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Archive for the ‘nanotechnology’ category

Nov 10, 2019

Blood ‘cleaning’ treatment which pulls disease from body using magnets ready for human trials

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Deadly conditions like leukaemia, sepsis and malaria could be drawn from the body using magnets, after a British engineer designed a blood filtering system which sieves away disease.

Dr George Frodsham, came up with the idea while studying how magnetic nanoparticles can be made to bind to cells in the body, to allow, for example those cells to show up on scanners.

But he realised that if it was possible to magnetise cells for imaging, it should also be possible to then suck them out of the blood.

Nov 7, 2019

Mathematics at the speed of light

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, mathematics, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

AMOLF researchers and their collaborators from the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC/CUNY) in New York have created a nanostructured surface capable of performing on-the-fly mathematical operations on an input image. This discovery could boost the speed of existing imaging processing techniques and lower energy usage. The work enables ultrafast object detection and augmented reality applications. The researchers publish their results today in the journal Nano Letters.

Image processing is at the core of several rapidly growing technologies, such as augmented reality, autonomous driving and more general object recognition. But how does a computer find and recognize an object? The initial step is to understand where its boundaries are, hence edge detection in an image becomes the starting point for image recognition. Edge detection is typically performed digitally using integrated implying fundamental speed limitations and high energy consumption, or in an analog fashion which requires bulky optics.

Nov 7, 2019

“Unsinkable metal” stays afloat even with holes punched in it

Posted by in categories: materials, nanotechnology

Superhydrophobic materials, which are excellent at repelling water, can be extremely useful for a whole range of reasons, both obvious and not-so-obvious. They can prevent ice from building up on surfaces, make electronics waterproof, make ships more efficient or keep people from peeing in public. Now engineers have found a quirky new use for superhydrophobic materials – making “unsinkable” metals that stay floating even when punctured.

Superhydrophobic materials get their water-repelling properties by trapping air in complex surfaces. These air bubbles make it hard for water to stick, so droplets instead bounce or roll right off. But, of course, air also makes things buoyant, so the team set out to test how superhydrophobic materials could be used to make objects that float better.

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Nov 6, 2019

Theoretical spin battery could see magnet powered cars

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, nanotechnology, sustainability

Circa 2009


March 19, 2009 Researchers at the University of Miami and at the Universities of Tokyo and Tohoku, Japan, have been able to prove the existence of a “spin battery,” that could have significant applications including much faster, less expensive and use less energy consuming computer hard drives with no moving parts, and could even be developed to power cars.

A “spin battery” is “charged” by applying a large magnetic field to nano-magnets in a device called a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ). Like a toy car, the spin battery is “wound up” by applying a large magnetic field — no chemistry involved.

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Nov 6, 2019

Magnetic freezing of confined water

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

We report results from molecular dynamic simulations of the freezing transition of liquid water in the nanoscale hydrophobic confinement under the influence of a homogeneous external magnetic field…

Nov 6, 2019

Flatland light: Researchers create rewritable optical components for 2-D light waves

Posted by in categories: mathematics, nanotechnology, particle physics, transportation

In 1884, a schoolmaster and theologian named Edwin Abbott wrote a novella called Flatland, which tells the story of a world populated by sentient two-dimensional shapes. While intended as a satire of rigid Victorian social norms, Flatland has long fascinated mathematicians and physicists and served as the setting for many a thought experiment.

One such thought experiment: How can be controlled in two dimensions?

When a wave of light is confined on a two-dimensional plane by certain materials, it becomes something known as a —a particle that blurs the distinction between light and matter. Polaritons have exciting implications for the future of optical circuits because, unlike electronic integrated circuits, integrated optics is difficult to miniaturize with commonly used materials. Polaritons allow light to be tightly confined to the nanoscale, even potentially to the thickness of a few atoms.

Nov 4, 2019

Determining the shapes of atomic clusters

Posted by in categories: mathematics, nanotechnology, particle physics, robotics/AI

Too large to be classed as molecules, but too small to be bulk solids, atomic clusters can range in size from a few dozen to several hundred atoms. The structures can be used for a diverse range of applications, which requires a detailed knowledge of their shapes. These are easy to describe using mathematics in some cases; while in others, their morphologies are far more irregular. However, current models typically ignore this level of detail; often defining clusters as simple ball-shaped structures.

In research published in The European Physical Journal B, José M. Cabrera-Trujillo and colleagues at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí in Mexico propose a new method of identifying the morphologies of atomic clusters. They have now confirmed that the distinctive geometric shapes of some clusters, as well as the irregularity of amorphous structures, can be fully identified mathematically.

The insights gathered by Cabrera-Trujillo’s team could make it easier for researchers to engineer atomic clusters for specific applications. These could include nanoparticles containing two different metals, which are highly effective in catalysing chemical reactions. Their updated methods provided new ways to determine the structural properties of clusters, the ways in which they convert energy to different forms, and the potential forces between atoms. The technique was also able to distinguish the surrounding environments of atoms in the cores of clusters, and on their surfaces. Ultimately, this allowed the researchers to distinguish between distinctive shapes, including icosahedrons, octahedrons, and simple pancakes. They were also able to identify amorphous shapes, which contain no discernible mathematical order.

Nov 4, 2019

Project Silica proof of concept stores Warner Bros. ‘Superman’ movie on quartz glass

Posted by in categories: information science, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

Microsoft and Warner Bros. have collaborated to successfully store and retrieve the entire 1978 iconic “Superman” movie on a piece of glass roughly the size of a drink coaster, 75 by 75 by 2 millimeters thick.

It was the first proof of concept test for Project Silica, a Microsoft Research project that uses recent discoveries in ultrafast laser optics and artificial intelligence to store data in quartz glass. A laser encodes data in glass by creating layers of three-dimensional nanoscale gratings and deformations at various depths and angles. Machine learning algorithms read the data back by decoding images and patterns that are created as polarized light shines through the glass.

The hard silica glass can withstand being boiled in hot water, baked in an oven, microwaved, flooded, scoured, demagnetized and other environmental threats that can destroy priceless historic archives or cultural treasures if things go wrong.

Nov 2, 2019

Nanotechnology breakthrough enables conversion of infrared light to energy

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

Capturing infrared light for solar cell applications.


Invisible infrared light accounts for half of all solar radiation on the Earth’s surface, yet ordinary solar energy systems have limited ability in converting it to power. A breakthrough in research at KTH could change that.

A research team led by Hans Ågren, professor in at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, has developed a film that can be applied on top of ordinary , which would enable them to use in energy conversion and increase efficiency by 10 percent or more.

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Nov 2, 2019

Discovery may help derail Parkinson’s ‘runaway train’

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, nanotechnology

Researchers at the University of Dundee have made a discovery they believe has the potential to put the brakes on the ‘runaway train’ that is Parkinson’s disease.

The team, based at the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU) in the School of Life Sciences, have discovered a new enzyme that inhibits the LRRK2 . Mutations of the LRRK2 gene are the most common cause of genetic Parkinson’s.

Enzymes are molecular machines that regulate the required to maintain healthy functioning life. They can also be targeted by drugs to increase or decrease the level of certain activity –in this instance the LRRK2 pathway.

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