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Nanotechnology

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

Science

World's first plasmonic nanostructure recording could produce storage breakthrough

The use of optical sound-on-film recording on early movie films revolutionized the motion picture industry and remained the standard method of audio recording in that medium for more than 80 years. Now researchers from the University of Illinois have emulated that feat in miniature by claiming to have recorded the world's first optically encoded audio onto a plasmonic film substrate. The size of human hair, this substrate has a capacity over five-and-a-half thousand times greater than conventional analog magnetic recording media.Read More

Electronics

Self-repairing, reconfigurable electronic circuits take a step closer to reality

If electronic circuits could automatically reconfigure their internal conductive pathways as required, microchips could function as many different circuits on the one device. If many of these devices were then incorporated into larger pieces of equipment, such as robots, it is possible that self-sufficient, self-sustaining machines could change to suit their environment or even reconfigure broken or damaged pathways to repair themselves. Promising applications like these – and more – could one day be made possible if technology resulting from recent research into atomic manipulation at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) comes to fruition.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Scientists find that exposure to nanoparticles could impact cardiovascular health

Due to its huge potential in applications ranging from cheaper vaccinations to energy-storing car panels, there's plenty of excitement surrounding the emergence of nanotechnology. But a team of scientists are urging caution, with a study conducted at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology suggesting that exposure to silicon-based nanoparticles may play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Non-invasive MRI technique picks up early signs of Alzheimer’s disease

The development of brain plaques are thought to correlate with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, such as memory loss. Previous research has indicated that limiting these buildups could be the key to tackling the disease, but scientists from Northwestern University are digging a little deeper. The team has devised a non-invasive MRI technique capable of tracking the specific toxins that accumulate to form plaques, potentially enabling doctors to pick up early signs of the disease before it starts to take hold. Read More

Medical

Nanotube film could replace defective retinas

A promising new study suggests that a wireless, light-sensitive, and flexible nanotube-semiconductor nanocrystal film could potentially form part of a prosthetic device to replace damaged or defective retinas. The film both absorbs light and stimulates neurons without being connected to any wires or external power sources, standing it apart from silicon-based devices used for the same purpose. It has so far been tested only on light-insensitive retinas from embryonic chicks, but the researchers hope to see the pioneering work soon reach real-world human application.Read More

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