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Nanoparticles

Science

Added DNA could be used to authenticate premium olive oil

When most people think of counterfeit goods, they probably picture things like handbags or watches. In fact, there's also a huge market for knock-off high-end food products, such as extra-virgin olive oil. Scientists from Switzerland's ETH Zurich research group, however, have come up with a possible method of thwarting the makers of that bogus oil – just add synthetic DNA particles to the real thing. And yes, consumers would proceed to swallow those particles. Read More

Medical

Drug-delivering nanoparticles pose a triple threat to cancer

Delivering drugs that can knock out tumor cells within the body, without causing adverse side effects, is a tricky busines. It's why scientists have taken to engineering new and creative types of nanoparticles that do the job. Increasing a nanoparticle's ability to carry more drugs expands treatment options, but creating nanoparticles capable of delivering more than one or two drugs has proven difficult – until now. Scientists at MIT report creating a revolutionary building block technique that's enabled them to load a nanoparticle with three drugs. The approach, they say, could be expanded to allow a nanoparticle to carry hundreds more. Read More

Science

Nanoparticles found to violate second law of thermodynamics

It may be a little late for April Fool's, but your skepticism is nonetheless warranted when reading that researchers have shown nanoparticles to disobey a fundamental law of physics which dictates the flow of entropy and heat in, it was believed, any situation. Specifically, researchers from three universities theoretically proposed then demonstrated that a nanoparticle in a state of thermal non-equilibrium does not always behave as larger particles might under the same conditions, with implications for various fields of research.Read More

Bacteria combined with gold to produce "living material"

Scientists at MIT are developing hybrid materials that are a cross between living bacterial cells and non-living components such as gold nanoparticles or quantum dots. The resulting "living materials" are able to respond to their environment like regular living cells, while also doing things like conducting electricity or emitting light. Read More

Aircraft

Nanoparticle coating could let aircraft engines last three times longer

The higher the temperature at which an aircraft engine is able to run, the more efficiently it uses fuel. In order to run at those high temperatures, the metal components of airplane engines are presently treated with heat-shielding coatings. Scientists at Sweden's University West, however, are developing a new such coating that is said to be far more effective than anything presently used – it could extend the service life of engines by 300 percent. Read More

Environment

Nano technique boosts plant energy production and creates plant biosensors

In 2010, Stanford University researchers reported harnessing energy directly from chloroplasts, the cellular "power plants" within plants where photosynthesis takes place. Now, by embedding different types of carbon nanotubes into these chloroplasts, a team at MIT has boosted plants' ability to capture light energy. As well as opening up the possibility of creating "bionic plants" with enhanced energy production, the same approach could be used to create plants with environmental monitoring capabilities.Read More

Electronics

Pomegranate-inspired electrode could mean longer lithium-ion battery life

Though the use of silicon in lithium-ion batteries promises a whole new world of energy storage, it also poses several problems to a battery's durability and overall performance. A new electrode design inspired by clusters of pomegranate seeds and developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) and Stanford University, overcomes some of these obstacles, bringing lighter and more powerful batteries closer to reality. Read More

Medical

Charged polymers unlock door to deliver nanoparticles to cancer cells

In recent years, we've seen various research efforts looking to specifically target cancer cells as a replacement for the shotgun approach employed by chemotherapy that also damages healthy cells. The trick is to develop a delivery vehicle that identifies and targets only cancer cells, while ignoring the healthy ones. Researchers have found charged polymers have this ability, opening the door for nanoparticles containing cancer-fighting drugs to deliver their payload directly to the cancer cells.Read More

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