Graphene has the potential to revolutionize many fields, especially in electronics to replace the currently used silicon materials. However, graphene does have an Achilles heel: pristine graphene is semi-metallic and lacks the necessary band gap to sever as a transistor. At present, a big challenge for graphene science is how to open a considerable band gap for graphene without significantly degrading its carrier mobility. New theoretical results suggest a rather practical solution for gap opening of graphene and silicene while preserving the desired high carrier mobility, which would allow them to serve as field effect transistors and other nanodevices.
A key benefit of nanoimprint lithography is its sheer simplicity. There is no need for complex optics or high-energy radiation sources with a nanoimprint tool. Especially the nanopatterning of high refractive index optical films promises the development of novel photonic nanodevices such as planar waveguide circuits, nano-lasers, solar cells and antireflective coatings. Researchers have now developed a robust route for high-throughput, high-performance nanophotonics based direct imprint of high refractive index, low visible wavelength absorption materials.
Trace detection of explosives generally involves the collection of vapour or particulate samples and analyzing them using a sensitive sensor system. Various factors, such as wide variety of compounds that can be used as explosives, the vast number of deployment means and the lack of inexpensive sensors providing both high sensitivity and selectivity have made trace detection a very complex and costly task. High sensitivity and selectivity, along with the availability of low-cost sensors, is essential to combat explosives-based terrorism. Nanosensors have the potential to satisfy all the requirements for an effective platform for the trace detection of explosives.
Currently, optically absorbing nanoparticles are breaking into clinical medicine because of their ability to aid in the identification of disease with several medical imaging modalities. These nanoparticles are also used in therapeutics by triggering drug release or enhancing ablation of diseased tissues, while minimizing damage to healthy tissues. The efficiency and effectiveness of the medical imaging and therapeutics using nanoparticles depends on the ability to selectively target them to the specific tissues. A novel method only uses properties of the nanoparticles and therefore are independent of the amount of nanoparticles that reaches the target location.
Many researchers are investigating the development of flexible solar cells in hopes of improving efficiency and lowering manufacturing costs. As an important member of the organic photovoltaics family, polymer solar cells draw the most research interest, due to the relatively high power conversion efficiency achieved. However, compared to the high efficiencies of inorganic solar cells, the best polymer solar cells still show a lower efficiency. Improved nanomorphology is seen as key to improving the efficiency of organic solar cells. One particular nanotechnology approach would use nanoimprint lithography to produce precisely nanostructured devices rather than using chemical methods of manufacturing.
Materials engineers are keen to exploit the outstanding mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) for applications in fibers, composites, fabrics and other larger-scale structures and devices. The ability to fabricate continuous, multifunctional yarns represents an important step in this direction. The development of a continuous, weavable multilayered CNT yarn with superior mechanical, structural, surface, and electrical properties would open the way for a wide range of structural and functional applications, including composites, intelligent fabrics, catalyst supports, and sensors. Researchers in China have now found that carbon nanotubes can be self-assembled into a stable double-helix structure by a controlled over-twisting process, and this novel structure has unique mechanical properties.
The media play an important role in the formation of society's opinion by drawing attention to selected topics and bringing them closer to the public. This applies in particular to areas with which a large percentage of the population would otherwise have no direct points of contact, such as nanotechnology. A new study of selected print media in the German-speaking countries now reveals the general picture of nanotechnology in the media, what topics are given significant treatment, which actors are consulted, and explains that (at least as yet) there is no need for any concerns about risk-centred controversial reporting on this technology.
The majority of current commercial applications of nanotechnology to medicine is geared towards drug delivery to enable new modes of action, as well as better targeting and bioavailability of existing medicinal substances. While most reviews on nanomedicine tend to focus on specific sectors or take a very forward-looking stance and fail to provide a complete perspective on the current landscape, a new review article provides a more comprehensive and contemporary inventory of nanomedicine products.