Introducing the Gizmag Store

Nanoparticles

EnSol's film being applied inside a deposition chamber

Imagine if all the windows of a building, and perhaps even all its exterior walls, could be put to use as solar collectors. Soon, you may not have to imagine it, as the Norweigan solar power company EnSol has patented a thin film solar cell technology designed to be sprayed on to just such surfaces. Unlike traditional silicon-based solar cells, the film is composed of metal nanoparticles embedded in a transparent composite matrix, and operates on a different principle. EnSol is now developing the product with help from the University of Leicester’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.  Read More

A fluorescence micrograph showing nanoparticles separated by the NIST device

If you had to sort a bunch of nanoparticles by size, what would you use? A microscope, tweezers, and a very finely-calibrated caliper? Actually, you’d probably use the nanofluidic “multi-tool” created by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US. Before you start picturing a teeny-tiny Leatherman, which would admittedly be pretty cool, you should be aware that the NIST device is more like a coin separator, that sorts your nickels, dimes and quarters. In this case, however, they would be nickels, dimes and quarters that are smaller than a bacterium.  Read More

A new technique could help reveal how nanoparticles, such as these titanium oxide nanotube...

At the nanoscale chemistry is different and nanoparticles don’t behave like normal particles. Nanoparticles tend to be more chemically reactive than ordinary-sized particles of the same material, making it hard to predict how they will act under different conditions and raising serious questions about the use of such particles – particularly inside the human body. Researchers have now developed a method for predicting the ways nanoparticles will interact with biological systems – including the human body – that could improve human and environmental safety in the handling on nanomaterials, and have applications for drug delivery.  Read More

A technique that combines nanotechnology with adult stem cells appears to destroy atherosc...

A combination of nanotechnology and adult stem cells has been shown to destroy arterial plaque (atherosclerosis) in the heart of pigs. Pigs that received stem cells also showed signs of new blood vessel growth and restoration of artery function according to the study reported at the American Heart Association's Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2010 Scientific Sessions – Technological and Conceptual Advances in Cardiovascular Disease.  Read More

A female mosquito feeding on a human arm: could this pest's days be numbered?

To most Gizmag readers, mosquitoes are at most a pesky nuisance - for others of course, particularly in more tropical areas, they're a genuine killer, spreading all sorts of diseases as they feed on the blood of their victims. Either way, the mosquito female's habit of biting humans puts mozzies high on the list of most hated insects - so many will appreciate this study from Kansas State University, in which researchers have successfully used nanoparticles impregnated with gene-silencing dsRNA to specifically target particular genes in mosquito larvae. A small supply of these nanoparticles, added to a still water breeding ground, can kill mozzie larvae as they grow, or at the least, render them much more susceptible to insecticides… And the process is fascinating.  Read More

Scientists have created a nanoparticle that can deliver DNA deeply enough into a cell to a...

Scientists from Ohio State University (OSU) have created a nanoparticle that can deliver DNA deeply enough into a cell to allow genetic material to be activated. This is a key step in gene therapy, the “reprogramming” of defective genes. Previously, scientists have used deactivated viruses for this task, but have been limited by the body’s immune system attacking those viruses. Nanoparticle delivery is reportedly two-and-a-half to ten times more effective, because it generates much less of an immune response.  Read More

Common or English ivy (Hedera helix) clinging to an Acacia

Just as an examination of the burrs of seeds that kept sticking to his clothes led Swiss engineer, George de Mestral, to develop Velcro, a search for an explanation as to why the ivy in his backyard clung to this fence so tightly has led Mingjun Zhnag to a new discovery. It seems that tiny particles secreted from ivy rootlets could have applications for military technologies, medical adhesives, drug delivery and, most recently, sun-block that could protect skin from UV radiation at least four times better than the metal-based sunblocks found on store shelves today.  Read More

Diagram of the gold monolayering process

We’ve reported on some rather questionable products of gold plating technology before, including a gilded iPhone, Wii gaming system and barbecue. There are legitimate reasons to coat things in gold, however, such as in the production of nanoelectronics and semiconductors. The coatings used in these applications are infinitely thinner than what you would typically use on an iPhone, so it is of the utmost importance that they be as smooth and uniform as possible. Recently, researchers at Troy, New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced that they have devised a quick and simple method of producing just such coatings.  Read More

Researchers at the University of York in the U.K. have transformed the polyvinyl-alcohol (...

Who would have thought television could be good for you? Researchers at the University of York in the U.K. have transformed a chemical compound found in LCD television sets into an anti-microbial substance that destroys infections such as Escherichia coli and some strains of Staphylococcus aureus. The treated polyvinyl-alcohol (PVA) could potentially also be used in tissue scaffolds to help parts of the body regenerate, pills and dressings that deliver drugs, and hospital cleaning products to prevent infection.  Read More

Plastic antibodies, such as this cluster of particles, may fight a wide range of human dis...

From bricks to jackets, it seems just about anything can be made using plastic nowadays. The latest items to get a plastic fantastic makeover are antibodies – proteins produced by the body’s immune system to recognize and fight infections from foreign substances. Scientists are reporting the first evidence that a plastic antibody works in the bloodstream of a living animal, opening up the possibility of plastic antibodies being custom tailored to fight everything from viruses and bacteria to the proteins that cause allergic reactions.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 26,455 articles