Researchers combined two different materials from nature, both of which have unique and important properties, into one material system via genetic engineering. By combining the features of silk with biosilica through the design, synthesis, and characterization of a novel family of chimeric proteins an innovative biomimetic nanocomposite was fabricated.
A new method based on the nanoscale Kirkendall effect was demonstrated to fabricate compound nanotubes. Through a spinel-forming solid-state reaction, high aspect-ratio core-shell ZnO-Al2O3 nanowires transform into monocrystalline ZnAl2O4 nanotubes.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have shown that, by employing small pieces of DNA molecules called aptamers, nanomaterials can be smart enough to assemble or disassemble only in the presence of programmable signals such as AND or OR, with controllable cooperativity.
In order to survive, biological systems need to form patterns and organize themselves. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces (MPI-KG) in Potsdam, Germany, have now combined self-organization with chemical pattern formation. They demonstrated that oscillating reaction patterns like that of a Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction can not only be generated in a one-phase system like in all previous examples but also in a two-phase system like liquid-solid.
Superhydrophobic surfaces, such as lotus leaves, with micro/nano combined structures found in nature have attracted a lot of interest because of their importance in fundamental research and practical applications such as self cleaning, anti-fogging/snowing, drag reduction effect etc. In this regard, diverse methods have been proposed to produce such surfaces. However, most of the reported methods in the literature generally require a cleanroom-based process or complex chemical processes and have some limitations in terms of mass-production capability and material selectivity.
The color of metal colloids is highly dependent on their size and therefore being able to control the size is very important to tune the metal colors systematically. By controlling the wavelength of optical resonance of metal nanoparticles and their composition, researchers in South Korea have found a way to fabricate various colored metal colloids both easily and reproducibly. These findings could be very useful for biological assays.
The mass production of nanoelectronic devices has been hampered by difficulties in aligning and integrating the millions of nanotubes required for the job. Now, researchers in South Korea have developed a method to precisely assemble and align single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) onto solid substrates without relying on external forces such as electric or magnetic fields. This result could be an important guideline for the large-scale directed-assembly of integrated devices based on SWCNTs.
Applying atomic layer deposition (ALD) to biological macromolecules opens a route to fabricate metal oxide nanotubes and thin films with embedded biomolecules. The combination of biomaterials and ALD does not yet allow for a construction of a device. However, there are some indications that the synthesis of thin films with embedded functional biomolecules, such as ferritin, might be suitable for e.g. flexible electronics.