Friday, March 12, 2010

This week in nanotechnology - March 12, 2010

A team of scientists at MIT have discovered a previously unknown phenomenon that can cause powerful waves of energy to shoot through minuscule wires known as carbon nanotubes. The discovery could lead to a new way of producing electricity, the researchers say.

Another weapon in the arsenal against cancer: Nanoparticles that identify, target and kill specific cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. Researchers synthesized nanoparticles made of gold sandwiched between two pieces of iron oxide. They then attached antibodies, which target a molecule found only in colorectal cancer cells, to the particles. Once bound, the nanoparticles are engulfed by the cancer cells. To kill the cells, the researchers use a near-infrared laser, which is a wavelength that doesn't harm normal tissue at the levels used, but the radiation is absorbed by the gold in the nanoparticles. This causes the cancer cells to heat up and die.

Researchers at Stanford University have successfully developed brand new concept of organic lighting-emitting diodes (OLEDs) with a few nanometer of graphene as transparent conductor. This paved the way for inexpensive mass production of OLEDs on large-area low-cost flexible plastic substrate, which could be rolled up like wallpaper and virtually applied to anywhere you want.

Organic lighting-emitting diodes (OLEDs) with a few nanometer of graphene as transparent conductor


Organic lighting-emitting diodes (OLEDs) with a few nanometer of graphene as transparent conductor.


Researchers have successfully demonstrated a futuristic semiconductor technology that will pave the way for the next generation of electrical and information technology systems: Magnetic quantum dot technology is expected to underpin future communications and resolve power consumption and variability issues in today's microelectronics industry by providing computers and other devices with extraordinary electrical and magnetic properties.

Consider this T-shirt: It can monitor your heart rate and breathing, analyze your sweat and even cool you off on a hot summer’s day. What about a pillow that monitors your brain waves, or a solar-powered dress that can charge your phone or MP3 player? This is not science fiction – this is cotton in 2010. Researchers have developed cotton threads that can conduct electric current like metal wire, yet remain light and comfortable enough to give a whole new meaning to multi-functional garments.