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Nanowires

The filter being treated with silver and CNTs (B,C), and SEM images of the cotton, silver ...

Yi Cui, an Assistant Professor of Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University, has invented quite the water filter. It’s inexpensive, is very resistant to clogging, and uses much less electricity than systems that require the water to be pumped through them. It also kills bacteria, as opposed to just trapping them, which is all that many existing systems do.  Read More

Transmission electron microscope image of nano LEDs emitting light (all images courtesy ...

Chemists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have stumbled upon a way of producing light from nanowires. While they were refining a method for producing horizontally-grown wires across a substrate, Babak Nikoobakht and Andrew Herzing electrically charged an array of junctions between two materials and caused illumination to occur. The pair hope to further refine the technique so that these nano LEDs can be applied in the development of light sources and detectors useful in photonic devices or lab-on-a-chip platforms.  Read More

Harnessing sound energy from conversations could one day help recharge mobile phones ((Ima...

In the search for alternative energy sources there's one form of energy you don't hear much about, which is ironic because I'm referring to sound energy. Sound energy is the energy produced by sound vibrations as they travel through a specific medium. Speakers use electricity to generate sound waves and now scientists from Korea have used zinc oxide, the main ingredient of calamine lotion, to do the reverse – convert sound waves into electricity. They hope ultimately the technology could be used to convert ambient noise to power a mobile phone or generate energy for the national grid from rush hour traffic.  Read More

An artist's impression of an artificial hand covered with the e-skin

Using a process described as “a lint roller in reverse,” engineers from the University of California, Berkeley, have created a pressure-sensitive electronic artificial skin from semiconductor nanowires. This “e-skin,” as it’s called, could one day be used to allow robots to perform tasks that require both grip and a delicate touch, or to provide a sense of touch in patients’ prosthetic limbs.  Read More

Researchers have found that localized heating through a microscope tip can modify the prop...

Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology have documented a major breakthrough in the production of nanocircuitry on graphene, a material that many envision as the successor of silicon for our electronics needs. Using thermochemical nanolithography (TCNL), the team found that the electrical properties of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) can be easily tuned to reliably produce nanoscale circuits in a single, quick step.  Read More

SEM image of the silver nanowires in which the cotton is dipped during the process of cons...

As their name suggests, most existing water purifying filters clean the water by physically trapping or filtering out bacteria. Stanford researchers have now developed a new kind of water purifying filter that isn’t really a filter at all. Instead of trapping bacteria, the new filter actually lets them pass right through. But, by the time they emerge from the filter they have been killed by an electrical field running through it. Not only is the new filter more than 80,000 times faster than existing filters, it is also low-cost, has no moving parts and uses very little power, which should make it particularly attractive for use in the developing world where it is needed most.  Read More

Physicist Ivan Bozovic and colleagues have fabricated thin films patterned with large arra...

It has been a long-standing dream to fabricate superconducting nano-scale wires for faster, more powerful electronics. However, this has turned out to be very difficult if not impossible with conventional superconductors because the minimal size for the sample to be superconducting - known as the coherence length - is large. A group of scientists has now fabricated thin films patterned with large arrays of nanowires and loops that are superconducting when cooled below about 30 kelvin (-243 degrees Celsius). Even more interesting, they found they could change their resistance by applying a magnetic field.  Read More

Tiny copper wires can be built in bulk and then 'printed' on a surface to conduct current,...

The latest flat-panel TVs and computer screens produce images by an array of electronic pixels connected by a transparent conductive layer made from indium tin oxide (ITO). ITO is also used as a transparent electrode in thin-film solar cells. But ITO has drawbacks: it is brittle; its production process is inefficient; and it is expensive and becoming more so because of increasing demand. One potential alternative is to use tiny copper nanowires and researchers have now perfected a simple way to make these in quantity. The cheap conductors are small enough to be transparent, making them ideal for thin-film solar cells, flat-screen TVs and computers, and flexible displays.  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

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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