Controlling the Architecture of Nanocrystals

Roland Piquepaille writes "Until now, the fabrication of nanocrystals implied to inject various chemicals into heated solutions. As the solution concentration changed during the reaction, the process was hard to control and the results were somewhat unexpected. But now, researchers at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) have found an easy way to control the architecture of nanocrystals. They simply use electricity to control the nanocrystals shapes in a reproducible way. This opens the door to new applications such as using ferromagnetic nanocrystals as components in ultra high-density storage media. More details and references are available in this overview. It also includes illustrations of different shapes of nanocrystals obtained by applying different voltages."

The ViriChip Uses an Atomic Microscope to Catch Vi

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers in Iowa have used nanotechnology to develop a very small silicon chip to catch and help identify viruses, according to Technology Research News. The device, dubbed the ViriChip, is used in conjunction with an atomic force microscope (AFM). The prototype is already able to identify several viruses and should be in labs in less than two years. A particular application could help save lives by enabling doctors to check a donor heart for potential infections before transplanting it to a patient. This overview contains more details. It also includes references to other articles about the ViriChip and images showing how it looks and a virus it detected."

Electrical Nanopulses Might Kill Tumors

Roland Piquepaille writes "Killing cells affected by cancer while leaving healthy ones alone is not a new idea (check here or there for example). But, in "Ultra-fast shocks scramble cells," Nature describes a new approach based on electrical nanopulses. These electric shocks last only a few billionths of a second while reaching during this very short amount of time power levels of terawatts. They also are very intriguing, apparently forcing cancer cells to commit suicide. For this reason, "there is plenty to be worked out before the human body is zapped with nanopulses." This overview contains more details and references. It also includes images showing how cells are affected by these electric nanopulses."

Quantum Dots Used To Visualize Cellular Processes

Roland Piquepaille writes "German researchers at the Max Planck Institute are using nanotechnology to take movies of cellular processes. They used Quantum Dots (or QDs) as nano-sized markers to visualize DNA sequences. This new approach is crucial for the development of new cancer drugs. "These Quantum Dots are nano-sized semiconductor crystals a mere ten millionth of a millimeter in diameter that fluoresce in several different colors upon excitation with a laser source. These crystals enabled the researchers to deliver real-time video-clips of signal transmission in the so-called erbB receptor family, important targets for many anti-tumor drugs such as antibodies directed against breast cancer." More details and references are available in this overview including some isolated shots from a movie showing live cells activation."

New Atlantis recommends reinstating MNT study

The New Atlantis looks at the debate between MNT advocates and mainstream nanotechnologists, like Richard Smalley and the NanoBusiness Alliance, who maintain that MNT "is bunk." They conclude that the government feasibility study of molecular manufacturing, which the NanoBusiness Alliance managed to have removed from last year's Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, should be reinstated. "The Nanotech Schism: High-Tech Pants or Molecular Revolution?"

Spy On Your Food with this DNA Chip

Roland Piquepaille writes "Do you want to know if the chicken you just bought at the supermarket contains bits of pork or beef? Or would you like to know if the vegetarian meal you just ordered contains some fish or meat? If your answer is yes, you might get some help from a DNA chip which can recognize 32 different species of fishes, birds and mammals, including humans(!!), in a single test. Both Small Times and New Scientist carry a story of this DNA chip, which will likely be used first by food regulators. The FoodExpert-ID biochip is the first high-throughput gene chip for testing food and animal feed. But it doesn't come cheap. The cost of all the equipment needed to perform the tests is around $250,000, but each test would cost only $350 to $550. This overview contains more details and references. It also includes illustrations showing how the technology works."

Beautiful Nanorings Could Become Nanoscale Sensors

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have created nanorings of single-crystal zinc oxide. Because of the semiconducting and piezoelectric properties of the material, these nanostructures could serve as nanometer-scale sensors, resonators and transducers, according to this article from These perfectly circular nanorings range in diameter from one to four microns and are 10-30 nanometers thick. They could be used to build implantable sensors for real-time monitoring of such biomedical measures as blood pressure, blood flow rate and stress at the level of single cells. This overview contains more details and references. It also contains an image of such a beautiful zinc-oxide circular nanoring."

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