Friday, May 21, 2010

This week in nanotechnology - May 21, 2010

UCLA researchers and their collaborators have developed a method that could open the door for investigations into the function of half of all proteins in the human body. The research team has demonstrated nanoscale control over molecules, allowing for the precise study of interactions between proteins and small molecules. Their new technique, in which molecules are used as bait to capture and study large biomolecules, could lead to a new generation of psychiatric medications.

A team of engineers has created the world's smallest pump. The minute device, similar in size to a human red blood cell, is powered by an electrode made from something that doesn't usually conduct electricity - glass.

At the scale of the very small, physics can get peculiar. A University of Michigan biomedical engineering professor has discovered a new instance of such a nanoscale phenomenon - one that could lead to faster, less expensive portable diagnostic devices and push back frontiers in building micro-mechanical and "lab on a chip" devices. The team was able to get an electric current to pass nondestructively through a sliver of glass, which isn't usually a conductor.

Researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new nanotechnology-based “microlens” that uses gold to boost the strength of infrared imaging and could lead to a new generation of ultra-powerful satellite cameras and night-vision devices.

microlens


The device, pictured, leverages the unique properties of nanoscale gold to “squeeze” light into the tiny holes in its surface.


Nanoparticle 'sharkskin' for airplanes, ships and wind energy plants. To lower the fuel consumption of airplanes and ships, it is necessary to reduce their flow resistance, or drag. An innovative paint system makes this possible. This not only lowers costs, it also reduces CO2 emissions.

Physicists develop a nanowire quantum interface between light and atoms. The interface is based on an ultra-thin glass fiber and is suitable for the transmission of quantum information. This is an essential prerequisite for quantum communication which shall be used for secure data transmission via quantum cryptography.