As a material, bacteria’s ability to rapidly multiply and adapt to different conditions is an asset.
Gschmeissner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images
The walls of your house could someday be built with living bacteria. Synthetic biologists are engineering microbes into living materials that are cheap and sustainable.
Click chemistry joins molecules together by reacting an azide with a cyclooctyne.
Boris Zhitkov/Moment via Getty Images
Click and bioorthogonal chemistry has enabled researchers to closely study how molecules work in their natural state in living organisms, with applications that span from cancer treatment to polymers.
Twisted laser light may help launch a revolution in technology.
A new polymer could help the medicine go down easier.
Hiroshi Watanabe/DigitalVision via Getty Images
While pills are more practical than injections or infusions, digestion in the stomach prevents many drugs from being taken orally. Better drug design could change this.
A close-up of the head of a leafcutter ant, Atta cephalotes, showing the metal-infused teeth on its mandibles.
Many small animals make their teeth and claws from a smooth blend of proteins and heavy elements. These materials can form very sharp tools that make it possible to cut tough substances using tiny muscles.
A block of sand particles held together by living cells.
The University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science
Researchers are turning microbes into microscopic construction crews by altering their DNA to make them produce building materials. The work could lead to more sustainable buildings.
The world’s biggest diamond company is to sell synthetic gemstones for the first time.
Microscopically engineering surfaces could stop water leaving behind rings of residue as it dries.
Isolated MoS₂ monolayer.
New materials just one atom thick could help make graphene even more useful.
Compressed glassy carbon could be used to make better bulletproof vests or new types of electronics.
If it’s good enough for a spider, why can’t we make such strong silk?
Spider silk is strong stuff and could be used to manufacture ultra tough ropes and cables, and better sutures in medicine. If only we could find a way to make the stuff.
This special dampening material could also protect buildings from earthquakes.
Plan to develop long-lasting supercapacitors would provide a faster, safer alternative to lithium batteries.
Preparing conducting carbon nanospheres that operate as qubits at room temperature (right) by burning naphthalene (left).
Dr Mohammad Choucair
Much of the current research in quantum computing involves work at close to absolute zero. A simple breakthough with an everyday material could see them work at more acceptable temperatures.
You’ll be amazed how much nanotechnology is found in the average house.
From the kitchen sink to the laundry and garage – nanotechnology has already made its way into the average household.
Silicon isn’t the perfect semiconductor, it’s just the one we’re using. How can we ensure our electronics keep get getting faster in the face of silicon’s natural physical limits?
Scientists have figured out how to make this…with graphene.
McEuen Group, Cornell University
Who says scientists aren’t artistic? A team of researchers have done some amazing kirigami work, an ancient Japanese paper art, using graphene.
Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy often used industrial plastics in his artwork.
László Moholy-Nagy used industrial plastics in his paintings. But for decades, the type of plastic had been misidentified.
Graphene powder can be manufactured.
Dr Mohammad Choucair
There is much excitement about graphene, a material only a single carbon-atom thick, but finding ways to do something with it that’s affordable have always been a challenge.
Make up your mind, glass.
Before Pilkingtons invented plate glass in the mid-19th century, flat panes could not be made. Old windows are uneven. Some once thought this was because glass is a liquid that flows down slowly over the…