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Nanoparticles

— Environment

MIT researchers devise technique to clean up oil spills using magnets

By - September 12, 2012 1 Picture
Possibly the only good thing to come out of the Deepwater Horizon disaster is the subsequent increase in research into finding more effective ways to clean up oil spills, including such initiatives as the X PRIZE Foundation's Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. Joining the list is a new method devised by researchers at MIT who propose separating oil and water using magnets. The new technique would allow the oil to be recovered to help offset the costs of the cleanup operation. Read More
— Environment

“Nano-velcro” traps and detects heavy metals in contaminated waterways

By - September 11, 2012 1 Picture
While progress has been made in reducing the amount of heavy metal pollution, the very nature of heavy metal contamination means it continues to be a problem in waterways around the world. Conventional heavy metal contamination detection methods require sending samples off to a lab for analysis on expensive equipment. Now a Swiss-American team has developed a cheap way to immediately ascertain the levels of heavy metals in lakes and rivers and the fish pulled out of them. Read More
— Medical

"Whispering gallery" biosensor detects the smallest viruses

By - August 28, 2012 2 Pictures
Researchers led by Professor Stephen Arnold at Polytechnic Institute of New York University have developed a new ultra-sensitive biosensor. Currently undergoing commercial development, the sensor is designed to inexpensively identify viruses in a doctor’s office within a matter of minutes instead of the weeks needed by conventional techniques ... and it can detect even the smallest RNA virus particle, MS2, which weighs only six attograms (10-18 grams). Read More
— Science

Researchers produce ink and dye-free 100,000 DPI images

By - August 14, 2012 3 Pictures
Researchers at Singapore's Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), an institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), have developed an innovative method of creating sharp, full-spectrum color images at 100,000 dots per inch (DPI). The method achieves this without need of ink or dye and bests the current crop of industrial inkjet and laserjet printers which are only able to offer up to 10,000 DPI. The new research also promises to outperform research-grade methods, which are able to dispense dyes for only single color images. Read More
— Science

New tech could lead to wider use of drug-delivering microspheres

By - July 10, 2012 1 Picture
One of the more promising developments in the field of medical technology involves the use of microspheres for targeted drug delivery. In a nutshell, this encompasses creating tiny hollow balls that are filled with a specific drug, which travel directly to a specific organ or area of diseased tissue. Once there, the spheres release their medication, keeping it concentrated where it’s needed while sparing other tissue from any harmful side effects. Recently, a team of scientists from Germany’s Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces devised a new method of manufacturing such microspheres, which is said to offer several advantages over existing techniques. Read More
— Medical

Selenium shows promise as antibiotic coating for medical devices

By - June 21, 2012 1 Picture
Although it’s known to kill bacteria, selenium has never been tried as an antibacterial coating for implanted medical devices ... until now, that is. Engineers from Rhode Island’s Brown University have applied coatings of selenium nanoparticles to pieces of polycarbonate – the material used for things like catheters and endotracheal tubes – and then exposed those samples to Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. In some cases, populations of the bacteria were subsequently reduced by up to 90 percent. Read More
— Good Thinking

Silica nanoparticles used to make mosquito-repellant clothing

By - June 7, 2012 2 Pictures
For many of us, mosquitoes are an irritating pest that can ruin any number of outdoor activities. For many others, however, they are also spreaders of malaria – a disease which infected approximately 216 million people in 2010, according to an estimate by the World Health Organization. Repeatedly slathering on bug repellant is one way of dealing with the insects, although wearing clothing made from mosquito-repellant fabric sounds a lot more preferable. While existing mozzie-unfriendly garments have some limitations, Portuguese tech company Nanolabel has developed a new treatment process that it claims is far superior to traditional technology. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Primate study provides positive sign for the safety of nanomedicine

By - June 3, 2012 2 Pictures
Nanomedicine is a hugely promising field, but while remarkable new treatments and diagnostic tests are being developed, questions remain about the long term effects of nanoparticles on our bodies. Adding to our understanding of these issues, researchers have now reported that the use of quantum dots - tiny luminescent crystals that can be used to monitor disease at a cellular level - appears to be safe in primates over a one-year period. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Ultra-sensitive biosensor could detect diseases in their earliest stages

By - May 27, 2012 1 Picture
A new ultra-sensitive test developed by scientists from the Imperial College London and Spain’s University of Vigo has the potential to detect the earliest stages of a disease, thereby giving any treatment the best possible chance of succeeding. The researchers claim their new biosensor test is capable of detecting biomarkers (molecules which indicate the presence of a disease) at concentration levels much lower than is possible with existing biosensors. While the new test has already proven capable of detecting a biomarker associated with prostate cancer, the team says their biosensor could be easily reconfigured to detect biomarkers related to other diseases or viruses. Read More

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