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Nanotechnology

Analysis and Comment (21)

Plants use photosynthesis to build molecules and energy they can use. By copying plants, humans can make cleaner fuels. Ranjit Bhatnagar/Flickr

To shift away from fossil fuels, we need to copy plants

Most of the energy that fuels our lives comes from plants. Whether it is a fossil fuel that was formed hundreds of millions of years ago or the food we eat, all carbon-borne energy has its ultimate origins…
Diamonds are the first material to have single atoms removed by a laser. Africa Studio

Using lasers to cut a diamond apart atom by atom

One of great challenges of the 21st century has been to develop ways to manipulate matter on smaller and smaller dimensions. As the great physicist Richard Feynman noted in his famous 1959 lecture, “There’s…
Out of the lab and into real life. Mike Blyth

Africa should test smartphone microscope in the field

As a virologist working in the Gambia, the idea of a portable microscope that uses fluorescent imaging and can be attached to your smartphone to detect viruses and bacteria in the field sounds amazing…
Many of the colours in medieval stained glass are produced by nanoparticles. Quinn Anya

Nanotechnology in medicine isn’t just about size

While scientists develop new drugs to treat a multitude of conditions, nanotechnology is pushing the boundaries of how we deliver them to patients - targeting delivery to cancer cells and giving a drug…
Nanostructures on wings of Green Hairstreak butterflies inspired the design of polarised light beamsplitters. nutmeg66

The butterfly effect: optical nanotechnology takes flight

When scientists look for keys to unlock problems such as quantum teleportation or faster internet speeds, answers can sometimes be found in the natural world. Controlling light at the nanoscale is necessary…
Gilded patches can now aid the growth of heart tissue. Findingthenow

Using nano gold to patch up broken hearts

Gold is one of our most valuable commodities but its use extends far beyond jewellery and gold bars. It’s a conductive material and is helping us to develop new medical innovations such as specialised…
Using nanotechnology, researchers have developed a technique to increase the data storage capacity of a DVD from a measly 4.7GB to 1,000TB. Nature Communications

More data storage? Here’s how to fit 1,000 terabytes on a DVD

We live in a world where digital information is exploding. Some 90% of the world’s data was generated in the past two years. The obvious question is: how can we store it all? In Nature Communications today…
South Korean volunteer workers clean up an oil spill in December 2007. Could such scenes soon be a thing of the past? AAP

Don’t cry over spilled oil – use nanosheets

We’re all too familiar with footage of ruptured tankers or busted rigs dumping millions of litres of oil into the sea, coating shorelines and animals in crude sludge. Many traditional methods of cleaning…
It’s the sun rather than nanoparticles in sunscreen that poses the real health risk. Edson Soares

Time to dispel the fear of nanoparticles in sunscreens

The sunny season has well and truly started, as has the daily summer ritual of applying sunscreen. So now is the perfect time to consider whether “nano sunscreens”, which contain UV filtering nanoparticles…
A combination of wax and coiling makes carbon nanotube muscles stronger than ever. Science/AAAS

Power to you: carbon nanotube muscles are going strong

Just on a year ago my colleagues and I announced our discovery that carbon nanotube yarns could be made to twist and rotate at great speeds when electrically stimulated. In this way we had created “artificial…
The porous structure of metal-organic framework materials makes them perfect for storing and separating gases. justus.thane

MOF the chart: why a record-breaking surface area matters

You may not immediately think of world records when you consider chemistry, but that’s exactly what some chemists are thinking about during their research. Many, working on something called metal-organic…
Is that a nano-bot in your guns, or are you just pleased to see me? jcoterhals

Show us your (carbon nanotube artificial) muscles!

The idea of doctors deploying miniscule robots in your body to diagnose and treat medical conditions is closer to reality today with the development of artificial muscles small and strong enough to push…
Nano-silver can be found in everyday products such as these. Friends of the Earth

Nano-silver in household products could breed new superbugs

The widespread use of nano-silver particles in household items such as toothbrushes, socks and shoe inserts is contributing to the growth of superbugs, according to a Friends of the Earth report released…
Graphene may have humble beginnings, but it’s becoming a major draw. qwertyuiop

From pencil to high-speed internet: graphene is a modern wonder

It inspired the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. It’s the best thermal conductor we know of. It’s a crystal stiffer than diamond, but able to stretch by 20% of its length, and can carry a current density one…
The Nanopatch has potential to change the way vaccines are delivered. AIBN

Don’t look away, injections could be a thing of the past

A couple of facts: 1) At least 10% of the world’s population are “needle phobic”, which means they’re missing out on being vaccinated and/or have a horror of receiving jabs of any kind. Several studies…
Nanoparticles, as used in sunscreen, are readily absorbed by the body. Tony Bartlett/AAP

Explainer: Nanotechnology and you

For the public, the jury is still out on nanotechnology – the media simultaneously extols its promise and warns of the potential calamity facing humanity. But what is it? How does it work? Is it dangerous…

Research and News (5)

Research Briefs (36)

Microchip diabetes test

US researchers have invented a microchip-based test for type 1 diabetes. The test is carried out by a handheld microchip…

When nanoparticles (almost) touch

When two gold nanoparticle spheres are pushed sufficiently close together, the gap between them acquires a red colour, as…

The tiny world of acid-powered rockets

A new acid-powered micro-rocket could be used to deliver drugs within the human body. The micro-rocket works by converting…

Lighter than a feather

The world’s lightest solid material has been developed by researchers from The University of California and California Institute…