Friday, April 8, 2011

This week in nanotechnology - April 8, 2011

'Good cholesterol' nanoparticles seek and destroy cancer cells: Synthetic HDL nanoparticles loaded with small interfering RNA to silence cancer-promoting genes selectively shrunk or destroyed ovarian cancer tumors in mice, a research team led by scientists from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of North Texas Health Science Center reports.

Nanoparticles could offer big hope in a small package to the many millions of people who are allergic to the nickel in everything from jewelry to coins and cell phones, say scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital. The scientists believe that nanoparticles containing calcium added to a cream or coated on a nickel-containing object could prevent the itchy redness associated with an allergy to the nickel found in everyday objects like rings.

With the first observation of thermoelectric effects at graphene contacts, University of Illinois researchers found that graphene transistors have a nanoscale cooling effect that reduces their temperature. Future computer chips made out of graphene – carbon sheets 1 atom thick – could be faster than silicon chips and operate at lower power.
An atomic force microscope tip scans the surface of a graphene-metal contact to measure temperature with spatial resolution of about 10 nm
An atomic force microscope tip scans the surface of a graphene-metal contact to measure temperature with spatial resolution of about 10 nm and temperature resolution of about 250 mK. Color represents temperature data.


Scientists at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) and IBM Research have developed the first biodegradable polymer nanoparticles to combat drug-resistant superbugs, such as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). These nanoparticles can selectively kill the bacteria without destroying healthy red blood cells, and being biodegradable, have great potential to treat infectious diseases in the body.

Using an advanced form of a rubber stamp, researchers have developed a way to adhere an ultra-thin antibacterial coating to a wound. The researchers describe a process for creating a transparent ultra-thin polymer coating carrying precise loads of extremely fine silver nanoparticles.

For the first time, the quantum behaviour of molecules consisting of more than 400 atoms was demonstrated by quantum physicists. The team sets a new record in the verification of the quantum properties of nanoparticles. In addition, an important aspect of the famous thought experiment known as 'Schroedinger's cat' is probed. However, due to the particular shape of the chosen molecules the reported experiment could be more fittingly called 'molecular octopus'.