Nanotechnology Spotlights

Tech firms are making computer chips with human cells - is it ethical?

cellWe are in the early stages of neural computing and have time to think through the ethical issues involved. Among other things, if neural computers become common, we will grapple with tissue donation issues. Scientists have found that human neurons were faster at learning than neurons from mice. Might there also be differences in performance depending on whose neurons are used? Might Apple and Google be able to make...

Read more

Bio-inspired 'wooden armor' modeled on the structure of fish scales

Bouligand-structureResearchers have designed and fabricated a bio-inspired, high strength and high toughness lignocellulose-based material that can serve as a 'wood armor' that rivals the performance of conventional engineering materials such as glass, ceramics or alloys. This wooden armor has biomimetic flexible-rigid layered Bouligand-like structures similar to the scales of pirarucu, a fish that can withstand piranha attacks. In...

Read more

Towards 4D printing with structural colors

structural-color3D printing with stimuli-responsive materials is called 4D printing. 4D printing enables 3D printed structures to change its configurations over time and is used in a wide variety of fields such as soft robotics, flexible electronics, and medical devices. The development of a water-responsive cholesteric liquid crystal ink and the accompanying direct ink writing (DIW) procedure is extending 4D printing to structurally...

Read more

Antibiotic-like boron nitride nanosheets for combating drug resistant bacteria

bacteriaThe antibiotic resistance crisis has been ascribed to the overuse and misuse of these medications, as well as a lack of motivation to develop new drugs. In the field of nanotechnology, a variety of innovative materials are being studied to evaluate their potential applications as antimicrobial agents. Recently, researchers have shown that boron nitride nanosheets as a nano-antibacterial agent displays antibiotic-like...

Read more

Upcycling strategy turns discarded solar cells into thermoelectrics

solar-cell-wasteResearchers estimate that global PV module waste, 90% of which are made from crystalline silicon, will reach 1.7-1.8 million tonnes by 2030 and 60-78 million tonnes by 2050, which will likely reach the same order of magnitude as global electronic waste. A novel upcycling strategy adds value to this otherwise economically low-value waste silicon. With proper chemical doping, it allows silicon waste to be turned into...

Read more

Graphdiyne functionalized by silver nanoparticles to combat the threat of antibacterial resistance

bactericideThe two-dimensional carbon allotrope graphdiyne is capable of inhibiting broad-spectrum bacterial growth while exerting moderate cytotoxicity on mammalian cells. Researchers now demonstrate a high-performance bactericid with graphdiyne functionalized by silver nanoparticles. The material killed the bacteria through membrane destruction and reactive oxygen species production. These findings present an avenue to harness...

Read more

Combining 3D printing and self-assembly to fabricate the world's lightest material

graphene-aerogelUsing a combination of 3D printed template and self-assembly allows the fabrication of materials with complex Lego-like models with tailorable feature size crossing a record seven orders of magnitude - from nanometers to centimeters. This allows the fabrication of graphene structures with tunable mechanical properties, from super rigid (modules one order of magnitude higher than other ultralight materials) to superelastic...

Read more

MXene quantum dots as promising material for immunoengineering

mxene-quantum-dotsResearchers have have reported the synthesis process and biomedical applications of a novel nanomaterial for in vivo treatment of vasculopathy - a general term used to describe any disease affecting blood vessels. Through their innovative approach using rational design and synthesis strategies, the researchers developed intrinsically immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory tantalum carbide MXene quantum dots. The...

Read more

Self-powered, 'one-terminal' tactile sensor for wearables

fingertip-touchResearchers have designed a self-powered, 'one-terminal' tactile sensor that can distinguish various motions on a single electrode. They did this by using a thermoplastic polymer that can easily change the electrostatic signal in a selective area. The sensor array can perceive the position and the sequence of touches, shape of touching objects, and dynamic motions (sliding, rolling) of an object and can distinguish...

Read more

Synthesis, properties and applications of 2D materials beyond graphene

2D-materialBy utilizing the natural atomic thickness, flexibility, and mechanical strength, flexible devices based on 2D materials are paving the new way to achieve novel flexible device applications that include flexible transistors, flexible optoelectronics, flexible sensors and flexible supercapacitors. Furthermore, mechanical robustness and their atomic thickness provide 2D materials with high transparency in the visible...

Read more
Read more nanotechnology spotlights