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The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest

Nanowire-based sensors offer improved detection of volatile organic compounds

A team of researchers has made nano-sized sensors that detect volatile organic compounds - harmful pollutants released from paints, cleaners, pesticides and other products - that offer several advantages over today's commercial gas sensors, including low-power room-temperature operation and the ability to detect one or several compounds over a wide range of concentrations.

Posted: Jun 22nd, 2011

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New family of gold-based nanoparticles could serve as biomedical 'testbed'

A new paper by researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Cancer Institute's Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) proposes not only a sort of gold nanoparticle "testbed" to explore how the tiny particles behave in biological systems, but also a paradigm for how to characterize nanoparticle formulations to determine just what you're working with.

Posted: Jun 22nd, 2011

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New U.S. patent discloses nanoprobe array technique

US Patent 7,964,143 discloses a nanoprobe array technique that allows for an array of individual, vertically-oriented nanotubes to be assembled at precise locations on electrical contacts using electrophoresis. The location of each nanotube in the array is controlled by a nanoscale electrostatic lens fabricated by a process commonly used in the manufacture of integrated circuits.

Posted: Jun 22nd, 2011

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Putting a new spin on computing

In a recent publication in Physical Review Letters, physicists at the University of Arizona propose a way to translate the elusive magnetic spin of electrons into easily measurable electric signals. The finding is a key step in the development of computing based on spintronics, which doesn't rely on electron charge to digitize information.

Posted: Jun 22nd, 2011

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Self-cleaning anodes could facilitate cost-effective coal-powered fuel cells

Using barium oxide nanoparticles, researchers have developed a self-cleaning technique that could allow solid oxide fuel cells to be powered directly by coal gas at operating temperatures as low as 750 degrees Celsius. The technique could provide a cleaner and more efficient alternative to conventional power plants for generating electricity from the nation's vast coal reserves.

Posted: Jun 21st, 2011

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Improving concrete performance with nanotechnology (w/video)

Every day, concrete structures crack and erode prematurely due to Alkali Silica Reactivity (ASR), a chemical reaction that causes fissures in the material as it sets. Jon Belkowitz, a doctoral student at Stevens Institute of Technology, plans to put an end to this problem through his study of chemical reactions within concrete at the nanoscale.

Posted: Jun 21st, 2011

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How dense is a cell?

Combining an ancient principle with new technology, MIT researchers have devised a way to answer that question.

Posted: Jun 21st, 2011

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Battery research gets extra juice with research center

Argonne's Center for Electrical Energy Storage is one of three Argonne-led Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) that were established in 2009 thanks to a special block grant from the U.S. Department of Energy that sought to establish five-year interdisciplinary programs focused around discrete scientific challenges.

Posted: Jun 21st, 2011

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Talking about nanotechnology's unimagined possibilities

The term "nanotechnology" covers a multitude of different technologies, and so a differentiated view of it is needed. This is the opinion of ETH Zurich Professor Christofer Hierold, whose research is in nanotechnology. He says that, to avoid risks and hazards, these must be analysed for each specific example of materials, structures and their applications.

Posted: Jun 21st, 2011

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Carbon nanotubes to the rescue: brain cells rescued by gene silencing offers new options for stroke

Research into the use of nanotechnology in treating stroke has produced evidence of significant motor function recovery. The use of carbon nanotubes to deliver short strands of RNA (siRNA) and induce gene silencing of specific target areas in the brain responsible for motor functions has allowed scientists to 'switch off' proteins that contribute to neuronal tissue loss.

Posted: Jun 20th, 2011

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