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Nanotechnology


— Medical

DARPA's fascinating self-healing body initiative – ElectRx

DARPA's ElectRx project envisions tiny devices, the width of a single nerve strand, that could be injected into the body to monitor certain conditions and then stimulate targeted nerves in response, harnessing the body’s own repair mechanisms to deal with a range of conditions like chronic pain, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and certain autoimmune diseases. DARPA sees the potential to create new treatments that automatically and continuously tune themselves to the needs of a specific patient.

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— Automotive

StoreDot to scale up nanodot battery tech in pursuit of five minute-charging EVs

Last year, StoreDot made news with its rapid-charging smartphone battery that the Israeli startup claimed could be fully recharged in just 30 seconds, while hinting the technology could be scaled up for fast-charging electric vehicles (EVs). After completing a round of funding for a new EV business unit, StoreDot might just be able to deliver on its vision of EVs that can receive a full charge in just five minutes.

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— Electronics

World's highest-performance single-molecule diode created

As electronics miniaturization heads towards a theoretical physical limit in the tens of nanometers, new methods of manufacturing are required to produce transistors, diodes, and other fundamental electronic components. In this vein, a new range of molecule-sized devices have been created in the laboratory, though with varying results in terms of efficiency and practicality. Now a group of researchers from Berkeley Lab and Columbia University claims to have created the highest-performing, single-molecule diode ever made, which is said to be 50 times better in performance and efficiency than anything previously produced.

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— Physics

Nanoscale device emits light as bright as an object 10,000 times its size

Amplifying light a few hundred times with magnifying lenses is easy. Amplifying light by altering the resonant properties of light itself is a much more difficult proposition. However, if recent research by engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers is anything to go by, the effort is well worth it: They claim to have constructed a nanoscale device that can emit light as powerfully as an object more than 10,000 times its size.

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— Medical

Nanorobots wade through blood to deliver drugs

Nanorobots hold great potential in the field of medicine. This is largely due to the possibility of highly-targeted delivery of medical payloads, an outcome that could lessen side effects and negate the need for invasive procedures. But how these microscopic particles can best navigate the body's fluids is a huge area of focus for scientists. Researchers are now reporting a new technique whereby nanorobots are made to swim swiftly through the fluids like blood to reach their destination.

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— Electronics

World's first light-activated, molecule-sized switch gets turned on

In the pursuit of ever-shrinking circuitry for nanotechnology electronics, increasingly smaller devices and components are being developed. Now researchers at the University of Konstanz and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) claim to have micro-miniaturized the humble electrical switch all the way down to molecule size and proven its operation for the very first time. Unable to flick such a tiny switch mechanically, however, the researchers instead used light to turn it on. Read More
— Electronics

Graphene device makes ultrafast light to energy conversion possible

Converting light to electricity is one of the pillars of modern electronics, with the process essential for the operation of everything from solar cells and TV remote control receivers through to laser communications and astronomical telescopes. These devices rely on the swift and effective operation of this technology, especially in scientific equipment, to ensure the most efficient conversion rates possible. In this vein, researchers from the Institute of Photonic Sciences (Institut de Ciències Fotòniques/ICFO) in Barcelona have demonstrated a graphene-based photodetector they claim converts light into electricity in less than 50 quadrillionths of a second. Read More
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