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Nanoscale

A new nanoscale plasmon laser developed at Northwestern University changes color in real time through a process as simple as swapping one liquid dye for another. The scientists responsible for the technology claim this is the world's first liquid nanoscale laser, and it could find uses in medical diagnostics as well as military or security applications. Read More
By altering metal alloy at a nanoscale level, researchers at the Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology (GIFT) at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea have created a new material that has the strength of steel and the lightness of titanium alloy. Made from an amalgam of steel, aluminum, carbon, manganese, and nickel, the new alloy promises to be low-cost and readily available due to its mix of common minerals. Read More
In an ongoing effort to improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries, scientists have looked to the techniques that snails use to control the growth of their shells. This biological inspiration, combined with a peptide found to bind very effectively with materials used to make cathodes, has potential for making lighter and longer-lasting batteries. Read More
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Stanford University and the Dresden University of Technology have developed a long sought-after nanostructure that can significantly increase the efficiency of organic solar cells. Their "nanograss," a dense array of vertical nanopillars, can capture photons at a very high efficiency and could also lead to cheaper and more advanced 3D transistors, photodetectors and charge storage devices. Read More
Ever since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek turned his simple microscope on a bit of pond water in the 17th century, optical microscopes have been a key tool for biologists. Unfortunately, they’re rather limited as to the smallness of what they can see – or at least, they were. This year's winners of the Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner, changed all that. Their discovery of two methods to bypass the physical limits of optical microscopes led to the creation of the field of nanomicroscopy. Read More
Using waste hemp fibers as the starting material, researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada have developed a high-performance electrode material for supercapacitors at one thousandth the cost of the more commonly used graphene. The advance could lead to supercapacitors that are both cheaper and able to operate under harsh environmental conditions. Read More
Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have discovered that a gold nanorod submerged in water and exposed to high-frequency ultrasound waves can spin at an incredible speed of 150,000 RPM, about ten times faster than the previous record. The advance could lead to powerful nanomotors with important applications in medicine, high-speed machining, and the mixing of materials. Read More
The Retina displays featured on Apple's iPhone 4 and 5 models pack a pixel density of 326 ppi, with individual pixels measuring 78 micrometers. That might seem plenty good enough given the average human eye is unable to differentiate between the individual pixels, but scientists in the UK have now developed technology that could lead to extremely high-resolution displays that put such pixel densities to shame. Read More
Conventional lithium-ion batteries rely on anodes made of graphite, but it is widely believed that the performance of this material has reached its zenith, prompting researchers to look at possible replacements. Much of the focus has been on nanoscale silicon, but it remains difficult to produce in large quantities and usually degrades quickly. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have overcome these problems by developing a lithium-ion battery anode using sand. Read More
Scientists at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas have built and tested what appears to be the world's smallest, fastest, and longest-running nanomotor yet – so small that it could fit inside a single cell. The advance could be used to power nanobots that would deliver specific drugs to individual living cells inside the human body. Read More
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