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.
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Researchers have developed nanoparticles that release insulin when glucose levels rise. The nanoparticles contain both insulin and an enzyme that dissolve in high levels of glucose. When the enzyme dissolves the insulin is released. In lab test these nanoparticles were able to control blood sugar levels for several days.
Researchers have developed "nanosponges" that absorb toxins and remove them from the bloodstream. The nanosponges are polymer nanoparticles coated with a red blood cell membrane. The red blood cell membrane allows the nanosponges to travel freely in the bloodstream and attract the toxins.
Researchers have combined bee venom with nanoparticles to poke holes in the protective envelope around virus particles, which kills the virus. Currently this method is being evaluated in lab testing on the HIV virus, however researchers believe the method may be used to fight other viruses.
Researchers are using a photosensitizing agent to enhance the ability of drug carrying nanoparticles to enter tumors. First they let the photosensitizing agent accumulate in the tumor, then illuminate the tumor with infrared light. The photosensitizing agent causes the blood vessels in the tumor to be more porous, therefore more drug carrying nanoparticles can enter the tumor.
Researchers have demonstrated that rod shaped nanoparticles are more effective at delivering chemotherapy drugs to breast cancer cells than spherical nanoparticles..
More about Nanotechnology in Medicine
Researchers have developed humidity and pressure sensors using gaphene quantum dots. The graphene quantum dots are deposited on a microfiber that expands or shrinks depending upon the humidity or pressure, changing the spacing between the graphene quantum dots. This changes the electrical curent across the sensor.
Researchers have demonstrated multicolored LEDs using silicon quantum dots. The color emitted by quantum dots varies with the size of the quantum dot, the researchers control the color by seperating the quantum dots by size.
Researchers at UCLA have developed low power, high speed and high density method type of memory using nanoscale magnets called magnetoelectric random access memory (MeRAM).
Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have developed an interesting method of forming PN junctions, a key component of transistors, in graphene. They patterned the p and n regions in the substrate. When the graphene film was applied to the substrate electrons were either added or taken from the graphene, depending upon the doping of the substrate. The researchers believe that this method reduces the disruption of the graphene lattice that can occur with other methods.
IBM has integrated silicon nanophotonics components into 90 nanometer CMOS integrated circuits. This optical technique is intended to provide higher speed data transmission between integrated circuits than is possible with electrical signals.
Researcher have developed an organic nanoglue that forms a nanometer thick film between a computer chip and a heat sink. They report that using this nanoglue significantly increases the thermal conductance between the computer chip and the heat sink, which could help keep computer chips and other components cool.
More about Nanotechnology in Electronics
Researchers at Stanford University have demonstrated a method of cooling buildings which may significantly reduce the amount of energy needed for air conditioning. They use a nanophotonic material that radiates heat back into space as infrared radiation, cooling a building without having to use electricity to run air conditioners.
Researchers at the Nies Bohr Institute have determined that sunlight can be concentrated in nanowires due to a resonance effect. This effect can result in more efficient solar cells, allowing more of the energy from the sun to be converted to electricity.
Researchers at USC are developing a lithium ion battery that can recharge within 10 minutes using silicon nanoparticles in the anode of the battery. The use of silicon nanoparticles, rather than solid silicon, prevents the cracking of the electrode which occurs in solid silicon electrodes.
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are developing a lithium ion battery that has less chance of catching fire because it is built with a solid electrolyte, instead of a liquid electrolyte. They use nanostructed lithium thiophosphate to achieve the necessary electrical conductivity in a solid material.
Researchers have demonstrated a way to increase heat transfer that may be useful in power plants and many other uses. The researchers showed that a nanostructured film of copper oxide, on a copper pipe, can improve heat transfer dramatically.
More about Nanotechnology in Energy
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 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.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a technique to make AFM tips from diamond. The nanoscale diamond tips last much longer than AFM tips made of silicon and the researchers envision these tips being used to etch or deposit material in nano-manufacturing processes.
MesoCoat has developed a nanocomposite coating called CermaClad™ that can be applied to pipes used in the oil industry pipes to provide resistance to corrosion. The process for applying the nanocomposite is faster and can be done at a lower temperature than is possible using conventional methods. The result is the production of lower cost pipes with equivalent corrosion resistance.
ArcelorMital is producing a kind of steel that contains nanoparticles. This material allows them to make thinner gauge, lighter beams and plates. These steel beams and plates are about same weight as aluminum, but can be produced a lower cost. ArcelorMital is marketing this light weight steel to car manufacturers.
More about Nanotechnology in Manufacturing
Using nanoscavengers, in which a layer of reactive nanoparticles coat a synthetic core which is designed to be easily magnetized. The nanoparticles, for example silver nanoparticles if bacteria is a problem, attach to or kill the pollutants. Then when a magnetic field is applied the nanoscavengers are removed from the water.
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 oxide to remove radioactive material from water. Researchers found that flakes of graphene oxide absorbs radioactive ions in water. The graphene oxide then forms clumps that can be removed from the water for disposal.
Using carbon nanotubes as the pores in reverse osmosis membranes. This can decrease the power needed to run reverse osmosis desalination plants because water molecules pass through carbon nanotubes more easily than through other types of nanopores.
More about Environmental Nanotechnology
Compiled by Earl Boysen of Hawk's Perch Technical Writing, LLC and UnderstandingNano.com. You can find him on Google+.