Friday, September 25, 2009

New research by MIT scientists suggests that carbon nanotubes could be formed into tiny springs capable of storing as much energy, pound for pound, as state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries, and potentially more durably and reliably.

A sensitive new disposable chip built with carbon nanotubes detects low concentrations of the explosive trinitrotoluene (TNT) and a close chemical cousin of the dreaded toxic nerve agent sarin in water samples.

Research at MIT has uncovered new information about how nanoscale patterns on the surface of a material can produce significant changes in the way it interacts with liquids. The discovery could be significant in understanding interactions that affect a wide variety of biological processes in living cells, as well as many manufacturing or energy storage systems.

nanoparticle coated with a single layer of molecules

Snapshot of a simulation of a nanoparticle coated with a single layer of molecules (thin lines projecting from sphere) composed of a 1:1 mixture of hydrophobic (yellow) and hydrophilic (blue) ligands. (Image: Stellacci Laboratory)

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, in collaboration with researchers from Hitachi High Technologies Corp., have demonstrated a new scanning electron microscope capable of selectively imaging single atoms on the top surface of a specimen while a second, simultaneous imaging signal shows atoms throughout the sample’s depth.

Nanoscientists in Denmark provide yet more clues to solve the mystery of how signaling proteins transport and organize in specific areas of the cell.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued a new ruler, and even for an organization that routinely deals in superlatives, it sets some records. Designed to be the most accurate commercially available "meter stick" for the nano world, the new measuring tool—a calibration standard for X-ray diffraction—boasts uncertainties below a femtometer or roughly the size of a neutron.

A new study that provides an overview of research on public perceptions of nanotechnology challenges some current ideas of how people view the risks and benefits of new technology. The work has implications for how policymakers talk about and regulate new technologies.

This week's opening of the very impressive King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia is an ambitious attempt by a conservative Islamic nation to create the nucleus of a modern society, free from the strict religious dictates of a conservative religious culture, and laying the foundation for a science and technology based society of future generations.