Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Nanotechnology

The thumb-sized Domino chip can perform 20 genetic tests from a drop of blood

A genetic testing mini-lab developed by researchers at the University of Alberta to set to begin commercial trials within a year. The Domino system provides a portable, cheap and powerful alternative to conventional laboratories that delivers a range of point-of-care diagnostic possibilities including tests for blood borne diseases such as malaria and those affecting farm animals.  Read More

A scanning electron micrograph of a cross-section of the MIT nanotextured glass (Photo: Hy...

Glass has a unique look - despite its clarity you can tell there is a material there by the way it reflects light, and that it isn't plastic or crystal. Glass, however, carries problems, like glare, fogging, and collects dirt. A group of MIT researchers has found a new way to create arrays of conical micron-scale surface nanotextures to produce glass that is self-cleaning, non-glare, and non-fogging. The researchers believe the nanotextured surface can be made at low enough cost to be applied to optical devices, the screens of smartphones and televisions, solar panels, car windshields and even windows in buildings.  Read More

The liquid solar cells comprising solar nanocrystal arounf four nanometers in size applied...

Scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have developed technology to cheaply produce stable liquid solar cells that can be painted or printed onto clear surfaces. The technology relies on solar nanocrystals that are around four nanometers in size - meaning you could fit more than 250 billion on the head of a pin. Their size allows them to be suspended in a liquid solution so they could be printed like a newspaper. The downside, commercialization of this technology is still years away.  Read More

Recent research in thermoelectric nanomaterials might lead to higher energy efficiency for...

Researchers at Purdue University in the U.S. have developed a new method of harvesting vast amounts of energy from waste heat. Using glass fibers dipped in a solution containing nanocrystals of lead telluride, the team led by Dr. Yue Wu is engineering a highly flexible thermoelectric system that generates electricity by gathering heat from water pipes and engine components.  Read More

Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles, seen within the MIT-designed film coating

Probably the simplest way to describe an artificial hip would be to say that it’s a ball attached to a stem. The stem is often fastened to the open end of the femur using a glass-like polymer known as bone cement, while the ball takes the place of the original hip bone’s ball joint, rotating within a corresponding implant in the socket of the pelvis. Although problems can occur at that ball-and-socket interface, they can also result when the bone cement cracks, causing the stem to detach from the femur. Scientists at MIT, however, have developed a new type of nanoscale film coating, designed to keep that from happening.  Read More

Artist's impression showing conductive supramolecular fibers trapped between two gold elec...

French researchers have produced highly conducive plastic fibers with a thickness of only a few nanometers that self-assemble when exposed to a flash of light. The tiny fibers (one nanometer equals one billionth of a meter) could become a cheaper and easier-to-handle alternative to carbon nanotubes and play a role in the development of electronic components on the nanoscale.  Read More

In addition to an MRI (pictured), gold nanoparticles allow a brain tumor to be imaged phot...

Scientists at Stanford University’s School of Medicine have created nanoparticles that are able to precisely highlight brain tumors. Because the nanoparticles can be imaged in three different ways, they can be used to delineate the boundaries of tumors before and during brain surgery to ease the complete removal of tumors. The scientists have already used the nanoparticles to remove brain tumors from mice with unprecedented accuracy and hope the technique could be used on humans in the future.  Read More

The nanobubbles are short-lived events that expand and burst, thus creating a small hole i...

U.S. researchers are developing a promising new approach to the targeting of individual cancer cells. The technique uses light-harvesting nanoparticles to convert laser energy into “plasmonic nanobubbles,” enabling drugs to be injected directly into the cancer cells through small holes created in the surface. Researchers claim that the delivery of chemotherapy drugs in this way is up to 30 times more effective on cancer cells than traditional drug treatments and requires less than one-tenth the clinical dose.  Read More

An uneven “bed of nails” surface helps prevent cancerous cells from gathering the nutrient...

It's a sad reality of our time that breast cancer affects more women around the world than any other form of cancer. Even more disturbing is the fact that up to ten years after surgery, the cancer returns in nearly 20 percent of those deemed to have had successful tumor-removal operations. Now, researchers at Brown University (BU) in Providence, Rhode Island, led by engineering professor Thomas Webster, have developed an implant which they believe can appreciably lower that relapse rate by simultaneously inhibiting cancer cell growth and attracting healthy breast cells.  Read More

Lithium atoms (red) deposited on graphene were shown to give the material piezoelectric qu...

Scientists have succeeded in endowing graphene with yet another useful property. Already, it is the thinnest, strongest and stiffest material ever measured, while also proving to be an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. These qualities have allowed it to find use in everything from transistors to supercapacitors to anti-corrosion coatings. Now, two materials engineers from Stanford University have used computer models to show how it could also be turned into a piezoelectric material – this means that it could generate electricity when mechanically stressed, or change shape when subjected to an electric current.  Read More

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