Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology, according to Prof. Gregor Luthe (nano-toxicologist and President at Nanobay) has always been present, since the beginning of time. Matter was created after the big bang from nanoparticles attracted by each other to form all what is around us and made us. We are nanotechnology – the entire world – the space! And yes there is plenty of room at the bottom to have space for all the great opportunities mankind will be offered.

Nanotechnology is not just a size matter, but a kiss of classical and quantum mechanics. While the computer has changed our lives, Nanotechnology will be the revolution of our life. Even better, the computer already applies nanotechnology in the best sense of the meaning. Nanotechnology will be the big leap for mankind to get answers to the pressing questions we are facing: environmental pollution, smart energy, health, food supplies and portable water for all. Nanotechnology already offers answers to cure severe diseases and it is still full of surprises and opportunities in all kind of disciplines.

  • 3D printer inks from the woods

    Rod-like cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) approximately 120 nanometers long and 6.5 nanometers in diameter under the microscope. (Image: Empa)

    Empa researchers have succeeded in developing an environmentally friendly ink for 3D printing based on cellulose nanocrystals. This technology can be used to fabricate microstructures with outstanding mechanical properties, which have promising potential uses in implants and other biomedical applications.

    In order to produce 3D microstructured materials for automobile components, for instance, Empa researchers have been using a 3D printing method called “Direct Ink Writing” for the past year (DIW, see box). During this process, a viscous substance – the printing ink – is squeezed out of the printing nozzles and deposited onto a surface, pretty much like a pasta machine.

  • 3D printing to repair damage in the human body

    Dr. Ivan Minev in front of his 3D printer © BIOTEC

    Freigeist Fellowship supports Dr. Ivan Minev in using 3D printing to find ways to repair damage in the human body.
    Dr. Ivan Minev, research group leader at the BIOTEC/CRTD, has been awarded a Freigeist Fellowship from the VolkswagenStiftung. This five-year, 920.000 EUR grant will enable him to establish his own research team. The ‘Freigeist’ initiative is directed toward enthusiastic scientists and scholars with an outstanding record that are given the opportunity to enjoy maximum freedom in their early scientific career.

  • 8 applications of nanocoatings

    Waterproof coating

    Nanocoating is the result of an application where nano structures build a consistent network of molecules on a surface. This entails the chemical process where the surface can be designed to become (super) hydrophobic or hydrophilic for example. Nanocoating is a growing line and some of its applications are already in use whereas many more, with great potential, are being researched on. In this article we will look at the top 8 applications of nanocoating that is currently being used.

  • A better understanding of nanomaterials

     Petascale Simulations of Self-Healing Nanomaterials | by Argonne National Laboratory.

    In the past six years, the National Research Programme “Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials” (NRP 64) intensively studied the development, use, behaviour and degradation of engineered nanomaterials, including their impact on humans and on the environment.

    Twenty-three research projects on biomedicine, the environment, energy, construction materials and food demonstrated the enormous potential of engineered nanoparticles for numerous applications in industry and medicine. Thanks to these projects we now know a great deal more about the risks associated with nanomaterials and are therefore able to more accurately determine where and how they can be safely used.

  • A drop of water as a model for the interplay of adhesion and stiction

    A drop of water as a model for the interplay of adhesion and stiction picture 1 | Electrochemistry in a drop: Superposition of seven dynamic contact angle measurements of a drop of water on a surface; diameter of vertical tube capillary 0.85 mm. UZH

    Physicists at the University of Zurich have developed a system that enables them to switch back and forth the adhesion and stiction (static friction) of a water drop on a solid surface. The change in voltage is expressed macroscopically in the contact angle between the drop and the surface. This effect can be attributed to the change in the surface properties on the nanometer scale.

  • A hydrophobic membrane with nanopores for highly efficient energy storage

    A hydrophobic membrane with nanopores for highly efficient energy storage | Lab set-up of a redox flow battery with the hydrophobic membrane (grey device at the bottom of the image) and two electrolyte reservoirs (bottles with yellow liquid). Image: Philipp Scheffler / DWI

    Storing fluctuating and delivering stable electric power supply are central issues when using energy from solar plants or wind power stations. Here, efficient and flexible energy storage systems need to accommodate for fluctuations in energy gain. Scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials (DWI), RWTH Aachen University and Hanyang University in Seoul now significantly improved a key component for the development of new energy storage systems.

  • A Nano-Roundabout for Light

    Functional principle of a nano-roundabout.  © TU Wien

    At TU Wien, it was possible to create a nanoscale optical element that regulates the flow of light particles at the intersection of two glass fibers like a roundabout. A single atom was used to control the light paths. Just like in normal road traffic, crossings are indispensable in optical signal processing. In order to avoid collisions, a clear traffic rule is required. A new method has now been developed at TU Wien to provide such a rule for light signals. For this purpose, the two glass fibers were coupled at their intersection point to an optical resonator, in which the light circulates and behaves as in a roundabout. The direction of circulation is defined by a single atom coupled to the resonator. The atom also ensures that the light always leaves the roundabout at the next exit. This rule is still valid even if the light consists merely of individual photons. Such a roundabout will consequently be installed in integrated optical chips – an important step for optical signal processing.

  • A new spin on electronics

    The spin of electrons transports information in this conducting layer between two isolators. Image: Christoph Hohmann / NIM

    Interface between insulators enables information transport by spin.
    Modern computer technology is based on the transport of electric charge in semiconductors. But this technology’s potential will be reaching its limits in the near future, since the components deployed cannot be miniaturized further. But, there is another option: using an electron’s spin, instead of its charge, to transmit information. A team of scientists from Munich and Kyoto is now demonstrating how this works.

  • A signal boost for molecular microscopy

    A signal boost for molecular microscopy | Schematic illustration of the experiment. Graphic: MPQ, Laser Spectroscopy Division

    Cavity-enhanced Raman-scattering reveals information on structure and properties of carbon nanotubes. The inherently weak signals are amplified by using special micro cavities as resonator, giving a general boost to Raman spectroscopy as a whole.

  • A study on thermophoretic Janus particles and capsules used as dyes for infrared laser‐assisted tissue welding.

    A) Production of Janus composite particles by LbL self‐assembly of PEM and magnetite nanoparticles followed by sputter coating with gold and resuspension in water. B) Laser tissue welding with magnetic assistance, due to magnetite particles being homogeneously distributed in the particles the particle orientation is random during welding. © 2016 Wenping He, Johannes Frueh, Narisu Hu, Liping Liu, Meiyu Gai, and Qiang He. Published by WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

    Researchers from China and London* recently published a principle study on thermophoretic Janus particles and capsules used as dyes for infrared laser‐assisted tissue welding. The original article “Guidable Thermophoretic Janus Micromotors Containing Gold Nanocolorifiers for Infrared Laser Assisted Tissue Welding” was published by WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  • Active Implants: How Gold Binds to Silicone Rubber

    Thin film preparation scheme. a) Cross section of the organic molecular beam deposition setup for the fabrication of soft multi-layer nanostructures under ultra-high vacuum conditions. In situ spectroscopic ellipsometry at an incident angle of 20° simultaneously monitors film thickness, optical properties, and plasmonics. Representative schemes of thermally grown soft nanostructures: b) self-assembled Au particles bound to bi-functional, thiol-terminated PDMS; c) wrinkled Cr/PDMS; d) Au nanoparticles on a PDMS membrane. Coherent electron oscillations occur if the nanoparticles become excited at the resonance frequency. Due to the incident 4 × 10 mm2 beam dimension, SE monitors nanostructures over a macroscopic area. (© Wiley-VCH Verlag)

    Flexible electronic parts could significantly improve medical implants. However, electroconductive gold atoms usually hardly bind to silicones. Researchers from the University of Basel have now been able to modify short-chain silicones in a way, that they build strong bonds to gold atoms. The results have been published in the journal «Advanced Electronic Materials».

    Ultra-thin and compliant electrodes are essential for flexible electronic parts. When it comes to medical implants, the challenge lays in the selection of the materials, which have to be biocompatible. Silicones were particularly promising for application in the human body because they resemble the surrounding human tissue in elasticity and resilience. Gold also poses an excellent electrical conductivity but does only weakly bind to silicone, which results in unstable structures.

  • Additive manufacturing, from macro to nano

    Magnesium part produced with selective laser micro melting.  Photo: LZH

    Creating large structures with high volume or with the highest-possible resolution: The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) is carrying out research on diverse processes for additive manufacturing, in order to push past the present limits. At the Hannover Messe 2017, at the pavilion of the State of Lower Saxony (hall 2, stand A08), the LZH is presenting the state of the art.

    Light for Innovation – since 1986, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has been committed to advancing laser technology. Supported by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Economics, Labour and Transport, the LZH has been devoted to the selfless promotion of applied research in the field of laser technology.

  • Aerogels - the world's lightest solids: International project meeting of NanoHybrids at TUHH

    Aerogel illustration.

    Project meeting of the NanoHybrids EU project on 15 and 16 May 2017 – an important milestone

    The EU research project NanoHybrids, uniting well-known partners from European research and industry, can report its first successes: New methods have been developed for manufacturing organic and hybrid aerogels and they have already been used to produce initial small quantities of organic aerogels. Industry and research partners have cooperated closely to achieve this. Thus significant milestones have already been achieved just 18 months into the EU project.

  • An injectable guidance system for nerve cells

    Dr.-Ing. Laura De Laporte and PhD student Jonas Rose analyze the orientation of nerve cells (red) along the paths provided by gel rods (green). J. Hillmer, DWI

    In many tissues of the human body, such as nerve tissue, the spatial organization of cells plays an important role. Nerve cells and their long protrusions assemble into nerve tracts and transport information throughout the body. When such a tissue is injured, an accurate spatial orientation of the cells facilitates the healing process. Scientists from the DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials in Aachen developed an injectable gel, which can act as a guidance system for nerve cells. They recently published their results obtained from cell culture experiments in the journal ‚Nano Letters‘.

  • Announcement: Free Webcast Today & Tomorrow: Nanosensor Manufacturing Workshop

    NNI Banner Logo. (c) NNI National Nanotechnology Initiative

    The NNI is a U.S. Government research and development (R&D) initiative involving 20 departments and independent agencies working together toward the shared vision of "a future in which the ability to understand and control matter at the nanoscale leads to a revolution in technology and industry that benefits society." The NNI brings together the expertise needed to advance this broad and complex field—creating a framework for shared goals, priorities, and strategies that helps each participating Federal agency leverage the resources of all participating agencies. With the support of the NNI, nanotechnology R&D is taking place in academic, government, and industry laboratories across the United States.

  • Applications of Graphene

    Application of Graphene

    In order to get introduced to Graphene, a good point of start would be Graphite. Graphite is a naturally-occurring form of crystalline carbon. It is a native element mineral found in metamorphic and igneous rocks. Regarding its composition, Graphite is a stack of carbon-atom layers.

  • Applications of nanoparticles

    Nanoparticles are particles between 1 and 100 nanometers in size. In nanotechnology, a particle is defined as a small object that behaves as a whole unit with respect to its transport and properties. Particles are further classified according to diameter. Ultra fine particles are the same as nanoparticles and between 1 and 100 nanometers in size, fine particles are sized between 100 and 2,500 nanometers, and coarse particles cover a range between 2,500 and 10,000 nanometers. Nanoparticle research is currently an area of intense scientific interest due to a wide variety of potential applications in biomedical, optical and electronic fields.

  • Bacteria Free Themselves with Molecular “Speargun”

    Macrophage infected with Francisella novicida (magenta) assembling a dynamic nano-speargun (green). University of Basel, Biozentrum

    Many bacteria are armed with nano-spearguns, which they use to combat unwelcome competitors or knockout host cells. The pathogen responsible for tularemia, a highly virulent infectious disease, uses this weapon to escape from its prison in cells defending the host. Researchers from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel report on this bacterial strategy in the current issue of “Nature Communications”.

    Tularemia is an infectious disease that mostly affects rabbits and rodents, but also humans can become infected. The cause of this serious disease is the bacterium Francisella tularensis.

  • Better Contrast Agents Based on Nanoparticles

    Scientists at the University of Basel have developed nanoparticles which can serve as efficient contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging. This new type of nanoparticles produce around ten times more contrast than common contrast agents and are responsive to specific environments. The journal Chemical Communications has published these results.

  • Block Copolymer Micellization as a Protection Strategy for DNA Origami

    Polyplex Abstract. cfaed

    Scientists from the Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden / TU Dresden and the University of Tokyo led by Dr. Thorsten-Lars Schmidt (cfaed) developed a method to protect DNA origami structures from decomposition in biological media. This protection enables future applications in nanomedicine or cell biology. The precise positioning of individual molecules with respect to one another is fundamentally challenging. DNA Nanotechnology enables the synthesis of nanometer-sized objects with programmable shapes out of many chemically produced DNA fragments.