Friday, October 15, 2010

This week in nanotechnology - October 15, 2010

Scientists have developed a novel nano-tomography method, which uses X-rays to allow doctors to produce three-dimensional (3D) detailed imaging of fragile bone structures. This method could lead to the development of better therapeutic approaches to tackle the brittle bone disease osteoporosis, one of the most common disorders among older people.

Some bacteria grow electrical hair that lets them link up in big biological circuits, according to a University of Southern California biophysicist and his collaborators. The finding suggests that microbial colonies may survive, communicate and share energy in part through electrically conducting hairs known as bacterial nanowires.
bacterial nanowire

Like human hair, a bacterial nanowire consists mostly of protein.

Rice University research that capitalizes on the wide-ranging capabilities of graphene could lead to circuit applications that are far more compact and versatile than what is now feasible with silicon-based technologies. Triple-mode, single-transistor amplifiers based on graphene -- the one-atom-thick form of carbon that recently won its discoverers a Nobel Prize -- could become key components in future electronic circuits.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University have developed a novel approach for delivering small bits of genetic material into the body to improve the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases. Delivering short strands of RNA into cells has become a popular research area because of its potential therapeutic applications, but how to deliver them into targeted cells in a living organism has been an obstacle. The team encapsulated short pieces of RNA into engineered particles called thioketal nanoparticles and orally delivered the genetic material directly to the inflamed intestines of animals.

Tyndall National Institute, UCC announced the development of a new nanomaterial that will dramatically reduce the operating temperature of silicon chip components and circuits, thereby enhancing the reliability and lifetime of electronics in products ranging from smart phones to automotive electronics.