Friday, October 30, 2009

This week in nanotechnology Oct 24-30, 2009

Scientists have known how to manipulate light, and they've known how to manipulate sound. But they hadn't realized that one can manipulate both at the same time, and that the waves will interact very strongly within this single structure. Until now. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have created a nanoscale crystal device that, for the first time, allows scientists to confine both light and sound vibrations in the same tiny space.

A Spanish-US team of researchers has used a groundbreaking method to replicate the wings of butterflies and the colors of insects on a nanometric scale. The resulting technology has great potential to be used in a wide range of optical structures such as diffusers for solar panels or optical sensors.

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have developed a new measurement technology that makes use of optical resonances in nanoparticles. The method opens new possibilities in the field of catalytics.

A multidisciplinary team of University of Cincinnati researchers is the first to find an innovative and novel way to control an electron's spin orientation using purely electrical means. Controlling spin electronically has major implications for the future development of spin devices. This work is the first step.

Preventing the havoc wrought when freezing rain collects on roads, power lines, and aircrafts could be only a few nanometers away. A University of Pittsburgh-led team demonstrates a nanoparticle-based anti-freeze coating that thwarts the buildup of ice on solid surfaces and can be easily applied.

Researchers have now discovered that platinum nanoparticles selectively grow on carbon nanotubes in accordance with single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) locations. They have demonstrated that not only can ssDNA bind to nanotube surfaces but also disperse bundled single-walled carbon nanotubes into individual tubes. This finding suggests a method to synthesize other types of carbon nanotube-supported nanoparticles, such as palladium and gold for applications in fuel cells and nanoscale electronics.

Traditional techniques in cell biology involve chemical or pharmaceutical treatments of entire cells; however, in many cases it would be advantageous to target a single organelle or other structure within a cell without damaging overall cell structure. If scientists could inject a drug into a chosen organelle within the cell, or even destroy, extract or isolate the whole organelle without significantly harming the cell itself, new insight could be gained into the inner workings of the cell. In recent years, techniques have been developed which allow the manipulation of the individual nanoscale structures within biological cells. This manipulation, or “nanosurgery”, has the potential to provide new insight into the internal structure and dynamics of cells.