Nanotechnology can be a complicated topic with new advances being made on an almost daily basis. Many people need a resource for learning about and keeping up with changes in the field. Whether you're a student, industry professional, or just curious about the future of our world, you can use the articles and explanations on this site to keep up to speed on everything nano. Focussed around the uses of nanotechnology, UnderstandingNano also offers information about companies and research labs involved in nanotechnology, as well as descriptions of nanomaterials and lesson plans for teachers and students.
Check out our featured web page, Nanotechnology in Materials. You can find information on other nanotechnology topics by using the navigation bar above, through the Quick Links on the left side of many pages, or by browsing through the nanotechnology topics introduced below.
Researchers at UC San Diego have developed a nanoparticle called a nanosponge. They attached a toxin related to staph infections to nanosponges and demonstrated, in mice, that the nanosponge acted as a vaccine against staph infections.
Researchers at MIT have developed a nanoparticle that can be taken orally and pass through the lining of the intestines into the bloodsteam. This should allow drugs that must now be delivered with a shot to be taken in pill form.
Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina are developing a new way to supply insulin. They have developed nanoparticles that hold a reservoir of insulin under the skin, when insulin is needed a hand-held ultrasound generator is used to disrupt the reservior, releasing some of the insulin.
Researchers at UCLA have developed a method to fight pancreatic cancer using two different nanoparticles. The first nanoparticle removes material on the exterior of the cancer cells that block the entry of chemotherapy drugs, the second nanoparticle carries the chemothreapy drug. Testing this method on laboratory mice showed significantly faster shrinkage of the tumors than other methods.
Reseachers at MIT have developed a sensor using carbon nanotubes embedded in a gel; that can be injected under the skin to monitor the level of nitric oxide in the bloodstream. The level of nitric oxide is important because it indicates inflamation, allowing easy monitoring of imflammatory diseases. In tests with laboratory mice the sensor remained functional for over a year.
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Researchers at MIT have demonstrated a sensor using carbon nanotubes that are coated with a polymer. The molecule that each sensor is sensitive to depends upon the spacing of polymer loops around the nanotube. The researchers believe that this method will allow the production of sensors to detect molecules that cannot be detected with sensors that use anitbodies to detect molecules.
Researchers at UC Berkeley have demonstrated a low power method to use nanomagnets as switches, like transistors, in electrical circuits. Their method might lead to electrical circuits with much lower power consumption than transistor based circuits.
Researchers at Georgia Tech, the University of Tokyo and Microsoft Research have developed a method to print prototype circuit boards using standard inkjet printers. Silver nanoparticle ink was used to form the conductive lines needed in circuit boards.
Researchers at Stanford University have demonstrated a method to make functioning integrated circuits using carbon nanotubes. In order to make the circuit work they developed methods to remove metallic nanotubes, leaving only semiconducting nanotubes, as well as an algorithm to deal with misaligned nanotubes. The demonstration circuit they fabricated in the university labs contains 178 functioning transistors.
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute have developed a method for creating transistors and integrated circuits with semiconductor nanowires.
More about Nanotechnology in Electronics
Researchers at MIT have shown that iron oxide nanoparticles in water can be used to increase the amount of heat transfer out of a system at localized hot spots. The researchers believe this technique could be applied to cooling a wide range of devices, from electronics devices to fusion reactors.
Researchers at Michigan Technological University have developed a honeycomb like structure of graphene in which the graphene sheets are held apart by lithium carbonate. They have used this "3D graphene" to replace the platinum in a dye sensitized solar cell and achieved 7.8 percent conversion of sunlight to electricity.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have demonstrated the use of silicon coated carbon nanotubes for in anodes for Li-ion batteries. They are predicting that the use of silicon can increase the capacity of Li-ion batteries by up to 10 times. However silicon expands during a batteries discharge cycle, which can damage silicon based anodes. By depositing silicon on nanotubes aligned parallel to each other the researchers hope to prevent damage to the anode when the silicon expands.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have demonstrated the ability to significantly reduce the amount of platinum needed as a catalyst in fuel cells. The researchers found that the spacing between platinum nanoparticles affected the catalytic behavior, and that by controlling the packing density of the platinum nanoparticles they could reduce the amount of platinum needed.
Researchers at MIT are studying solar cells made from single molecule thick sheets of graphene and materials such as molybdenum diselenide. They are predicting that this type of solar cells could produce up to 1000 times as much more power for a given weigh of material than conventional solar cells. They have completed computer modeling and are working on building the solar cells.
Researchers have developed a catalyst composed of iron nanoparticles in a polymer matrix. The polymer prevents the iron nanoparticles from being oxidized by oxygen or water, but allows the reacting molecules to reach the iron nanoparticles.
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Researchers at Rice University have developed a composite material using plastic and graphene nanoribbons that block the passage of gas molecules. This material may be used in applications ranging from soft drink bottles to lightweight natural gas tanks.
Researchers have shown how to make magnesium alloy stronger. They introduced nano-spaced stacking faults in the crystalline structure of the alloy. The stacking faults prevent defects in the structure of the alloy from spreading, making the alloy stronger. The researchers believe that the techniques they used to strenghten the alloy can be implemented in existing plants, allowing a fast implementation.
Researchers at Rice University have demonstrated that atomically thin sheets of boron nitride can be used as a coating to prevent oxidation. They believe this coating could be used for coating parts that need to be light weight, but work in harsh environments, such as jet engines.
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Researchers have produced yarn from carbon nanotubes coated with diamond. They believe this material can be used in thin saw blades that reduce the waste produced when cutting high cost material, such as sawing silicon ingots into wafers for the semiconductor or solar industries.
Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a desktop nanofabrication tool. The desktop tool uses beam-pen lithography arrays to create nanoscale structures.
Researchers have demonstrated a molecular motor that can be controlled by electrons from a scanning tunneling microscope tip. This motor is an initial step in building molecular motors for use in areas such as medicine.
Rolith, Inc. and Asahi Glass Company are working to bring anti-reflective glass to the architectural glass market. The glass uses a technique developed by Rolith to produce a nanostructured surface on the glass, which will reduce the glare seen from the outside of buildings.
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Using photocatalytic copper tungsten oxide nanoparticles to break down oil into biodegradable compounds. The nanoparticles are in a grid that provides high surface area for the reaction, is activated by sunlight and can work in water, making them useful for cleaning up oil spills.
Using carbon nanotubes, that have been treated with a plasma, in membranes to remove salt and organic contamination from water. Researchers believe these membranes can be used in small, inexpensive water purification devices needed in developing countries.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have demonstrated a method of removing antibiotics contaminating waterways. The method uses vesicle nanoparticles that absorb antibiotics.
Using pellets containing nanostructured palladium and gold as a catalyst to breakdown chlorinated compounds contaminating groundwater. Since palladium is very expensive the researchers formed the pellets of nanoparticles that allow almost every atom of palladium to react with the chlorinated compounds, reducing the cost of the treatment.
Using graphene as a membrane for low cost water desalination. Researchers have determined that graphene with holes the size of a nanometer or less can be used to remove ions from water. They believe this can be used to desalinate sea water at a lower cost than the reverse osmosis techniques currently in use.
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Compiled by Earl Boysen of Hawk's Perch Technical Writing, LLC and UnderstandingNano.com. You can find him on Google+.