Tag Archives: nano

Nanotech tea bag creates safe drinking water instantly, for less than a penny

from io9:

A new “tea bag” uses nano-fibers to suck contaminants and bacteria out of water, providing a desperately-needed, cheap solution for the billions of people without clean drinking water.

Researchers at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University made the device from the same material used for the bags of the country’s popular rooibos tea. Inside the sachets are two tiny destroyers of all things unsafe: ultra-thin nanoscale fibers, which filter harmful contaminants, and bacteria-killing grains of carbon.

Nano-generators can harvest electricity from your blood

from io9:

New nano-generators can turn mechanical energy – like that of flowing blood – into electricity needed to power nanobots.

The tiny generators are the brainchild of Dr. Yong Shi, a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stevens Institute of Technology. They make use of a technology known as piezoelectric nanofibers, which are minuscule wires that are able to harness nearby mechanical energy (basically the energy of motion) and turn it into electrical energy. Each wire measures half a millimeter long and just 60 billionths of a meter in diameter.

Researchers create biodegradable self-assembling DNA nanodevices that move and change shape

from Harvard Medical School:

By emulating nature’s design principles, a team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has created nanodevices made of DNA that self-assemble and can be programmed to move and change shape on demand.

In contrast to existing nanotechnologies, these programmable nanodevices are highly suitable for medical applications because DNA is both biocompatible and biodegradable.

The work appears in the June 20 advance online Nature Nanotechnology.

DNA nanomachines could be produced inexpensively in almost limitless quantities

from EurekAlert:

DURHAM, N.C. – In a single day, a solitary grad student at a lab bench can produce more simple logic circuits than the world’s entire output of silicon chips in a month.

So says a Duke University engineer, who believes that the next generation of these logic circuits at the heart of computers will be produced inexpensively in almost limitless quantities. The secret is that instead of silicon chips serving as the platform for electric circuits, computer engineers will take advantage of the unique properties of DNA, that double-helix carrier of all life’s information.

Toward a hydrogen economy: Clues from nature

from h+ Magazine: ⇦ Much more at source

Artificial photosynthesis may soon be a reality – splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. You only have to look as far as your garden to observe one of the most common chemical reactions in nature at work pulling apart water molecules (H2O) and splitting them into carbohydrates and oxygen (O2).

Nature provides the template for this process using the energy from sunlight to fuel the reaction.  Here’s a video showing the basic process:

Self-powered flexible touchscreens

from MIT’s Technology Review:

Researchers at Samsung and Sungkyunkwan University in Korea have come up with a way to capture power when a touch screen flexes under a user’s touch.

The researchers have integrated flexible, transparent electrodes with an energy-scavenging material to make a film that could provide supplementary power for portable electronics. The film can be printed over large areas using roll-to-roll processes, but are at least five years from the market.

Nanotechnology’s road to artificial brains

from Nanowerk:

If you think that building an artificial human brain is science fiction, you are probably right – for now. But don’t think for a moment that researchers are not working hard on laying the foundations for what is called neuromorphic engineering – a new interdisciplinary discipline that includes nanotechnologies and whose goal is to design artificial neural systems with physical architectures similar to biological nervous systems.

One of the key components of any neuromorphic effort is the design of artificial synapses. The human brain contains vastly more synapses than neurons – by a factor of about 10,000 – and therefore it is necessary to develop a nanoscale, low power, synapse-like device if scientists want to scale neuromorphic circuits towards the human brain level.

MIT looks at “Computing beyond Silicon”

from MIT’s Technology Review:

It is inevitable that eventually Moore’s Law will fail–at least for silicon technology. Further miniaturizing silicon transistors to fit more of them on a microchip will become impossible, or at least too expensive. Researchers are anticipating that day by developing alternative materials such as gallium arsenide, graphene, and carbon nanotubes.

The hope is that transistors made from these materials will be smaller, faster, and more energy efficient than anything that could ever be made from silicon. “We need to add more materials to the toolbox,” says Michael Mayberry, director of components research at Intel.

Artificial photosynthesis achieved with nanotechnology

Pure awesomeness from MIT:

A team of MIT researchers has found a novel way to mimic the process by which plants use the power of sunlight to split water and make chemical fuel to power their growth.

In this case, the team used a modified virus as a kind of biological scaffold that can assemble the nanoscale components needed to split the hydrogen and oxygen atoms of a water molecule.

Splitting water is one way to solve the basic problem of solar energy: It’s only available when the sun shines. By using sunlight to make hydrogen from water, the hydrogen can then be stored and used at any time to generate electricity using a fuel cell, or to make liquid fuels (or be used directly) for cars and trucks.

By 2020: 20 million chips implanted into living cells with computer controlled movement

from NEXT BIG FUTURE:

What looks possible by 2020 if the research from five different research groups can be combined ?

Here is the five things to combine-

1. Montreal researchers have created computer controlled bacteria to make nanopyramids.

Magnetic nanoparticles under computer control – determine how the cilia operate.

2. Other researchers have placed 3 micron X 3 micron by half a micron chips inside living cells and

3. in the same article as number 2 other researchers have used magnetized nanoparticles to control cells and hold them in desired positions and shapes

4. From the exclusive nextbigufuture interview with an executive from Tilera, a company that makes One hundred core CPUs that use 7 times less energy for the same processing power as Intel chips.

Tilera forecast making 3D cube chips with 1000 cores by 2020.

5. Memristor-CMOS hybrid chips are close – probably first one commercial within 3 years.

Read on…

Self-powered nanotechnology closer to reality

from MIT’s Technology Review:

[...] Wang has been developing devices based on nanowires that exhibit piezoelectricity. That is, they generate a voltage when they’re bent.

He has been integrating these nanowires into devices that can harvest energy from biomechanical motion–including the running movements of a hamster on a wheel or the tapping of a finger–and use it to power a small sensor.

Video: Computer-controlled bacteria build a miniature pyramid

from PopSci:

By using a computer-controlled magnetic field, the researchers turned the bacteria into fully-compliant biological nanorobots.

The trick was using a type of microbe known as magnetotactic bacteria. These critters have little internal compasses, and will follow the pull of a magnetic field. By manipulating a magnetic field, the researchers tricked the bacteria into forming a giant, computer-controlled swarm.

Bionic eye on the horizon

from Tel Aviv University (via Machines Like Us)

Prof. Yael Hanein of Tel Aviv University’s School of Electrical Engineering has foundational research that may give sight to blind eyes, merging retinal nerves with electrodes to stimulate cell growth.

She’s developed a spaghetti like mass of nano-sized (one-millionth of a millimetre) carbon tubes, and using an electric current has managed to coax living neurons from the brains of rats to grow on this man-made structure.

Printed nano-based RFID tags to invisibly replace bar codes, store checkout lines

from Rice University:

Rice researchers, in collaboration with a team led by Gyou-jin Cho at Sunchon National University in Korea, have come up with an inexpensive, printable transmitter that can be invisibly embedded in packaging.

It would allow a customer to walk a cart full of groceries or other goods past a scanner on the way to the car; the scanner would read all items in the cart at once, total them up and charge the customer’s account while adjusting the store’s inventory.

Future bio-nanotechnology will use computer chips inside living cells

from nano werk:

With transistors the size of tens of nanometers, researchers have begun to explore the interface of biology and electronics by integrating nanoelectronic components and living cells.

If the current rate of miniaturization continues, by 2020 approximately 2,500 transistors – equivalent to microprocessors of the first generation of personal computers – could fit into the area of a typical living cell.

Nanotech contact lens monitors diabetes by changing color w/ glucose level in tears

from Singularity Hub:

Professor Jin Zhang at the University of Western Ontario has developed contact lenses that would change color as the user’s glucose levels varied.

The new device is made by embedding nanoparticles into standard hydrogel.

Solar breakthrough: Nanoclusters extract hydrogen from water with 60% efficiency

from DVICE:

British scientists say they’ve achieved a breakthrough, figuring out how to extract hydrogen from water with an unheard-of 60% efficiency using solar energy.

The secret sauce is nanotechnology, in the form of nanoclusters of indium phosphide encrusted on a gold electrode. Using this, they can turn sunlight into that hotshot hydrogen fuel, clean-burning and as energetic as a swift kick in the ass.

Nanotech breakthrough to revolutionise microchip manufacturing

from SiliconRepublic:

A team of scientists at the Tyndall National Institute have designed and fabricated the world’s first junctionless transistor that could revolutionise microchip manufacturing in the semiconductor industry.

“Minimising current leakage is one of the main challenges in today’s complex transistors. The Tyndall junctionless devices have near-ideal electrical properties and behave like the most perfect transistors. Moreover, they have the potential of operating faster and using less energy than the conventional transistors used in today’s microprocessors,” said Colinge.

[...] “These structures are easy to fabricate even on a miniature scale, which leads to the major breakthrough in potential cost reduction.”

Nanofactory concept video

“A nanofactory is a proposed system in which nanomachines (resembling molecular assemblers, or industrial robot arms) would combine molecules to build larger atomically precise parts.”

New sensors built using nanotech could read and write information directly into the brain

from EVOKER:

Telecommunications researchers in Japan are attempting to create electronic sensors that can not only receive information from the brain, but could manipulate our neural pathways.

“Establishing connections between the brain and electrical instruments is important for understanding how the brain works and for controlling neural activity,” says Torimitsu, who heads NTT’s Molecular and Bioscience Group.