The ultimate internal pressure that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can resist is only an order of magnitude below the pressure in the center of Earth. Using this high strength against internal pressure, researchers have used CNTs as pressure cells for the deformation of crystalline materials. Controlled irradiation of multiwalled CNTs can cause large pressure buildup within the nanotube cores that can plastically deform, extrude, and break solid materials that are encapsulated inside the core. Carbon nanotubes thus offer a template for use as compression/extrusion cells to study pressure-induced phase transformations and deformations of various solid nanomaterials.
One-dimensional nanostructures such as nanowires, in particular semiconductor nanowires, have unique applications in the fabrication of nanoscale devices. How to control the growth of semiconductor nanowires is one of the most challenging issues presently faced by synthesis chemists.
Setting a milestone towards fast DNA sequencing by a nanopore device, researchers developed a solid state nanopore device that can detect the difference between single molecules of double and single stranded DNA at high speed, with high accuracy, and at extreme pH. This research is a key step to develop a nanopore sequencing machine. More immediate application may be the sensing of long chain polymers for medical diagnostics.
Cantilever based back-illuminated full body glass tips with thin metal layers can be used as apertureless optical near-field probes with single molecule sensitivity and optical resolutions down to 15 nm exceeding by far the classical diffraction limit of Abbe.
The scientific interest in magnetic nanostructures, both from a fundamental viewpoint and also due to their potential in a wide range of applications, over the past few years has led researchers to develop various nanofabrication methods for synthesizing nanomagnets. Applications for nanomagnetic materials include non-volatile magnetic random access memory (MRAM), highly sensitive magnetic field sensor, field programmable spin logic, and patterned media for ultra high density data storage.
An electrochromic display is one of the most attractive candidates for paper-like displays, so called electronic paper, which will be the next generation display, owing to attributes such as thin and flexible materials, low-power consumption, and fast switching times.
Single molecule Raman spectroscopy of molecules on metal surfaces was achieved by means of optical field-enhancement from a scanning probe tip. This was made possible by the optical antenna configuration formed by optical coupling between metallic tip and the substrate.
Scientists at the University of Washington are developing natural polymer based nanofibers using electrospinning to mimic the native extracellular matrix of cartilage in terms of microstructure, mechanical properties, and chemical composition. This reesearch holds great implication for the generation of functional cartilage tissues to help the millions of people who suffer from degeneration of articular cartilage due to primary osteoarthritis or trauma.