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Nanoscale


— Electronics

Sand-based anode triples lithium-ion battery performance

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
— Electronics

World's smallest nanomotor could power cell-sized nanobots for drug delivery

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
— Electronics

World's smallest comic carved into a strand of human hair

Advances in technology have given rise to an abundance of ways to share our stories. There's messaging services for the short and sharp, blogging platforms for the long-winded and, as it happens, single strands of human hair for microscopic comic strips. Created for the Exceptional Hardware Software Meeting (EHSM) in Germany next month, "Juanita Knits the Planet" is the world's smallest comic strip, detailing a day in the life of Juanita, a ten micron-tall girl-turned-robot. 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.

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— Science

Black silicon slices and dices bacteria

Originally discovered by accident in the 1980s, black silicon is silicon with a surface that has been modified to feature nanoscale spike structures which give the material very low reflectivity. Researchers have now found that these spikes can also destroy a wide range of bacteria, potentially paving the way for a new generation of antibacterial surfaces. Read More
— Science

Grad students build nanometer-resolution atomic force microscope using Lego and 3D printing

Scanning atomic force microscopes, first introduced into commerce in 1989, are a powerful tool for nanoscale science and engineering. Capable of seeing individual atoms, commercial AFM prices range between US$10K and $1M, depending on the unit's features and capabilities. During the recent LEGO2NANO summer school held at Tsinghua University in Beijing, a group of Chinese and English students succeeded in making a Lego-based AFM in five days at a cost less than $500. Read More
— Science

Nanoscale lithography breakthrough uses Scotch tape

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and Seoul National University have developed a new lithographic method with the help of a very low-tech tool: Scotch Magic tape. This new method, which promises to enhance our ability to fabricate nanostructures, has been used to build highly nonlinear optical materials consisting of sheets of 25 micron (0.001 in) metal blocks separated by nanometer-wide insulating channels. As light squeezes through these channels, incompletely understood plasmonic effects enable novel optical behavior. Read More
— Quantum Computing

Nanodiamond levitated in free space with lasers could further quantum computing

A recent experiment by researchers at the University of Rochester has managed to suspend a nano-sized diamond in free space with a laser and measure light emitted from it. Like the scientists who recently managed to freeze light in a crystal for up to a minute, these scholars believe their work has applications in the field of quantum computing. Read More
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