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Nanotubes

Researchers are using the highly-conductive properties of carbon-nanotubes in plastic manu...

Protecting aircraft from lightning strikes probably isn't the first use of nanotechnology that springs to mind, but that's exactly what Fraunhofer researchers hope to achieve by combining carbon nanotubes with carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs).  Read More

Postdoctoral associate Jae-Hee Han, left, graduate student Geraldine Paulus and associate ...

The size and efficiency of current photovoltaic (PV) cells means most people would probably have to cover large areas of their rooftops with such cells to even come close to meeting all their electricity needs. Using carbon nanotubes, MIT chemical engineers have now found a way to concentrate solar energy 100 times more than a regular PV cell. Such nanotubes could form antennas that capture and focus light energy, potentially allowing much smaller and more powerful solar arrays.  Read More

One of the sound-generating carbon nanotube sheets

Two years ago, Chinese scientists coated one side of a flag with a thin sheet of nanotubes, then played a song using the flapping sheet-coated flag as a speaker. It was a demonstration of flexible speaker technology, in which nanotubes can be made to generate sound waves via a thermoacoustic effect – every time an electrical pulse is sent through the microscopic layer of nanotubes, it causes the air around them to heat up, which in turn creates a sound wave. Now, an American scientist has taken that technology underwater, where he claims it could allow submariners to detect other submarines, and to remain hidden themselves.  Read More

Scanning electron microscopy image of nanocomposite film (Image: Rensselaer/Ravindra C.Pan...

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the bacteria responsible for antibiotic resistant infections, poses a serious problem in hospitals, where patients with open wounds, invasive devices and weakened immune systems are at greater risk of infection than the general public. In a move that could significantly reduce this risk, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a nanoscale coating for surgical equipment, hospital walls, and other surfaces which safely eradicates MRSA.  Read More

A chip is heated and cooled (left), made from silicon (right) supersaturated with copper, ...

You might think it was a simple law of physics that most solids melt as they get hotter, and harden as they get colder. A few materials, however, do just the opposite – they melt as they cool. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have recently discovered that by dissolving certain metals into silicon, they can add that silicon compound to the relatively short list of exotic substances that exhibit retrograde melting. Their accomplishment could ultimately result in less expensive solar cells and electronic devices.  Read More

Test facility for nanowicks (Image: Purdue University School of Mechanical Engineering)

An advanced cooling technology being developed for high-power electronics in military and automotive systems is capable of handling roughly 10 times the heat generated by conventional computer chips. The new type of cooling system can be used to prevent overheating of devices called insulated gate bipolar transistors, high-power switching transistors used in hybrid and electric vehicles. The chips are required to drive electric motors, switching large amounts of power from the battery pack to electrical coils needed to accelerate a vehicle from zero to 60 mph in 10 seconds or less.  Read More

MIT researchers have made an important step toward producing a lithium-ion battery that de...

Researchers at MIT have found that using specially treated thin layers of carbon nanotubes in batteries can boost the amount of power delivered per unit of weight by up to ten times. While the technology still needs improving, its full development and large-scale employment would certainly revolutionize the way we use any electronic devices, from an iPod to an electric car.  Read More

Carbon nanotubes could be used to create a  bionic sense of touch (Photo: Mstroeck)

The human body is an amazingly complex bit of kit. Replicating it with bionic technology presents challenges on many fronts, including the formidable task of mimicking our sense of touch. This goal could now be a little closer thanks to a breakthrough in carbon nanotube processing by scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Borrowing from conventional methods of making glass fiber, the researchers managed to cram 19,600 individual carbon nanotube-containing channels into fibers just four times thicker than a human hair, putting the artificial structure on a scale similar to the tiny neural bundles that make up our nerve pathways.  Read More

A team of scientists has shown that carbon nanotubes can be broken down by an enzyme found...

Nanotechnology is increasingly a part of our lives, and while it has enormous potential for the effective delivery of medication and fighting cancer, there are concerns about health effects such as toxicity and tissue damage. Now a team of scientists has shown that carbon nanotubes can be broken down by an enzyme found in white blood cells - contradicting the previous belief they are not broken down in the body or nature - and hope this new understanding may lead to a way to render carbon nanotubes harmless in medical applications.  Read More

RFID tags printed through a new roll-to-roll process could replace bar codes and make chec...

Newly developed radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology could usher in the era of checkout line-free shopping. The inexpensive, printable transmitter can be invisibly embedded in packaging offering the possibility of customers walking a cartload of groceries or other goods past a scanner that would read all the items at once, total them up and charge the customer’s account while adjusting the store’s inventory. More advanced versions could even collect all the information about the contents of a store in an instant, letting a retailer know where every package is at any time.  Read More

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