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Archive for the ‘nanotechnology’ category

Sep 21, 2018

Scientists Use Light to Control Nanobots

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

Semiconductor nanoparticles under the influence of an electric field are directed by the intensity of light.

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Sep 20, 2018

Quick and not-so-dirty: A rapid nano-filter for clean water

Posted by in categories: innovation, nanotechnology

Australian researchers have designed a rapid nano-filter that can clean dirty water over 100 times faster than current technology.

Simple to make and simple to scale up, the technology harnesses naturally occurring nano-structures that grow on .

The RMIT University and University of New South Wales (UNSW) researchers behind the innovation have shown it can filter both heavy metals and oils from water at extraordinary speed.

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Sep 13, 2018

An ultracompact laser has been made using nanoscale semiconductor columns

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

A tiny laser comprising an array of nanoscale semiconductor cylinders (see image) has been made by an all-A*STAR team. This is the first time that lasing has been achieved in non-metallic nanostructures, and it promises to lead to miniature lasers usable in a wide range of optoelectronic devices.

Microscale lasers are widely used in devices such as CD and DVD players. Now, optical engineers are developing nanoscale lasers—so small that they cannot be seen by the human eye.

A promising method is to use arrays of made from semiconductors with a high refractive index. Such structures act as tiny antennas, resonating at specific wavelengths. However, it has been challenging to use them to construct a cavity—the heart of a laser, where light bounces around while being amplified.

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Sep 13, 2018

A new dimension for batteries

Posted by in categories: energy, nanotechnology, space

Engineers at the University of Maryland have created a thin battery, made of a few million carefully constructed “microbatteries” in a square inch. Each microbattery is shaped like a very tall, round room, providing much surface area – like wall space – on which nano-thin battery layers are assembled. The thin layers together with large surface area produces very high power along with high energy. It is dubbed a “3D battery” because each microbattery has a distinctly 3D shape.

These 3D batteries push conventional planar thin-film solid state batteries into a third dimension. Planar batteries are a single stack of flat layers serving the roles of anode, electrolyte, cathode and current collectors.

But to make the 3D batteries, the researchers drilled narrow holes are formed in silicon, no wider than a strand of spider silk but many times deeper. The were coated on the interior walls of the deep holes. The increased wall surface of the 3D microbatteries provides increased energy, while the thinness of the layers dramatically increases the power that can be delivered. The process is a little more complicated and expensive than its flat counterpart, but leads to more energy and higher power in the same footprint.

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Sep 13, 2018

Scientists discover a ‘tuneable’ novel quantum state of matter

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum physics

Quantum particles can be difficult to characterize, and almost impossible to control if they strongly interact with each other—until now.

An international team of researchers led by Princeton physicist Zahid Hasan has discovered a state of matter that can be “tuned” at will—and it’s 10 times more tuneable than existing theories can explain. This level of manipulability opens enormous possibilities for next-generation nanotechnologies and quantum computing.

“We found a new control knob for the quantum topological world,” said Hasan, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics. “We expect this is tip of the iceberg. There will be a new subfield of materials or physics grown out of this. … This would be a fantastic playground for nanoscale engineering.”

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Sep 12, 2018

In ‘Nature’: A nanoscale discovery with big implications

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, quantum physics, space

A recent discovery by William & Mary and University of Michigan researchers transforms our understanding of one of the most important laws of modern physics. The discovery, published in the journal Nature, has broad implications for science, impacting everything from nanotechnology to our understanding of the solar system.

“This changes everything, even our ideas about planetary formation,” said Mumtaz Qazilbash, associate professor of physics at William & Mary and co-author on the paper. “The full extent of what this means is an important question and, frankly, one I will be continuing to think about.”

Qazilbash and two W&M graduate students, Zhen Xing and Patrick McArdle, were asked by a team of engineers from the University of Michigan to help them test whether Planck’s radiation law, a foundational scientific principle grounded in quantum mechanics, applies at the smallest length scales.

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Sep 10, 2018

Photoelectrode that can harvest 85 percent of visible light

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

Scientists have developed a photoelectrode that can harvest 85 percent of visible light in a 30 nanometers-thin semiconductor layer between gold layers, converting light energy 11 times more efficiently than previous methods.

In the pursuit of realizing a sustainable society, there is an ever-increasing demand to develop revolutionary solar cells or artificial photosynthesis systems that utilize energy from the sun while using as few materials as possible.

The research team, led by Professor Hiroaki Misawa of the Research Institute for Electronic Science at Hokkaido University, has been aiming to develop a photoelectrode that can harvest visible light across a wide spectral range by using loaded on a semiconductor. But merely applying a layer of gold nanoparticles did not lead to a sufficient amount of , because they took in light with only a narrow spectral range.

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Sep 10, 2018

First truly black solar modules roll off industrial production line

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, robotics/AI, solar power, sustainability

A 2011 invention made by Aalto University’s researchers has proceeded from concept to reality. Just a few years ago the researchers obtained the record efficiency of 22% in the lab for nanostructured solar cells using atomic layer deposition, and now with the help of industrial partners and joint European collaboration, the first prototype modules have been manufactured on an industrial production line.

“Our timing could not have been better” prof. Hele Savin, who led the research, was pleased to tell. Indeed, 2018 is commonly called the “Year of Black Silicon” due to its rapid expansion in the photovoltaic (PV) industry. It has enabled the use of diamond-wire sawing in multicrystalline silicon, which reduces costs and environmental impact. However, there is still plenty of room for improvement as the current used in industry consists of shallow nanostructures that leads to sub-optimal optical properties and requires a separate antireflection coating.

Aalto’s approach consists of using deep needle-like nanostructures to make an optically perfect surface that eliminates the need for the antireflection coatings. Their industrial production, however, was not an easy task. “We were worried that such a fragile structure would not survive the multi-step mass production, because of rough handling by robots or module lamination.”

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Sep 4, 2018

Ultracold atoms used to verify 1963 prediction about 1-D electrons

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, particle physics

Rice University atomic physicists have verified a key prediction from a 55-year-old theory about one-dimensional electronics that is increasingly relevant thanks to Silicon Valley’s inexorable quest for miniaturization.

“Chipmakers have been shrinking feature sizes on microchips for decades, and device physicists are now exploring the use of nanowires and nanotubes where the channels that electrons pass through are almost one-dimensional,” said Rice experimental physicist Randy Hulet. “That’s important because 1D is a different ballgame in terms of electron conductance. You need a new model, a new way of representing reality, to make sense of it.”

With IBM and others committed to incorporating one-dimensional carbon nanotubes into integrated circuits, chip designs will increasingly need to account for 1D effects that arise from electrons being fermions, antisocial particles that are unwilling to share space.

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Sep 3, 2018

Nanobots can now swarm like fish to perform complex medical tasks

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Researchers have developed a new method to control nanobots — inside the human body.

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