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Nanotechnology Spotlight

Behind the buzz and beyond the hype:
Our Nanowerk-exclusive feature articles

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Showing Spotlights 33 - 40 of 1695 in category (newest first):

 

An all-carbon optical diode for photonic computing

doped_grapheneResearchers have demonstrated the experimental realization of the first all-carbon optical diode that is ready for scalable integration along with being inherently broadband in operation with no restrictions on polarization or phase-matching criteria. As they show, harnessing the optical properties of graphene-based materials offers an opportunity to create the all-photonic analogs of diodes, transistors, and photonic logic gates that will one day enable construction of the first all-photonic computer.

Posted: Sep 1st, 2014

Using nanotechnology to regulate gene expression at the transcriptional level

nanoparticleGene transcription is tightly regulated by proteins called transcription factors. These transcription factor (TF) proteins are master regulators of transcriptional activity and gene expression. Transcription factors are responsible for transcribing the correct genes and therefore for producing the right quantity of proteins. TF-based gene regulation is a promising approach for many biological applications, however, several limitations hinder the full potential of TFs. To overcome these problems, an international team of researchers has developed an artificial, nanoparticle-based transcription factor, termed NanoScript, which is designed to mimic the structure and function of TFs.

Posted: Aug 28th, 2014

Nanotechnology in agriculture

agricultureNanotechnology applications are currently being researched, tested and in some cases already applied across the entire spectrum of food technology, from agriculture to food processing, packaging and food supplements. Specifically in agriculture, technical innovation is of importance with regard to addressing global challenges such as population growth, climate change and the limited availability of important plant nutrients. Nanotechnology applied to agricultural production could play a fundamental role for this purpose and research on agricultural applications is ongoing for largely a decade by now.

Posted: Aug 25th, 2014

How to identify nanomaterials in food

applesNanotechnology, specifically nanomaterial engineering, has begun to find applications in agriculture and the food industry. Some nanomaterials have unique physicochemical properties that can be exploited for beneficial effects on foods, leading to increased shelf life, enhanced flavor release, and increased absorption of nutrients and other bioactive components. The ability to detect and to measure a given nanomaterial at key time points in the food lifecycle is critical for estimating the nanoscale properties of interest that dictate manufacturing consistency and safety, as well as understanding potential beneficial or adverse effects from food intercalation.

Posted: Aug 22nd, 2014

Turning nanoporous metal into a nanopump by electrically controlling surface tension

nanopumpThe capillarity-driven uptake of liquids by porous solids can be experienced in daily life, e.g., when a sponge or fabric absorbs water. This spontaneous imbibition or capillary rise phenomenon is also one of the most vivid manifestations of the capillarity of liquids: surface tension. Researchers have now demonstrated a strategy for achieving control over the imbibition kinetics. They show that this process can be switched on and off reversibly when nanoporous gold takes the role of the sponge and an electric potential is used to control the surface tension.

Posted: Aug 20th, 2014

Self-powered micropumps respond to glucose levels

insulin_pumpResearchers have demonstrated an active glucose-responsive self-powered fluidic pump based on transesterification reaction of acyclic diol boronate with glucose. The scientific principle of the project is to use well-known glucose/boronate chemistry to design a self-powered micropump device. Instead of synthesizing some new molecules with glucose/boronate reaction, a miniature pump utilizes the energy of this chemical reaction and pumps drugs when glucose levels are high.

Posted: Aug 19th, 2014

Direct and label-free discrimination of cytosine and its modifications utilizing silver ions in nanopores

DNACytosine (C) modifications such as 5-methylcytosine (mC) and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (hmC) are important epigenetic markers associated with gene expression and tumorigenesis. However, bisulfite conversion, the gold standard methodology for mC mapping, can not distinguish mC and hmC bases. Recent studies have demonstrated hmC detection via peptide recognizing, enzymes, fluorescence and hmC-specific antibodies - nevertheless, a method for directly discriminating C, mC and hmC bases without labeling, modification and amplification is still missing. New results demonstrate that single base of C, mC and hmC can be discriminated at the latch zone of a nanopore.

Posted: Aug 15th, 2014

Upconverting synthetic leaf takes it cues from nature

synthetic_leafA large part of low-energy photons, such as in the deep-red and infrared, are lost during conventional photovoltaic or photochemical processes. However, about half of all the solar energy reaching the Earth's surface can be found in these wavelengths. Harvesting this light more efficiently is possible thanks to a process called photon energy upconversion. Researchers now have successfully synthesized a bioinspired upconverting solid-state-like film using nanocellulose.

Posted: Aug 14th, 2014