Friday, March 11, 2011

This week in nanotechnology, March 11, 2011

Nanomaterial technology would dramatically extend battery life for mobile devices. Technophiles who have been dreaming of mobile devices that run longer on lighter, slimmer batteries may soon find their wish has been granted. University of Illinois engineers have developed a form of ultra-low-power digital memory that is faster and uses 100 times less energy than similar available memory. The technology could give future portable devices much longer battery life between charges.

Precision measurement in the world of nanoparticles has now become a possibility, thanks to scientists at UC Santa Barbara. The UCSB research team has developed a new instrument capable of detecting individual nanoparticles with diameters as small as a few tens of nanometers. This device opens up a wide range of potential applications in nanoparticle analysis.

Ultra fast photodetectors out of carbon nanotubes: Carbon nanotubes have a multitude of unusual properties which make them promising candidates for optoelectronic components. However, so far it has proven extremely difficult to analyze or influence their optic and electronic properties. A team of researchers has now succeeded in developing a measurement method allowing a time-based resolution of the so-called photocurrent in photodetectors with picosecond precision.
Scanning tunneling microscopy  of organic molecules
Single-walled carbon nanotubes are promising building blocks for future optoelectronic devices. With this measurement set-up physicists can resolve the ultra fast optoelectronic dynamics of carbon-nanotubes. A first laser exites electrons in the carbon-nanotubes spanning the gap between two gold electrodes while a second laser measures the resulting photo-current.

Circulating tumor cells, which play a crucial role in cancer metastasis, have been known to science for more than 100 years, and researchers have long endeavored to track and capture them. Now, a UCLA research team has developed an innovative device based on Velcro-like nanoscale technology to efficiently identify and "grab" these circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, in the blood.

Graphene oxide has had a scrum of researchers fall upon it as it retains much of the properties of the highly valued super material pure graphene, but it is much easier, and cheaper, to make in bulk quantities; easier to process; and its significant oxygen content appears to make it soluble in water. However new research led by University of Warwick researchers has found that that last assumption is incorrect and unfortunately graphene oxide's solubility literally comes out in the wash.

New molecular robot can be programmed to follow instructions. Scientists have developed a programmable "molecular robot" — a sub-microscopic molecular machine made of synthetic DNA that moves between track locations separated by 6 nm. The robot, a short strand of DNA, follows instructions programmed into a set of fuel molecules determining its destination, for example, to turn left or right at a junction in the track.