapore, have designed 'smart' nanocarriers which deliver the drugs exactly where they are needed, reducing side effects and suppressing cancer growth. Their core-shell nanoparticles are both sensitive to temperature — which has been done before — and to acidic levels. When these nanocarriers encounter acidic environments such as tumor tissues, they break apart and release the molecules they contain. So far, this technology has only been tested on mice, but the researchers have filed an application patent in the U.S., so expect to see practical applications in a few years. Read more for other details and references. [Additional note for purists: these nanocarriers are "smaller than 200 nm," which doesn't guarantee they fit within the strict definition of nanotechnology. However, if the Advanced Materials journal thinks these are nanoparticles, who am I to argue?]"
Science Daily is documenting that Zhiyu Hu and associates, researchers at ORNL has developed a method for binding platinum nanoparticles to glass wool fibers that will enable a nano-catalytic reaction (aren't *all* catalytic reactions "nano-" by definition?) to allow self-combustion of methanol at temperatures ranging from room temperature to 600 deg. C.
Betterhmans is reporting on progress of scientists at USC in combining several nanoscale technologies (transferrin based transport vehicles with small interfering RNA segments (siRNAs)) to effectively combat cancer, in this case Ewing's sarcoma, a type of cancer which impacts children. Interfering RNAs are small RNA strands which preferentially bind to complementary messenger RNA (mRNA). This activates cellular processes, presumably evolved to defend against double stranded RNA viruses, that destroy the double stranded RNA effectively reducing or eliminating the activity of the protein normally produced by the specific mRNA targeted by the siRNA.
The article with links to background information is here. There is significant potential for using this type of therapy to combat other types of cancer where the overexpression of a specific gene or protein is the primary cause of the disease.
While this is not diamondoid molecular nanotechnology it it can legitimately be considered molecular nanotechnology because it is nanoscale, it is based on precision activity at the nanoscale level and takes advantage of molecular processes and machinery normally found in cells.
Sandia is reporting that porphyrin nanotubes coated with gold on the inside and platinum on the outside may be able to use sunlight to split water and produce hydrogen. The tubes are actual nanoscale devices having diameters from 50-70nm and tube walls 20nm thick. Scientists indicated that the tubes may be able to use the ultraviolet part of the solar spectrum as well as the visible which would likely make them more efficient than solar cells unable to do this.
This fits well with recent articles discussing energy production as one key application of nanotechnology.