In an effort to create a more viable material for drug delivery, a team of researchers has accidentally created an entirely new material thought for more than 100 years to be impossible to make. Upsalite is a new form of non-toxic magnesium carbonate with an extremely porous surface area which allows it to absorb more moisture at low humidities than any other known material. "The total area of the pore walls of one gram of material would cover 800 square meters (8611 sq ft) if you would 'roll them out'", Maria Strømme, Professor of Nanotechnology at the Uppsala University, Sweden tells Gizmag. That's roughly equal to the sail area of a megayacht. Aside from using substantially less energy to create drier environments for producing electronics, batteries and pharmaceuticals, Upsalite could also be used to clean up oil spills, toxic waste and residues.
If engineers at the University of California have their way, "Power Dressing" could be back in vogue. However, instead of 80’s-style shoulder pads the engineers have been creating energy-scavenging nanofibers. These nano-sized generators could one day be woven into clothing and textiles to harness the energy created through normal body movements to power mobile electronic devices.
We talk a lot about the wonders of nanotechnology here at Gizmag. After all it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement surround the technology when it promises to revolutionize practically every area of human endeavor. Among its long list of anticipated benefits are new medical treatments
; stronger, lighter materials
; improved energy production
; and more effective pollution monitoring
and prevention, just to name a few. But nanotechnology is not just something set to come about in some far off future – it is happening now. In fact, the odds are there is a product either containing, or made using nanoparticles sitting in your house right now. But the big question is, are they safe?
We recently looked at a technique that could help extend Moore’s Law by using DNA molecules as scaffolding
to pack more power and speed into computer chips. Now researchers from Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory are working to achieve the same result by adapting the same methods used in fusion-energy research to create extremely thin plasma beams for a new class of 'nanolithography'.
In a collaborative effort between the Arizona State University and Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, researchers have found a way to make optical lasers much smaller than it was previously thought was possible, making dreams of speedier computers and faster Internet access closer to reality than ever before.