Nanotechnology

Plants to detox land, generate nanoparticles

Publication: NBC News   Date: March 5, 2013   View Article

Common garden plants such as alyssum will be used to soak up toxic metals from polluted lands and then used to produce high-value metal nanoparticles for car parts and medical research, according to an innovative project launched Monday.

The use of plants to clean up polluted sites, a process called phytoremediation, is well known. But until now, the harvested plants were either burned or buried. The new project promises to bring value to the harvested plants by recovering the metals and using engineered bacteria to form metal nanoparticles.

‘Nano-shish-kebabs’ are a recipe for better lithium-ion batteries

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 20, 2013   View Article

Powerful energy storage devices of the future may trace their roots back to a research lab that cooked up “nano-shish-kebabs” out of germanium sulfide, a semiconductor material.

Unlike the skewered meats and assorted veggies grilled on backyard barbeques, these kebabs are single, three-dimensional structures that consist of sheets of the semiconductor material grown along a nanowire. Each wire is about 100 nanometers long.

Coming soon: Atomic-scale, 2-D electronics

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 30, 2013   View Article

A world filled with teeny tiny two-dimensional electronic devices is a giant step closer thanks to a pioneering technique to make atom-thick patterns that combine a conductor and an insulator.

Conventional microelectronic devices have three basic parts; a metal to conduct electricity, semiconductor components and an insulator to protect the components from the free-flowing electricity.

Army wants rapid development of lighter, stronger armor

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: May 24, 2012   View Article

The U.S. military is plowing $90 million into a university-led research program to rapidly accelerate the development of lighter and stronger materials to better protect soldiers and vehicles.

The same tools that enable the development of this next generation protective gear could, of course, also be used to develop more lethal weapons – bullets designed to penetrate the toughest materials.

Tiny tweezers help fat fingers do nimble tasks

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 18, 2012   View Article

Ever wish you had teeny tiny tweezers to pull a teeny tiny splinter from your pinky?

You’re in luck.

Researchers have developed easy-to-use “microtweezers” that are up to the task, and much more, such as plucking a cluster of stem cells from a petri dish and building all sorts of little mechanical devices.

Tiny hard drive stores one bit of data with just 12 atoms

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 12, 2012   View Article

Twelve atoms are all that’s required to store a bit of computer code – a 1 or 0, according to a new discovery that probes the limit of classical data storage.

Computer hard drives on the market today use more than a million atoms to store a single bit and more than half a billion to store a byte, which is an eight-bit-long unit of code sufficient to write the letter A, for example.

The new technique uses just 96 atoms per byte, allowing for hard drives that store 100 times more information in the same amount of physical space, according the researchers behind the discovery.

Four-atom-wide wire may herald tiny computers

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 10, 2012   View Article

A wire that is just four atoms wide and one atom tall, yet works just as well as the ordinary copper wires running behind your wall, was recently created by an international team of scientists.

The breakthrough brings closer to reality a future where computers smaller than a pinhead are faster and more powerful than some of today’s supercomputers, according to the researchers.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach