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UnderstandingNano

Focused around the uses of nanotechnology, UnderstandingNano offers information about companies and research labs involved in nanotechnology, as well as descriptions of nanomaterials and lesson plans for teachers and students. You can find information on nanotechnology topics by using the navigation bar above or through the Quick Links on the right side of many pages.

Hot Topic: Improving Battery Capacity Using Nanotechnology

Improving battery capacity can help our energy efforts from more efficient electric grids to building better electric cars.

One possible way to improve li-ion battery capacity is to use silicon anodes. “Putting silicon into batteries can produce a huge increase in capacity—10 times greater,” said Dr. Philip Bradford, Assistant Professor of textile engineering, chemistry, and science at North Carolina State. “But adding silicon can also create ten times the problems.” That’s because silicon swells when a lithium-ion battery discharges energy. In a process referred to as pulverization, silicon breaks off from electrodes as a battery cycles. These pieces of silicon can make a battery unstable.

Researchers have been looking to nanotechnology to solve this challenge. A young company, TruSpin, is reporting the development of a silicon nanofiber anode that may help significantly increase the capacity of li-ion batteries. According to TruSpin in an article that appeared in the Alabama News Center, "The total electrification of America is the future. A true breakthrough in battery technology will enable this."

Nanotechnology in...

Check out a few interesting ways nanotechnology is affecting our world.

 Medicine

  • Several organizations are working to increase testing capacity for Covid-19 using nano methods to detect Covid-19 antigens.

  • Researchers at the Technical University of Munich are developing nanostructures made of DNA that can trap viruses. This is intended for the treatment of acute viral infections.

More about Nanotechnology in Medicine

Guest Article from Millipore Sigma

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Gold Nanoparticles for Biomolecular Diagnostics

Research in nanomedicine has advanced many biomedical tools and applications of nanomaterials, primarily focused on new diagnostic platforms and strategies for therapy. While drug delivery was the first area to be more thoroughly examined and developed over the years, a more profound understanding of nanomaterial properties has allowed for the design of innovative diagnostics strategies. The unique properties of nanomaterials, coupled with the growing capability for tight control over manipulation and assembly, have furthered the concept of combining diagnosis and delivery into one device ...

 

Nanotechnology in Electronics  

Nanotechnology in Energy

  • Researchers at Rice University are using carbon nanotube films to stop the growth of dendrites on lithium metal anodes. This step may help develop lithium metal batteries, which could have much higher capacity and faster charging than lithium ion batteries.

  • Researchers at UC Berkeley are working on a catalyst consisting of thin sheets of metal carbide (instead of expensive platinum) for the generation of hydrogen from water.

More about Nanotechnology in Energy

Nanotechnology in Materials

More about Nanotechnology in Materials

Manufacturing

  • Researchers at the University of Illinois have reported the developement a method to make transparent, flexible conductive films with a one step spray process using silver nanowires in water.

  • Researchers at Prudue University have demonstrated a method they call laser shock imprinting to form nanoscale shapes such as gears.

More about Nanotechnology in Manufacturing

The Environment

  • Researchers at the RMIT University and University of New South Wales have demonstrated a filter made with nano-thin sheets of aluminium oxide which can filter both heavy metals and oils from water.

  • 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.

More about Environmental Nanotechnology

                                 

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