Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Nanotechnology

A rendering of a nanoparticle trapped in a laser and in thermal non-equilibrium (Image: Iñ...

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.  Read More

One of KAIST's silver nanowire fingerprints

The counterfeiting of high-end products is a growing problem, and has led to the development of countermeasures such as invisible woven patterns, butterfly wing-inspired printing techniques, and even synthetic DNA. One of the drawbacks of some of these approaches, however, is the fact that implementing them can be quite a complex process. Now, a team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has come up with something simpler – tiny jumbles of nanowires that form item-specific "fingerprints."  Read More

Newly-developed nasal spray vaccines offer some key advantages over injections  (Photo: Sh...

Vaccines save lives, but sometimes they fail to reach the people who need them most, in parts of the developing world. A research team from Iowa State University is currently developing a new generation of vaccines that uses nanotechnology, and is delivered in spray form. One of the advantages of this new type of vaccine is that is can increase access to people living in remote areas because it requires no refrigeration and is simpler to administer.  Read More

The Diamond armor suit boasts level II bulletproof protection

If you're looking to extend your bulletproof wardrobe with something that won't be out of place alongside other garments, such as the Miguel Caballero bullet-proof polo shirt, the Bullet-Proof Gentleman’s Square and Garrison Bespoke's bulletproof three-piece suit, then the Diamond Armor could be a good fit. Developed by SuitArt, the Diamond Armor is a diamond-studded, bullet-proof, air-conditioned, bespoke-tailored suit costing US$3.2 million, making it the most expensive custom-tailored suit in the world.  Read More

At the microscopic level, combustion can't support itself, as it does in this Petri dish f...

If you’re going to do something like building a Porsche 911 that fits on the head of a pin, or make a microscopic medical pump, you need a microscopic engine. A team of researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Germany’s University of Freiburg have developed a micro-engine that burns oxygen and hydrogen, but there’s a small problem; they’re not sure how the thing works.  Read More

A rendering of one of the two-dimensional LEDs

In regular microchips, work is performed via the movement of electrons within the chip. Thanks to the recent creation of the thinnest-ever LEDs, however, such chips may one day be able to use light instead of electrons, saving power and reducing heat. Of course, those LEDs could also just be used as a really flat form of lighting, in any number of applications.  Read More

The gel-tags use nanotechnology to show when a product has gone off

We're all familiar with the sell-by dates stamped on groceries. They're supposed to protect us, but in practice, they can be a bit of a coin toss. Now a research team led by Chao Zhang of Peking University in Beijing, China has come up with a color-coded smart tag that uses nanotechnology to tell when the food or drugs in a package are in danger of spoiling.  Read More

Damaged or deformed ears could be rebuilt using the patient's own fat (Photo: Shutterstock...

Researchers at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital aim to grow a human ear via stem cells taken from a patient's fat tissue. Relatively little attention has been given to the reconstruction of damaged cartilage around the cranial area, however the new method is hoped to modernize this area of reconstructive surgery.  Read More

Instead of the usual carbon atoms, artificial graphene is made from crystals of traditiona...

Graphene is truly a 21st-century wonder material, finding use in everything from solar cells to batteries to tiny antennas. Now, however, a group of European research institutes have joined forces to create a graphene knock-off, that could prove to be even more versatile.  Read More

This schematic illustration of a graphene plasmonic nano-antenna shows how short wavelengt...

Smart dust. Utility fog. Programmable matter. Grey and blue goo. Cooperating swarms of micron-sized devices (motes) offer completely new solutions and capabilities that can hardly be imagined. However, cooperation requires communication, and conventional radio or optical networking simply isn't practical at this size. Now researchers at Georgia Tech have invented a plasmonic graphene nano-antenna that can be efficiently used at millimeter radio wavelengths, taking one more step toward smart dust.  Read More

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