Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

08.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms—ions—but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells. To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules, particularly water, that have an affinity for the charged atoms. But these molecular processes have traditionally been difficult to model—and therefore to understand—using computers or artificial structures.

Strongly anisotropic spin relaxation observed in graphene

08.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

Researchers of the ICN2 Physics and Engineering of Nanodevices Group, led by ICREA Prof. Sergio O. Valenzuela, have unambiguously demonstrated the anisotropic nature of spin relaxation in graphene when interfaced with transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDC). The paper, titled "Strongly anisotropic spin relaxation in graphene–transition metal dichalcogenide heterostructures at room temperature," was published this week in Nature Physics with lead author L. Antonio Benítez.

Scientist’s accidental exhale leads to improved DNA detector

07.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

Greg Madejski held his breath as he looked into the microscope, trying to weld two fingernail-sized chips together: a tiny chip containing a nanofilter on top of another chip with a DNA sensor.

Demonstrating high performance 2-D monolayer transistors on paper substrates

07.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

(Tech Xplore)—A pair of researchers, Saungeun Park and Deji Akinwande, with the University of Texas at Austin, recently demonstrated high-performance 2-D monolayer transistors on paper substrates at this year's International Electron Devices Meeting. At their presentation, they reported creating graphene and molybdenum disulfide transistors on a normal paper substrate and how well they worked—nearly as well as those based on plastic.

Research team saves information on a single molecule

07.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have become ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists of using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. To do so, they have to be placed on surfaces without damaging their ability to save the information.

Physicists stretch diamond using an electric field

07.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

A research team from the Faculty of Physics of Lomonosov Moscow State University stretched acicular diamond crystallites using an electric field. Deformation occurring during the stretching causes changes in the luminescence spectrum. This effect can be used to develop electric field detectors and other quantum optic devices. The work was published in Nano Letters.

A 100-fold leap to GigaDalton DNA nanotech

07.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

DNA, present in almost every cell, is increasingly being used as a building material to construct tiny, but sophisticated structures such as autonomous 'DNA walkers' that can move along a microparticle surface, fluorescent labels for diagnostic applications, 'DNA boxes' that serve as smart drug-delivery vehicles programmed to open up at disease sites to release their therapeutic content, or programmable factories for nanoparticles of defined sizes and shapes for new optical and electronic applications.

Go with the flow (or against it)

06.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

Queen's University researchers are using magnetic fields to influence a specific type of bacteria to swim against strong currents, opening up the potential of using the microscopic organisms for drug delivery in environments with complex microflows - like the human bloodstream.

Thermal gradients shown to enhance spin transport in graphene

06.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

Scientists of the ICN2 Physics and Engineering of Nanodevices Group, led by ICREA Prof. Sergio O. Valenzuela, have contributed to the literature on spin caloritronics with a focus on the effect of thermal gradients on spins in graphene. The paper titled "Thermoelectric spin voltage in graphene" was published this week in Nature Nanotechnology, with lead author Juan F. Sierra.

Hybrid electrolyte enhances supercapacitance in vertical graphene nanosheets

05.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

Supercapacitors can store more energy than and are preferable to batteries because they are able to charge faster, mainly due to the vertical graphene nanosheets (VGNs) that are larger and positioned closer together. VGNs are 3-D networks of carbon nanomaterial that grow in rows of vertical sheets, providing a large surface area for greater charge storage capacity. Also called carbon nanowalls or graphene nanoflakes, VGNs offer promise in high-power energy storage systems, fuel cells, bio sensors and magnetic devices, amongst others.

Researchers successfully measure some of the quantum properties of electrons in 2-D semiconductors

05.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

A group of spintronics researchers at EPFL is using new materials to reveal more of the many capabilities of electrons. The field of spintronics seeks to tap the quantum properties of "spin," the term often used to describe one of the fundamental properties of elementary particles - in this case, electrons. This is among the most cutting-edge areas of research in electronics today.

Humidity switches molecular diode off and on

04.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

An international group of scientists from Leiden, Delft, Bern and Chuo has developed the first switchable molecular diode, which can be turned on and off through humidity. It also functions as a humidity sensor at the nanoscale. The study has been published in Nature Nanotechnology.

Better mastery of heat flow leads to next-generation thermal cloaks

04.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

Ever heard of the invisibility cloak? It manipulates how light travels along the cloak to conceal an object placed behind it. Similarly, the thermal cloak is designed to hide heated objects from infrared detectors without distorting the temperature outside the cloak. Materials for such cloaks would need to offer zero thermal conductivity to help camouflage the heat. Now, Liujun Xu and colleagues from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, have explored a new mechanism for designing such materials. These findings published in EPJ B could have implications for manipulating the transfer of thermal energy as a way to ultimately reduce heat waste from fossil fuels and help mitigate energy crises.

Researchers develop graphene nano ‘tweezers’ that can grab individual biomolecules

01.12. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

Researchers from the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering have found yet another remarkable use for the wonder material graphene—tiny electronic "tweezers" that can grab biomolecules floating in water with incredible efficiency. This capability could lead to a revolutionary handheld disease diagnostic system that could be run on a smart phone.

Researchers use fluorescent carbon nanotube probes to detect ovarian cancer

30.11. 2017 Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech News

Researchers at Rice University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have refined and, for the first time, run in vivo tests of a method that may allow nanotube-based probes to locate specific tumors in the body. Their ability to pinpoint tumors with submillimeter accuracy could eventually improve early detection and treatment of ovarian cancer.