Friday, June 18, 2010

This week in nanotechnology - June 18, 2010

Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore have now successfully demonstrated, for the first time, a lithography-free, direct-write technique for fabricating discrete field-effect transistors, as well as digital logic gates on a single nanowire. In this novel direct-write fabrication process, a focused electron beam or ion-beam is scanned over the sample in the presence of a precursor gas, causing the metals or insulators to be deposited directly onto the sample and with nanometer resolution. This is another step of bringing nanofabrication processes closer to mass production.

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center have found a way to use a radical new type of gene therapy to prevent blindness caused by retinitis pigmentosa, giving hope to the estimated 100,000 Americans who suffer from this debilitating disease. Using nanoparticles, discovered a way to deliver known gene therapies directly to the light-sensitive cells affected by this disease.

In order to not only observe, but also really understand a chemical reaction, scientists have to know how electrons move within molecules. Until now it was technically impossible to observe how electrons move within a molecule, because they move so incredibly fast. However, a group of European researchers has now achieved this goal with the help of attosecond laser pulses.

Electron dynamics in molecular hydrogen

Electron dynamics in molecular hydrogen following photoionization by an attosecond XUV light pulse. The localization of the remaining electron in the molecule (depicted in green) is measured experimentally and shown as a mountain landscape. Hills and valleys correspond to a higher probability of finding the electron on the left and right side of the molecule respectively. Following photoionization the bond length in hydrogen increases with time.

At the very heart of some of the most brilliant colors on the wings of butterflies lie bizarre crystal nanostructures, a multidisciplinary team of Yale researchers has found. These structures are intriguing the team's scientists and engineers, who want to use them to harness the power of light.

Organic nanoelectronics move a step closer. Although they could revolutionize a wide range of high-tech products such as computer displays or solar cells, organic materials do not have the same ordered chemical composition as inorganic materials, preventing scientists from using them to their full potential. But an international team of researchers have published research that shows how to solve this decades-old conundrum. The team has effectively discovered a way to order the molecules in the PEDOT, the single most industrially important conducting polymer.