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Nanotubes

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

Striking tones can be generated by vertical arrays of nanotubes, called forests (Photo: UT...

It is known that intense sound can be produced by electrically-powered nanotubes stretched into sheets, but researchers from University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) have furthered this principle by arranging sheets of carbon nanotubes into "forests" which produce high-quality sound when struck with lasers. This is an exciting advancement in the field of acoustics since it is thought these forests could be used to form invisible wireless speakers that could be embedded into walls, windows, computer screens, cars - the list is endless.  Read More

A diamond-based nanowire device (Illustrated by Jay Penni)

Current computers operate using binary coding; thousands to trillions of small electrical circuits representing a binary digit (bit) of information that represent a "1" when the circuit is switched on and a "0" when switched off by means of an electronic switch. The future of computing is to move this to a quantum scale, where the weird properties of subatomic particles can be used to create much faster computers. A new device developed by Harvard scientists which uses nanostructured diamond wire to provide a bright, stable source of single photons at room temperature represents a breakthrough in making this quantum technology a reality.  Read More

The key ingredient in the process is carbon nanotubes — submicroscopic hollow tubes made...

MIT scientists have discovered that a moving pulse of heat traveling along the miniscule wires known as carbon nanotubes can cause powerful waves of energy. These "thermopower waves" can drive electrons along like a collection of flotsam propelled along the surface of ocean waves, creating an electrical current. The previously unknown phenomenon opens up a new area of energy research and could lead to a new way of producing electricity.  Read More

A piece of the boron-nitride nanotube yarn

Not satisfied with your Kevlar body armor? Well, you may be in luck. American researchers have used lasers to create the world’s first practical macroscopic yarns from boron nitride fibers. The development could unlock the potential of the material for a wide variety of applications, including radiation-shielding for spacecraft, solar energy collection, and stronger body armor. If the supplied photo is anything to go by, it also does a great job at holding up a quarter.  Read More

Paper strips used in toxin detection with progressively increasing number of coatings with...

Engineers at the University of Michigan have developed a strip of paper infused with carbon nanotubes that can quickly and inexpensively detect a toxin produced by algae in drinking water. The paper strips perform 28 times faster than the complicated method most commonly used today to detect microcystin-LR, a chemical compound produced by the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) commonly found on nutrient-rich waters. Microcystin-LR is among the leading causes of biological water pollution and is believed to be the culprit of many mass poisonings going back to early human history.  Read More

Researcher Bing Hu paints a small square of ordinary paper with an ink that will deposit n...

By dipping an ordinary piece of paper into ink infused with carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires, scientists have been able to create a low-cost battery or supercapacitor that is ultra-lightweight, bendable and very durable. The paper can be crumpled, folded or even soaked in acidic or basic solutions and still will work.  Read More

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