Showing posts with label Nano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nano. Show all posts

Sep 3, 2009

Seeing Molecules

Scientists at IBM Research in Zurich have, for the first time, made an atomic-scale resolution image of a single molecule, the hydrocarbon pentacene.

Atomic-force microscopy works by scanning a surface with a tiny cantilever whose tip comes to a sharp nanoscale point. As it scans, the cantilever bounces up and down, and data from these movements is compiled to generate a picture of that surface. These microscopes can be used to "see" features much smaller than those visible under light microscopes, whose resolution is limited by the properties of light itself. Atomic-force microscopy literally has atom-scale resolution.

Until now it hasn't been possible to use it to look with atomic resolution at single molecules. Researchers overcame this problem by first using the microscope tip to pick up a single molecule of carbon monoxide, which they used to make an image of pentacene. They hope that looking this closely at single molecules will give them a better understanding of chemical reactions and catalysis at an unprecedented level of detail.

Breathalyzer Test

A new use for breathalyzers has been developed to detect lung cancer with eighty six percent accuracy.

The device could provide an early warning system before tumors become visible in X-rays. The sensor uses gold nanoparticles to detect levels of so-called volatile organic compounds, measured in a few parts per billion, that become more elevated in cancer patients. Currently, only 15 percent of cases are discovered before the disease has begun to spread.

A team of researchers took breath samples from 56 healthy people and 40 lung cancer patients. They found 33 compounds that appeared in at least 83 percent of the cancer group, but in fewer than 83 percent of the control group.

Then they designed an assembly of chemical sensors using gold nanoparticles measuring five nanometers across. (An average strand of human hair is about 100,000 nanometers in width.)

The devices were able to "distinguish between the breath of lung cancer patients and healthy controls.

"Given the impact of the rising incidence of cancer on health budgets worldwide, the proposed technology will be a significant saving for both private and public health expenditure," they say.

Lung cancer claims some 1.3 million lives worldwide each year, accounting for nearly 18 percent of all deaths from cancer, according to the World Health Organization.

Aug 27, 2009


These little gems deliver insulin for wound healing. Bacterial infection is a major health threat to patients with severe burns and other kinds of serious wounds such as traumatic bone fractures. Recent studies have identified another use for insulin as a weapon for fighting infection and healing wounds. These can also be used for chemotherapy and other local drug deliveries.

Using tiny nanodiamonds, researchers have demonstrated a method for delivering and releasing insulin to a specific location over a period of time. The nanodiamond-insulin clusters hold promise for wound-healing applications and could be integrated into gels, ointments, bandages or suture materials.

A wound site skin pH levels can reach very basic levels during the repair and healing process and researchers found that the insulin bound to nanodiamonds is released when it encounters basic pH levels.

A substantial amount of insulin can be loaded onto the nanodiamonds, which have a high surface area and can accelerate the healing process and decrease the incidence of infection. The results of the study were published in July by the journal Biomaterials.

Jul 13, 2009

Weighing Atoms

Did you know we can now weigh a single atom? European researchers have built a device that can do just that. It may ultimately allow scientists to study the progress of chemical reactions, molecule by molecule. They believe they can push the technology to detect the mass of a single nucleon - a proton or neutron.

Carbon nanotubes are ultra-thin fibres of carbon made from thin sheets of carbon only one atom thick, known as graphene, and rolled into a tube only a few nanometres across. Even the thickest is more than a thousand times thinner than a human hair and are 1000 times stronger than steel. And I thought only Superman was stronger than steel.

Jun 8, 2009

More Nano Stuff

Nanotechnology makes use of minuscule objects, known as nanoparticles, whose width can be 10,000 times narrower than a human hair. More than 600 products on store shelves today contain them, including transparent sunscreen, lipsticks, anti-aging creams, and food products.

Global nanotechnology sales have grown to $50 billion in 2007, according to Lux Research. The final tally isn't in yet, but analysts predicted 2008 sales to be $150 billion. The National Science Foundation says the industry could be worth $1 trillion by 2015, when it would employ two million workers directly.

What makes nanoparticles so useful is their tiny size, which allows for manipulation of color, solubility, strength, magnetic behavior and electrical conductivity. That anti-aging stuff might come in handy.

Long Term Memory

Scientists report successful tests of a new memory device that could allow terabytes (1,099,511,627,776 bytes) of data to be stored without corruption for a billion years or more. The team claimed that it is possible to build storage devices capable of carrying 1TB of information per square inch, making it more effective than current techniques. The data will also be almost incorruptible.

The device is an iron nano-particle that measures 1/50,000th of the width of a human hair, enclosed in a hollow carbon nano-tube. The iron can be shuttled back and forth within the tube as a way to store data. Conventional Flash memory usually fails after three to five years.

Solar Sun Glasses

Remember the blonde joke about the solar panel glasses? Well, this takes the joke to a whole new level. “Self-Energy Converting Sunglasses.” Lenses of the glasses have dye solar cells, collecting energy and making it able to power your small devices through the power jack at the back of the frame.

The dye solar cell is described by the designers as, “cheap organic dye used with nano technology and providing cheap but high energy efficiency.” The lens turns sunlight rays, into electrical energy to power portable devices.

May 27, 2009

Mini Satellite, Big Payload

A 10 pound tiny satellite, shaped like a loaf of bread, called PharmaSat lifted off from a US Air Force four-stage Minotaur 1 rocket on May 5. The satellite will circle the Earth at 17,000 mph while carrying a micro-laboratory packed with sensors and optical systems.

The launch is hailed a the beginning of a revolution where the size and weight of spacecraft decline steadily, but retain much of the capabilities of its larger brethren.

PharmaSat is being launched to help NASA scientists better understand how medications work during space flights. Focusing on antifungal treatments, the microlab on board the satellite is designed to detect the growth, density and health of yeast cells and then send that data back to Earth for analysis. The satellite is also built to monitor the levels of pressure, temperature and acceleration that the yeast and the satellite experience while orbiting the globe. It also will prove that biological experiments can be conducted on sophisticated autonomous nanosatellites.

Apr 25, 2009

Nanotube Radio

The nanotube radio, invented in 2007, performs a set of amazing feats: a single carbon nanotube tunes in a broadcast signal, amplifies it, converts it to an audio signal and then sends it to an external speaker in a form that the human ear can readily recognize. You can visit and listen to a song.

Can you imagine hearing aids and cell phones small enough to fit completely within the ear canal. The nanoradio is actually small enough to fit inside a living cell. Wish they could invent a device of any size that did not have commercials.

Apr 17, 2009

More Nano Stuff

As of August, 2008, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies estimates that over 800 manufacturer-identified nanotech products are publicly available, with new ones hitting the market at a pace of 3-4 per week.

Current nano applications include:
Titanium dioxide - in sunscreen, cosmetics and some food products;
Carbon allotropes - used to produce gecko tape;
silver in food packaging, clothing, disinfectants, and household appliances;
zinc oxide - in sunscreens and cosmetics, surface coatings, paints, and outdoor furniture varnishes;
andcerium oxide - as a fuel catalyst.

PPG Industries produces SunClean self-cleaning glass, which harnesses the sun’s energy to break down dirt and spreads water smoothly over the surface to rinse the dirt away without beading or streaking.

Various sunscreens (Wild Child, Wet Dreams, and Bare Zone) incorporate ZinClear, a transparent suspension of nanoscopic zinc oxide particles that are too small to scatter visible light. Probably five years from now we will hear about some regulations being needed to make sure this stuff is really safe to use.

Apr 2, 2009

Speaking of Inspiring

Here is the latest effort to mimic the human brain on a chip.
A collaboration with neurobiologists and contributions of 15 scientific groups from seven different countries, the group is trying to recreate the three-dimensional structure of the brain in a 2-D piece of silicon. The current prototype can operate about 100,000 times faster than a real human brain.

The FACETS group now plans to further scale up their chips, connecting a number of wafers to create a superchip with a total of a billion neurons and 1013 synapses. Roomba has been eclipsed.

Mar 26, 2009

More Nano

The diameter of a red blood cell is about 7,000 nanometers.

New Nano

This Tata Motors (the company that bought land Rover and Jaguar) Nano went on sale this week March 23, in India for $2,000. It claims to be the 'world's cheapest car'. It will also be sold in Europe in 2011. I wonder why they didn't say 'inexpensive'?