Friday, March 26, 2010

This week in nanotechnology - March 26

Nanotechnology makes portable seawater desalination device possible. Researchers have now demonstrated a new, efficient and fouling-free desalination process based on the ion concentration polarization (ICP) phenomenon - a fundamental electrochemical transport phenomenon that occurs when an ion current is passed through ion-selective membranes - for direct desalination of sea water.

A team has used atomic layer deposition to incorporate biological functionality into complex nanomaterials, which could lead to a new generation of medical and environmental health applications. For example, the researchers show how the technology can be used to develop effective, low-cost water purification devices that could be used in developing countries.

Nanotechnology-based retinal implant technology could lead to bionic eye. Yael Hanein of Tel Aviv University's School of Electrical Engineering has foundational research that may give sight to blind eyes, merging retinal nerves with electrodes to stimulate cell growth. Successful so far in animal models, this research may one day lay the groundwork for retinal implants in people.

These are two rat neuronal cells bound to a rough carbon nanotube mat.

These are two rat neuronal cells bound to a rough carbon nanotube mat.

Researchers in London have found that nanometer size diamonds can be attached to a wide range of substrates and that they can promote the growth of neurons without the need for the complex layers of proteins normally required

Three new complementary research projects will turn carbon from a pollutant into useful products that could help both industry and the environment. Nanotechnology solutions will be used to: 1) convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into chemicals that could be used in fuel cells for laptops and mobile phones. 2) produce vehicle fuels from CO2 using an 'artificial leaf' concept. 3) remove CO2 from the atmosphere and lock it into useful products such as polymers, carbohydrates or fuels.